Brussels, 1st July 2021,

Along 75 other organisations from the music sector, IMPALA co-signed the following open letter “Claiming a front row seat for music” which was sent to the European Commission, European Parliament and national governments. 

Read the letter here and below:

Claiming a front row seat for Music

“Music is at the centre of the well-being of our spirit, of our body and mind. It’s not only entertainment, it’s more than that!”
Angélique Kidjo in her keynote at the 2021 European Forum on Music

After more than 15 months of lockdowns, and hardly any concerts, festivals, collective singing, band or orchestra practice, clubbing and music education in or out of schools, the music sector in Europe and the world is at risk of turning into a stigmatised sector where only very few forms will survive.

“In addition to the current health and economic crises, humanity faces nothing less than a potential global “cultural catastrophe”, with severe, long-lasting consequences for cultural rights – and other human rights – if necessary action is not taken immediately by all relevant actors. Karima Benoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

We enjoy the recent re-opening of many parts of the music life and we hope that societies can start to recover from this unexpected pandemic. We welcome the “EU’s guidelines for the safe resumption of activities in the cultural and creative sector” (1) and we can confirm that the music sector has always put health and safety first and will continue to do so. Nevertheless, infection rates may go up again, and therefore, we turn to you today with the request to take into account the societal relevance of the music sector in your political actions. We are grateful for the diverse and rapid support that the EU and national governments have provided as a reaction to the crisis. (2) Now comes the time to think long-term and to fully acknowledge the artistic, social and economic value of the music sector.

According to the Study “Rebuilding Europe” (3) the music sector faced a loss of 76% in turnover in 2020 as a consequence of Covid-19; the loss in music practices with a cultural and social value will be equally high.

Despite all the restrictions, the music sector demonstrated that it is flexible and able to adapt quickly to change. In the past years, more and more small, organic, non-hierarchical initiatives have seen the light of day. Additionally, venues, centres, festivals across the globe are changing their models and opening their doors in previously unknown ways, embracing concepts of digitisation, co-creation, co-direction, inclusion and shared leadership. Likewise, music education and community music practices have embraced digital learning tools for keeping up with active music making.

We therefore ask you to:

  • Ensure equal treatment with regards to opening strategies. Over the past 15 months the music sector has developed excellent hygiene concepts, however, often without the result of an opening. All kinds of music activities must be treated on an equal footing with other areas of the society.
  • Acknowledge the role of music for personal and social development, particularly in music education settings and youth music work – areas that are needed for the recovery post Covid when thinking of the young who especially suffered during this crisis.
  • Fully embrace the role of music for health and well-being, which will contribute to physical and mental recovery.
  • Recognise the specific working environment of the music sector with self-employment, short- term contracts, multiple jobs. The Covid crisis has entailed a brain-drain and some parts of the music sector are now facing a lack of personnel.
  • Promote fair monetisation of digital content for musical artists (4) and the whole music value chain. There are great digital solutions to provide musical offers, however fair remuneration of these works based on strong intellectual property rights is needed and should be distributed in a transparent and equal way.
  • Recognise the unique role played by micro, small and medium structures in the music sector who take risks and provide stability. The strength of Europe’s diverse music sector lies in the multitude of its stakeholders of which over 90% are small and medium sized enterprises (5).
  • Facilitate the return to sustainable international and European mobility and exchange, as cross- border music touring and cultural exchanges are vital for a full recovery of the music ecosystem and the societies in Europe.
  • Guarantee continuous long-term support for the music sector. The deep ruptures that the Covid crisis has brought upon the music sector require continuous funding and backing.
  • Live the rhetoric! We appreciate that you share the value that culture is at the heart of Europe, that the diversity of culture is what is part of Europe’s identity. Today, we ask you to live up to these words and to ensure that music and culture are taken seriously when political decisions in all areas are taken.

We are convinced that the music sector has the capacity to help overcome the Covid-19 crisis. The music sector will contribute to the digital, green and inclusive recovery of Europe. We will use all our potential to come out of the crisis stronger and we ask you to support us in doing so.

1 July 2021


European and International Music Organisations

AEC – Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen CIA – Confédération Internationale des Accordeonistes

EAS – European Association for Music in Schools

ECMTA – European Chamber Music Teachers Association

ECSA – European Composer and Songwriter Alliance

EFA – European Festival Association

EFNYO – European Federation of National Youth Orchestras

EJN – Europe Jazz Network

EMC – European Music Council

EMCY – European Union of Music Competitions for Youth

EMEE – European Music Exporters Exchange

EMMA – European Music Managers Alliance

EMU – European Music School Union

EOFed – European Orchestra Federation

FIM – International Federation of Musicians

GESAC – European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers

Green Music Initiative

IAMIC – International Association of Music Information Centres

IAML – International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres IAO – International Artist Organisation

IMC – International Music Council

IMMF – International Music Managers Forum

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

IMPF – Independent Music Publishers International Forum

IMZ – International Music + Media Centre

ISCM – International Society for Contemporary Music

JMI – Jeunesses Musicales International

Julie’s Bicycle

Live DMA – European network for live music venues, clubs and festivals

Liveurope – the live music platform for new European talent NAMM – National Association of Music Merchants

Opera Europa

Pearle* – Live Performance Europe

REMA – Early Music in Europe

WFIMC – World Federation of International Music Competitions YOUROPE – The European Festival Association

National Music Organisations

A.R.T.E.- Asociación de Representantes Técnicos del Espectáculo, Spain ACCESS, Spain

Aktionsnetzwerk Nachhaltigkeit, Germany

AMEC Metropolitana, Portugal

Asociación Cultural Reyes Bartlet, Spain Associazione Emiliano Romagnola Cori, Italy Austrian Music Council, Austria

Circuito, Portugal

Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation, Cyprus Dansk Live, Denmark

Estonian Music Council, Estonia

Federació Catalana de Societats Musicals, Spain Federació Catalana d’Entitats Corals, Spain Festival Folofest, Portugal

Festival Internacional de Música da Primavera de Viseu, Portugal GMCL – Grupo de Música Contemporânea de Lisboa, Portugal Hungarian Music Council, Hungary

Incorporated Society of Musicians, United Kingdom

István Vántus Society, Hungary

Latvian National Music Council, Latvia Live Music Now Scotland, United Kingdom LiveFIN, Finland

Making Music, United Kingdom

Miso Music Portugal, Portugal

MMF NL, The Netherlands

Moviment Coral Català, Spain

Music Innovation Hub, Italy

Music Venue Trust, United Kingdom


Night Economy Association of Lithuania, Lithuania

Orquestra de Câmara Portuguesa – Associação Musical, Portugal Polish Music Council, Poland

Portuguese Music Research & Information Centre, Portugal

riZoma – Portuguese Platform for Intervention and Research in New Music, Portugal Scottish Music Centre, United Kingdom

Sond’Ar-te Electric Ensemble, Portugal

Swiss Music Council, Switzerland

Trib’Art Association, Romania

Unison – Croatia Music Alliance, Croatia

VNPF – Dutch association music venues and festivals, The Netherlands


Simone Dudt, Secretary General European Music Council, 

Ruth Jakobi, Secretary General European Music Council,


(2) We appreciate that the impact of the CCS for the economic and societal recovery was highlighted in the Council conclusions on the recovery, resilience and sustainability of the cultural and creative sectors from 18 May
We would like to point to the joint open letter signed by more than 110 cultural organisations on the inclusion of culture in the RRF plans


(4) a musical artist is a performer, author, director, composer, creator of music 


IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38