Strasbourg, 4th July 2018

Open letter to Members of the European Parliament

Europe’s chance to write the music for a generation

How copyright reform would make the internet fair and sustainable for all

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

People have never enjoyed as much music as we do today. All music from all time is available at our fingertips. Young artists are exploring the frontiers of pop, rap, R&B, grime, jazz, electronica, rock, classical, punk and soul, while fans share the experience online, at gigs and festivals.

Music is precious. It is the playlist to our loves and losses, our protests and parties. In 2018, the European Union has the chance to recognise this creativity and help it flourish.

Tomorrow you have a key vote on copyright. This morning, the number of organisations from the cultural and creative sector calling on you to support the JURI Report has risen to 146.

The stakes are high and there is a massive disinformation campaign. We have also seen attempts to manipulate the press, as well as influence academics.

Freedom and fairness should be the guiding principles. Artists need to be free to create, and free to publish their work as they see fit; and they deserve a fair share of revenue. Fans want to be free to explore new music, and free to choose how they access and pay for it. This has all the makings of a perfect couple, but not everyone in the digital world plays by the rules.

If lawmakers want Europe’s music scene to stay as exciting and diverse as it is today, they should enshrine one principle that everyone can respect: if you’re in the business of providing access to music, you need a licence from the people who created it, and you need to share revenue properly. What could be fairer than that? It’s good business too: fans get to discover and enjoy more music; online services get a clear set of rules; music companies, who today are solicited more than ever by artists looking for innovative professional partners, can invest more in talent; and artists get more revenue and more choice. 

There are a lot of false claims that the new copyright rules would create a “censorship machine” and that it would be the end of the internet. Let’s remember why big tech and online platforms might be keen to hold on to the old world. After all, they are doing very nicely making money, controlling data, manipulating public opinion and not paying taxes. They like the digital world the way it is.

Europe’s independent music sector is a constellation of micro-companies and small businesses who deliver more than 80% of new releases, jobs and investment. Remember that when you read that the value gap is a fight between big tech and big music.

We want to make licensing as easy as possible so that fans access more music on more services. Copyright and innovation are two sides of the same coin. Don’t let the so-called digital activists tell you otherwise.

All eyes are now on the EU as it rewrites the rules of the game. It is well qualified for the job; at its heart, Europe always has been a cultural project, an audacious democratic experiment to negotiate our differences, a home for all voices, big and small.

Let’s make Europe the best home for culture. Let’s modernise copyright in Europe to bring digital services up to date and make the internet fair and sustainable for all.

Let’s #vote4jurireport

Kind regards,

Helen Smith


On behalf of thousands of independent music companies across Europe


IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists – they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector’s jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA’s mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector. See the organisation’s key achievements in IMPALA’s milestones.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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

+32 2 503 31 38