IMPALA Press release - IMPALA meets EC Commissioner Figel' in Cannes - Discrimination of independents to be examined in EC's Cultural Industries Green Paper, Midem, Cannes, Monday 19th January 2009

From left to right: Patrick Zelnik, Martin Mills; Ján Figel', Horst Weldenmueller and Michel Lambot

IMPALA got off to a great start at Midem with a private meeting with European Commissioner for Culture, Ján Figel', to discuss the concrete issues that affect independents all over Europe. One of the principal concerns raised is the discrimination and exclusion the independents often face in the vital online and mobile market.

The Commissioner recognised the importance of the independent sector and some of the key issues affecting them, such as market access. The Commission is currently preparing a Green Paper on the Cultural industries. Given the importance of SMEs to the sector, Impala calls for a specific chapter on cultural SMEs, including the barriers they face and a thorough examination of the discrimination experienced by independent music companies in the online and mobile market.

IMPALA has also called on the Commission to create a specific programme for music which provides the same support as the EC gives to the film sector through the Media programme.

IMPALA welcomes the creation of the member states cultural platform of coordination where cultural policies best practices are discussed. IMPALA calls for the dissemination across Europe of the French cultural initiatives (for example the tax credit and advance fund for cultural industries.).*

Quote: European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel', said: "This year is the European year of Creativity and Innovation. What we must remember is that for music SMEs, like those represented by IMPALA, every year is a year of creativity and innovation.  Direct dialogue with IMPALA members is vital because of the specific contribution made by cultural SMEs to Europe in economic, social and cultural terms - we must understand their markets and foster the conditions necessary to give them the support they need."

Horst Weidenmueller, Co-president of IMPALA and CEO of !K7 added: "Discrimination of independents on-line is something that has been overlooked for some time. That this is being recognised at European level is a great step forward. It is now a question of whether the Commission will be able to keep up with the evolution of the market"

Michel Lambot, Co-president of IMPALA and Co-president of PIAS said: "IMPALA has always said that the concentration that exists in the physical market must not happen in the new on-line market, but this is the case. This is something that the Commission urgently needs to act on and turn its vocal support of the independents into concrete actions."

A picture of the Commissioner - together with IMPALA board members Michel Lambot, Martin Mills, Patrick Zelnik and Horst Weidenmueller - is also available from the IMPALA office (info@impalamusic.org)

**The French Culture Minister Christine Albanel also called for all member states to react following the adoption during the French Presidency of the EC of the European Declaration of Independence, setting out 10 points of priority action for cultural SMEs. Last year (following talks at Midem) IMPALA adopted an Action Plan for Music calling for urgent action to boost cultural SMEs and guarantee them market access online and offline.

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