ECSA Position paper on the future of the Creative Europe Programme


17th October 2018

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) represents over 50,000 professional composers and songwriters in 26 European countries. With 57-member organisations across Europe, the Alliance speaks for the interests of music creators of art and classical music (contemporary), film and audiovisual music, as well as popular music. The main objective of the Alliance is to defend and promote the rights of authors of music at the national, European and international levels by any legal means. It advocates for equitable commercial conditions for composers and songwriters and strives to improve social and economic development of music creation in Europe.

In May 2017, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027 (“the Proposal”).
ECSA welcomes the Proposal and its budget of €1.85bn as a positive first step in the right direction. However, we regret that its budget is still limited to 0,16% of the overall EU budget, out of which only one third (31%) is allocated to the culture strand. This not only doesn’t reflect the European cultural and creative sector’s contribution to the economy (4,4% of EU GDP and 12 million jobs) but also doesn’t take into consideration the positive impact of culture on education, promotion of democratic principles and external relations that help increase social cohesion, equality and artistic freedom. The culture sector has increasingly proven itself to be a source of job creation, contributing to growth in Europe. It is also an excellent conduit for promoting social inclusion, supporting cultural diversity.

We therefore call on the European Parliament and all Member States to:

1. Show the European Union’s commitment to culture by doubling the budget of the Creative Europe Programme.

2. Increase the budget dedicated specifically to the Culture Strand so that the Creative Europe Programme will be able to foster the development of a level playing field and really serve all creative sectors and creators across the EU.

3. Dedicate a stronger budget to the European music sector as one of the priorities of the Creative Europe Programme. Today, less than 4% of the Creative Europe budget goes to music related projects. This clearly does not reflect the importance and the challenges of the sector. The music sector has embraced the digital revolution and new consumption patterns. The digital revolution has brought tremendous opportunities but also significant risks for recording artists, composers and creatives. Many amongst them, have seen their work devalued: while use of their work has increased exponentially, incomes have not. Moreover, there is still limited transparency on how their work is actually being used online. Another threat to the European music sector comes from the domination of the Anglo-American repertoire especially after Sony’s announced plans to take complete control of EMI Music Publishing. If approved, such a deal could only further threaten competition in the licensing market, endanger music authors’ revenues across the EU and ultimately jeopardize cultural diversity in the European music landscape. The Proposal should promote and support diversity of repertoire and build bridges across European diverse musical cultures.

4. Strengthen the protection of authors rights, artistic freedom and the promotion of moral rights, which shall be included in the Creative Europe programme:
Composers and songwriters stand at the beginning of the musical value chain and are at the heart of artistic freedom. Their livelihood depends on the creation of musical works and on their bargaining power to leverage fair deals when selling their creation. The music sector is becoming more and more digital but music authors are not getting a fair share of digital exploitation. We suggest that the Creative Europe Programme should address this unfair situation and strengthen the support to networks of creators, which would facilitate exchanges of knowledge, good practices and skills across the EU. A stronger focus on music, building on the Music Moves Europe Preparatory Action, could contribute to put music authors, who are at the source of creativity and artistic freedom, at the centre of their creative successes.

Moral rights and the visibility of authorship are essential, in particular in the digital era. Musical works start with the creative work of composers and songwriters, whose contributions is essential to the building of national, regional and local cultures and the development of the cultural and creative industries. The disregard of moral rights – such as the right to integrity, right to attribution, fair credits – has a detrimental effect on culture and cultural heritage as the consumers and the wider public are deprived of access to the truly original work of the creator. Credits need to be visible for composers and songwriters to get recognised and generate further working opportunities. We therefore encourage the European Parliament and Member States to include measures aiming at the visibility and recognition of authors in the music section of the Culture Strand.

5. Facilitate the mobility of authors and diverse repertoires, which is essential for the promotion of an intercultural dialogue, and cross-disciplinary and transnational collaborations across Europe. European music authors depend on the promotion and distribution of their works as well as peer-to-peer exchange about relevant digital and/or geographical developments. The EU has yet to strengthen mobility in order to create an open cultural space that benefits professionals, artists and the European economy and society. There are numerous mobility schemes and programs at national and regional levels across Europe, however, they are too fragmented and limited in scope and do not underpin a clear strategy under a common EU mobility framework. Such a framework would aim to promote cultural diversity, stimulate artistic creation, foster career internationalisation of cultural workers, pan-European networking, cross- disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship and would enhance Europe’s external cultural relations.

We therefore support the focus on “mobility of artists and cultural and creative operators” in the Culture Strand (Annex of the Draft Regulation) and a dedicated EU mobility scheme for creative professionals, as supported by a recent study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Culture and Education committee. A specific reference to mobility, networking activities and the diversity of repertoire should be added in the music sector section of the Culture Strand with a specific view to promote diversity in a European music landscape increasingly dominated by the Anglo-American repertoire.

We would also encourage the EU co-legislators to make sure that the Creative Europe Programme supports the implementation of the European Commission’s New European Agenda for Culture and the recommendations of the EP report (Mr. Grammatikakis’ report on a New European Agenda for Culture – soon to be adopted) and promotes mobility of authors and repertoires in both initiatives. In that context, we welcome the specific reference to the New European Agenda for Culture provided in recital 4 of the Proposal establishing the Creative Europe Programme, as well as the reference to the 2005 UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

6. Enhance the professionalisation of authors and contribute to a more balanced gender participation in the music sector. Being mostly self-employed and freelancers, composers and songwriters need to be supported in a way that enables them to have better control over their career, to have more independent artistic freedom and possibilities to take advantage of the success they are achieving. Across Europe, there have been already some notable experiences supported by the Creative Europe programme, like “Keychange” a pioneering international initiative which empowers women to transform the future of music and encourages festivals to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022.

We support specific measures to contribute to raising awareness of the gender gap amongst songwriters and composers to achieve a more balanced gender participation in the music sector. We believe that there is no justification for supporting a more balanced gender participation in the Media Strand but not in the other strands, notably the Culture strand. We encourage the creation of a range of activities that could help female creative professionals to develop their careers including tours, recordings, commissions and promotion and marketing.
Last but not least, we welcome the reference to “training actions and audience development for European repertoire” for the music sector but we consider that the promotion of skills should be better reflected, with specific references to initiatives from and for authors – such as exchanges for sector professionals, networking and peer-to-peer learning activities – in the Culture Strand.

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