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English Claiming a front row seat for Music

Claiming a front row seat for Music

76 International, European & national music organisation are “Claiming a front row seat for music” calling for policy makers to fully acknowledge the artistic, social and economic value of the music sector and to live up to these words in political decision making.

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“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

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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” 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. 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” 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 (a musical artist is a performer, author, director, composer, creator of music) 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.
  • 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.


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


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