Music: essential to Europe’s cultural diversity
Music constitutes an important pillar of European culture and is probably the cultural and creative sector with the largest audience reach. It is an essential component of Europe’s cultural diversity. It has the power to bring positive changes in society and is vital for people’s well-being.
Music has also an important economic weight: recent studies suggest that the sector, based on small and medium businesses, employs more people than the film industry. It generated around €31 billion of revenue in 2019 and was then most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published by Ernst&Young in 2021.
Especially due to the digital shift, the music sector has been in constant adaptation: new business models and new ways of interacting with the audience emerge. This evolution paves the way for other content industries as well. However, important challenges remain, for instance, the redistribution of revenue and the fair remuneration of artists in this new digital environment, or the promotion of diversity with artificial intelligence and algorithms’ curated playlists. In addition, the music sector is adapting to other global challenges, such as the climate crisis and the need for sustainability.
The COVID-19 crisis amplified all these challenges. The heavy impact of the pandemic on Europe’s music sector, along its whole value chain, and the sector’s recovery and resilience require a renewed thinking and also a shift in approaches and support measures.
Towards an integrated EU approach on music
With Music Moves Europe, the European Commission wants to build on and strengthen the sector's strong assets: creativity, diversity and competitiveness. The ultimate goal is to develop an integrated EU policy approach on music.
Music Moves Europe’s specific objectives are:
- promote creativity and innovation
- safeguard and expand the diversity of European music
- help the sector adapt to and benefit from digitisation
- support the sector’s sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and its resilience
More than 130 music projects (cooperation projects, platforms, networks) have received funding under the culture strand of the previous Creative Europe programme (2014-2020), with an approximate total budget of €98 million.
Another €7 million were dedicated to a so-called Preparatory action 2018-2020, entitled “Music Moves Europe: Boosting European music diversity and talent”. This initiative supported more than 60 small-scale music projects (see below for more information) and 5 independent EU studies.
On the proposal from the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU introduced a sector-specific approach on music in the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027. The aim of this is to promote diversity, creativity and innovation in the field of music, in particular the distribution of musical repertoire in Europe and beyond. This support will also cover training actions, audience development for European repertoire, as well as data gathering and analysis of the sector.
Under the first Annual Work Programme 2021, a €500,000 call was launched to strengthen the Music Moves Europe dialogue. A specific €4.5m multi-annual call for music is planned under the 2022 Annual Work Programme.
Music Moves Europe also receives financial support under other EU programmes, such as the Horizon Europe Framework Programme or Erasmus+.
Under ‘Culture, creativity and inclusive society activities’, (see the Work Programme 2021-2022), Horizon includes a call on Research and innovation on cultural heritage and cultural and creative industries on 10 research topics, including music.
The January 2022 research and innovation action “Towards a competitive, fair and sustainable European music ecosystem” will tentatively fund 3 projects up to a total of €9 million.
Other funding opportunities
Discover other funding opportunities for the cultural and creative sectors, including music in the CulturEU Funding Guide.
EU actions supporting Europe's cultural and creative sectors and industries (CCSI) are cross-sectoral, and include the music sector. While this approach was underlined in the 2018 New European Agenda for Culture, the European Commission also acknowledged the impossibility of having a one-size-fits-all approach for all CCSI and announced sector-specific initiatives in the most mature cultural sectors, especially music.
Member States in the Council of the European Union decided that Music Moves Europe should become part of their policy cooperation on culture at EU level. A specific action on music has been included in the Council Work Plan for Culture 2019-22.
This work started with a Music Moves Europe Presidency conference under the Romanian Presidency of the Council in June 2019. The European Commission organised a major event on the Diversity and Competitiveness of Europe’s music sector in March 2021 with the support of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council. Music was also a priority in the Creative Europe launch conference that the Portuguese Presidency organised in June 2021.
While the EU has no direct legislative competence in the field of culture, EU legislation directly affects the music sector in several other policy fields, e.g. related to employment, competition or the digital single market.
With Music Moves Europe, the European Commission aims at ensuring that the interests of the sector are reflected in other policy fields where the EU has legislative powers.
One example is the 2019 Copyright Directive. This addresses a key concern for the music sector by making the marketplace for copyright fairer and more transparent. In this context, the Commission has published its guidance on Article 17 of the Copyright Directive, which provides for new rules on content-sharing platforms.
The dialogue between the European Commission and representatives of the music ecosystem to identify the main challenges facing the sector started in late 2015. The AB Music Working Group report summarised the outcomes, which ultimately led to the establishment of Music Moves Europe.
Since then, further exchanges with the sector have been organised, mainly on the Preparatory Action on music (February 2018), on music diversity in Europe and the competitiveness of the industry (First Structured Dialogue - May 2019) and on the results of the Music Moves Europe call on offline-online distribution (Second Structured Dialogue - December 2019).
The European Commission aims to strengthen further the structured dialogue with the sector from 2022 onwards. A dedicated multi-annual call was published in April 2022.
Music Moves Europe Awards
Boosting European music diversity and talent
The 2018-2020 Preparatory action “Music Moves Europe: Boosting European music diversity and talent” aimed at preparing the specific support for music under the Creative Europe Programme (2021-2027). The results of the Preparatory action have helped the Commission designing the “sectoral support for music” which features as a new element under the programme.
To implement the Preparatory action the Commission launched 7 calls for proposals and 5 calls for tenders between 2018 and 2021. Overall, these aimed to promote European diversity and talent, sectoral competitiveness, and better access to music in all its diversity.
The more than 60 small-scale music projects supported under different calls covered topical themes, namely training and professionalisation, music distribution, music education, small venues, co-creation and sustainable recovery. The studies funded covered the topics of music export, market gaps, music data and musicians’ health challenges. Three studies are published (export strategy, market gaps, European music observatory), two are ongoing (export pilot, health challenges).
The recommendations of these studies form the basis for future discussion at the policy level and the dialogue with the sector. On the Commission side, specific work related to music economic data and awareness raising activities is currently being carried out by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.
Innovative support scheme for a sustainable music ecosystem
The €2.5 million call “Innovative support scheme for a sustainable music ecosystem” was launched in 2021 to implement the Music Moves Europe Preparatory action 2020. It aims to support the music ecosystem to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis in a green, digital, just and resilient way.
The beneficiary of this call is the MusicAIRE project, implemented by a consortium that develops and manages grants to third parties.