Ljubljana, 5th February 2018

With a fast growing membership from the Balkans, IMPALA was at the MENT music festival and international conference this weekend for the first IMPALA board meeting in the region and a series of keynotes and panel discussions. Helen Smith (IMPALA’s Executive Chair) also gave an interview to the prominent Slovenian outlet Dnevnik, which was published on the 5th of February.

The keynote was with IMPALA’s Executive Chair, Helen Smith and Tony Duckworth ([PIAS] Poland and Eastern Europe). It took place alongside a series of panels, such as Record labels in the Balkans, the European programme Music Moves Europe initiative, and how to conquer foreign music markets (full programme of the event here).

Helen Smith also gave an interview, published on the 5th of February to the prominent Slovenian outlet Dnevnik, to talk about IMPALA’s current priorities such as the value gap, with a special focus on the music landscape in the Balkans. You can read the full interview here (in Slovenian) and some quotes in English below.

On the current situation in the Balkans:

Music activity is thriving. New projects are born on a daily basis. The ex-Yugoslavia independent labels are a tribute to this: fast-developing, adapting to tough market decisions, ensuring diversity on a daily basis and yet being strong enough for the majors to rely on them to enter these territories. IMPALA takes a keen interest in the situation in the Balkans and in ex-Yugoslavia. The implantation of the digital market is far from complete in most territories. This favours piracy and plays against both labels and artists. Collecting societies are, overall, not working yet according to the standards expected by artists and labels. Improvements are needed to transparency and distribution policies to boost developing actors in the market. (Helen Smith, IMPALA Executive Chair for Slovenian outlet Dnevnik)

On the value gap:

Underlicensed platforms earn billions in adverting and share too little with creators. We need copyright to rules to be clarified so that platforms who distribute music need a licence. You also need to use effective technology to ensure these agreements are respected. With this, fair rates can be negotiated for music companies and their artists. That’s the theory. In principle it is more complicated. Huge tech interests spend millions every year in lobbying to preserve the status quo. (Helen Smith, IMPALA Executive Chair, for Slovenian newspaper Dnevnik).

On a new EU strategy for culture:

Culture is a unique resource to each country and region. This is what makes Europe’s identity. Music and other cultural sectors are where Europe excel and which are here to stay. Culture cannot relocate elsewhere: these jobs are going nowhere else! Today culture represents 0.15% of the European Union budget but it is becoming a strategic priority within EU funding schemes and programmes. This is an opportunity – at national level and for Europe. The trick is to make this investment accessible at grass roots level. Reinforcing local actors and making them sustainable is what matters, so that they can continue to work with local artist and local music in the long run. That’s where the focus needs to be. (Helen Smith, IMPALA Executive Chair for Slovenian outlet Dnevnik)

You can also find here a report from the Slovenian public TV with a short intervention from Helen Smith and a glimpse of IMPALA’s panels.

IMPALA at MENT Ljubljana 2018 – highlights

Keynote interview: Helen Smith (IMPALA, BE) and Tony Duckworth ([PIAS] Poland and Eastern Europe, PL) Photo: Maša Gojić

Panel: Conquering the Foreign Music Market

Host: Magdalena Jensen (Chimes Agency, PL) (Host); Speakers: Sarah Besnard (ATC Live, DE), Jörg Heidemann (VUT, DE ; IMPALA, BE), Nikki McNeill (Global Publicity, UK) Photo: Kaja Brezočnik

Panel : Music Moves Europe: New Perspectives

Host: Fabien Miclet (Independent European Affairs Consultant, FR); Speakers: Matthieu Philibert (IMPALA, BE), Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week, Musiccase, EE), Elise Phamgia (Liveurope, FR), Mateja Demšič (City of Ljubljana, SI) Photo: Maša Gojić

Record labels in the Balkans – A State of Play

Host: Didier Gosset (IMPALA, BE); Speakers: Darjo Rot (Nika, SI), Nikola Jovanović (Kontra, RS), Danijel Sikora (PDV/Pozitivan Ritam, Geenger Records, HR) Photo: Maša Gojić

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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