IMPALA Press Release, 7th December 2007, Brussels

CEOs of Europe’s leading music companies congregate in Brussels, highlighting the EC’s prioritisation of cultural and creative SMEs

IMPALA, the Independent Music Companies Association, held a summit in Brussels this week, combining closed meetings, a presentation and a dinner with top EU officials and parliamentarians. Key anti-trust issues such as market access, tax credits and collective licensing were addressed, as well as EU support for the sector and concentration.

Members of the European Commission, Parliament and permanent representations seized the opportunity to meet and exchange views with some of Europe’s most innovative cultural entrepreneurs.
The timing is critical as cultural and creative SMEs are now a top priority for the EC. The Commission is developing a concrete agenda to “mainstream” cultural policy in other key policy areas such as competition and taxation, following specific instructions from all EC member states at their annual Spring Council in Brussels to support cultural and creative SMEs.  These actors are seen as vital to Europe’s future and are officially recognised as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”.
Martin Mills, Chairman of Beggars group and IMPALA said:  “The growth of the digital market in Europe is vital to the independents and the rest of the music business.  This market needs kick-starting, and we eagerly look forwards to rights owners, services and the EU working together to move the market towards the very encouraging levels achieved in the USA“

Patrick Zelnik, President of Naïve and IMPALA added: “The European Institutions in the past have made references to the importance of culture without providing any concrete results. The official recognition of cultural and creative SMEs by the Council is a huge step forward. That so many different parts of the European Institutions are developing a dialogue and taking into account the needs of Europe’s creative SMEs is very positive.

About IMPALA  

IMPALA was established in April 2000 to help independent music companies represent their own agenda and promote the expansion and competitiveness of independent music in the interests of entrepreneurial and cultural diversity.
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. They are also key employers, providing more than half the jobs in the whole sector. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems. The impact on diversity, consumer choice and pluralism is clear. Over 95% of what most people hear and see, whether on radio, retail or the internet, is concentrated in the hands of four multinationals, known as the majors”. The Commission will now seek to put new policies in place to give SMEs preferential treatment, which is seen as is “economically and politically justifiable”.  Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”.
IMPALA has over 3500 members including the top independents: !K7 (Germany), Beggars Group (UK), Bonnier Amigo (Sweden), CLS Music (Hungary), CNR (NL), Cooking Vinyl (UK), Edel (Germany), Epitaph (US/NL), Gazell (Sweden), Menart doo (SIovenia), Musicvertrieb (Switzerland), Naïve (France), Odyssey (Ukraine), PIAS Group (Belgium), Playground (Sweden), Red Bullet (NL), Soyuz Music (Russia), SPV (Germany), Wagram (France), as well as national trade associations from the UK (AIM), France (UPFI), Germany (VUT), Spain (UFI), Italy (PMI), Belgium (BIMA), Denmark (DUP), Norway (FONO), Israel (PIL) and Sweden (SOM) and the Catalonian association APECAT..