Brussels, 15th February 2018

Yesterday, the music sector was gathered at the invitation of the European Commission to mark the official launch of the Preparatory Action “Music Moves Europe”, a pilot project that could be the first step toward a fully-fledged music programme to start in 2021 as part of the next generation of EU programmes. You can see below some highlights of the event.

Seizing the momentum, IMPALA and a broad range of organisations wrote a letter (download here) to all institutions urging the EU to support a dedicated European Music Programme (read IMPALA’s statement).

Commissioner for Culture Tibor Navracsics opened the #MusicMovesEurope launch event (you can read his full speech here) followed by various stakeholders intervention, including a presentation by IMPALA’s public affairs manager Matthieu Philibert, which you can read below in full.

Speech delivered by IMPALA at the launch of the ‘Music Moves Europe’ Preparatory Action in Brussels on 14 February 2018

Hello, I’m Matthieu Philibert, with IMPALA – The European Association of Independent Music Companies.

I’m honoured to be here for the launch of the ‘Music Moves Europe’ Preparatory Action, which is a huge step forward for European music.


I was asked to say a few words about IMPALA, what we do, and our involvement in and views on the Music Moves Europe process.

IMPALA is a European association set up in 2000, representing around 4,000 independent music companies – including top European independent labels and national trade associations (see slide for logos). The recorded music sector is made up of 99% of music SMEs – the independents account for 80% of all new music releases, they are the ones investing the most in new music and artists.

IMPALA’s mission is to:

Grow the independent music sector

  • Return more value to artists
  • Promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship
  • Improve political access
  • Modernise perceptions of the music sector

The European music sector

Today the music sector in Europe is very dynamic and a big contributor to jobs and growth: 1m jobs, over €25bn in turnover.

As all of you in this room already know, Europe is home to some of the best composers, artists, producers, engineers, music schools, clubs, venues, festivals, labels, publishers, radio stations, streaming services, and the list goes on.

Our sector is vibrant and eager to grow but there are some serious challenges holding up its development: among other things (and I’m sure others in this room will identify additional challenges) it’s under financed, there is a lack of diversity of music played on radio & tv, there are very few mid-sized players, and of course there is the need to adapt to a constantly and fast changing environment.

Music Moves Europe

The EU has taken note, and started discussions with the sector in 2015, which in turn gave birth to the ‘Music Moves Europe’ process, which we are here to talk about today. Music Moves Europe is the framework for the European Commission’s initiatives and actions in support of the European music sector.

Under this title, ‘Music Moves Europe’, we are in fact talking about two different, yet very much connected projects: a Preparatory Action, which we are launching today; and a fully-fledged EU music programme (or sub-programme, or strand, however you want to call it) to start in 2021 as part of the next generation of EU programmes.

The Preparatory Action is a type of pilot project with an envelope of €1.5m which is meant to test ideas that could be replicated at a larger scale with a fully-fledged EU music programme. It’s a relatively small sum of money, but still an important step towards dedicated support for European music.

I was asked to give you an overview of the milestones that led to the adoption of the Preparatory action (see slide for milestones). The idea for this preparatory action started with the European Commission shortly after the stakeholder dialogues of 2015. Then, a little over a year ago with Fabien Miclet (then the coordinator for Liveurope, now an independent consultant), we decided to test the interest of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for this project. The support was overwhelming, with lots of MEPs surprised to hear that there wasn’t already a dedicated EU music programme. A few weeks later, with the help of some MEPs and their assistants (Among them MEPs Wenta, Lopez, Ehler, Verheyen, Joulaud, Costa, Morgano, Blanco, Zdrojewski, Gardiazabal, Guillaume and several others), and the involvement of the Commission team in charge of Music Moves Europe, the proposal was tabled. And a few months further down the line, after lots of further meetings and letters, the Preparatory Action became a reality.

This is where we stand now.

The Preparatory Action mentions 4 fields of action to be implemented by means of call for proposal and a platform dialogue:

  • Offline and online distribution
  • Artist and repertoire development
  • Professionalisation and education
  • Export of European music outside Europe

Why do we need a EU music programme?

To address some of the challenges mentioned earlier: to trigger more investment, help more music reach a wider audience, but also help the sector to adapt to the quick changes it is facing (the way we listen to music, the way we record music, the way we distribute it and play it live are constantly evolving).

There is already some support for music projects in the current Creative Europe programme but it’s very limited and fragmented. Over the past 5 years, €45m have gone to music-related projects, which represents only 3% of the overall Creative Europe budget (to be compared to the €800m allocated to the MEDIA programme dedicated to the audio-visual sector), which itself represents only 0,15% of the overall EU budget. Some of this money is going to some great projects, such as Liveurope, INES, We are Europe, etc. We need more of these.

IMPALA and its members are long time supporters of a music programme. We believe that now is the right time for Europe to allocate some of its resources for targeted support to its music sector.

This will be a smart use of EU money: music, and creativity in general, is where Europe excels – and we need to build on our strengths. This is not about holding up a weak ecosystem, on the contrary it’s about boosting and unlocking the potential of a vibrant music ecosystem, from music schools all the way to music entrepreneurs.


To conclude, I would like to thank the Commission, and especially DG EAC (Michel, Susanne, Barbara, Corinne, Karel, and all others involved) for their commitment, and all the MEPs who have signed the Preparatory Action or supported the process in any another way. And of course all the organisations from the sector who took an active part.

But this is only the start, not the end, of the process.

Now is the time for the sector and all EU institutions to back this effort. We need all the support we can get, so we urge everyone to spread the word. 

The message is simple and clear: We need a tailor-made Music programme with a decent-sized budget.

The successor of creative Europe, with a music strand, should be the key to unlock the huge potential of its creative sector. And the added value is not just economic, it’s also a vehicle for EU values and what we stand for: a diverse, yet united group of countries bound by culture.

We also believe that this process should be part of a broader framework; that of a European industrial policy for culture. This was the subject of a report by MEPs Ehler and Morgano, which was adopted a little over a year ago by the European Parliament. This means taking a big picture view of our cultural and sectors and seeing how we can help them thrive.

A great way to start would be to double the budget of the successor of Creative Europe, as many in the European Parliament and the larger creative sectors are calling for, and to ensure that cultural and creative sectors also have access to other funding programmes.

Let’s give ourselves the means to make European culture shine even brighter.


Question from the European Commission:

From IMPALA’s perspective, who should be the main targets of the Preparatory Action and a EU music programme?


We believe it is key to focus on the smaller actors, from the self-released artist to the small concert venue, festival, radio or record label. They are the backbone of the sector, the real innovators and risk takers. They are the ones investing their time, energy and money in making music, in finding artists and helping them grow, and in getting people to discover new music.


IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent 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 first 15 years in milestones.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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