IMPALA Press Release, 28th April 2010

Music companies welcome EC Cultural Industries Green Paper - market access and SME finance among key issues to tackle

The European Commission's Green Paper on the cultural and creative industries was adopted this week by the EC Commissioner for Culture.  The move starts a very important process which is expected will lead to concrete results for thousands of independent music companies and other SMEs across Europe.

The Green Paper, a first for the cultural industries, highlights key issues already identified by IMPALA and other cultural actors:

  • The importance of SMEs is underlined throughout.
  • Market access is highlighted as a key issue, with the green paper stating: “A diverse range of entrepreneurs ... is a pre-requisite for a culturally diverse offer to consumers. This is possible only if fair access to the market is guaranteed. Creating and maintaining the level playing field which ensures that there are no unjustified barriers to entry will require combined efforts in different policy fields, especially competition policy.”
  • The paper also acknowledges that the ability of business to respond to the structural changes of the digital market greatly depends on a company’s size and bargaining power viz a viz new digital outlets.
  • In addition, the paper underlines the barriers faced by SMEs in accessing finance. This is good news in the context of IMPALA's Action Plan for Finance, adopted earlier this year.
  • The paper also highlights the need to put other "enablers" in place and deal with key issues such as developing local economies, and reducing barriers to the mobility of artists and music within Europe and internationally.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA said: This sends a clear message that the EC recognises the importance of a level playing field and will use competition rules to achieve it. The next step is to work out the concrete measures required for SMEs to secure real market access and improve their financial viability. Bold moves by the Commission now will deliver a thriving diverse digital market and a real boost to Europe's economy.

Additional notes
The Green Paper highlights the economic importance of the cultural and creative industries:

  • Contribute 2.6% of European GDP.
  • Provide 5 million jobs, which is bigger than many manufacturing industries.
  • Are growing faster than most parts of the economy.

A public consultation was also announced at the launch of the Green Paper.