Promoting culture and cultural diversity runs through all of IMPALA’s work. We advocate for a new industrial policy focusing on the unique strength and diversity of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors.
Creativity is a vital asset for Europe and its citizens. It is an essential driver of jobs and growth, as well as for cultural diversity, social well-being and Europe’s soft power internationally. These strengths are key elements for building a strong, inclusive, sustainable and diverse Digital Single Market.
The covid crisis has underlined that even more and the cultural sectors are now recognised as one of 14 priorities for European recovery.
Cultural and creative sectors account for 4,4% of EU GDP and 12 million full-time jobs, most of which are local and cannot be relocated. They are economically resilient in times of crisis, and have a high percentage of youth employment, with 19.1% aged under 30. Copyright-intensive industries also offer a wage premium of 69%.
Imagine what more they could achieve with a new approach in Europe?
Individuals and smaller actors are the drivers of these sectors’ success. In music for example, small actors account for 80% of the sector’s jobs, 90% of the added value generated, as well as 80% of investment in new creative works. Natural early adopters, they lead the development of the online market, with copyright as a liberator for the artists they work with.
Europe’s creativity will never run out. It is essential to build on this local, and not just sustainable, but abundant resource. Creation must be at the heart of Europe’s development – for both creators and citizens. Making Europe the intellectual property capital of the world with a healthy distortion-free licensing environment is key.
European music market is not defined by the EU and includes the whole of the UK. A real sector-specific approach when it comes to music, is important to allow the European music market to operate without being constrained by the membership or non-membership to the EU.
Europe needs ambition and inspiration – a new industrial policy to build on the unique strength and diversity of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors.
Below are examples of measures that an industrial policy would involve. IMPALA’s Chair, Francesca Trainini also did a 20MinutesWith podcast on the topic, you can listen to it here.
Please also see our specific recommendations regarding crisis and recovery measures on IMPALA’s covid site.
Citizens’ appetite for culture and diversity is huge. We need to respond to this through concrete, sustainable measures to increase pluralism and diversity in traditional and online media, as well as in the supply of creative works.
IMPALA has a ten-step plan to reform streaming. Seeing music services as partners, IMPALA’s aim is to make streaming fairer and provide a dynamic, compelling and responsible future for artists, labels and for fans.
The EU could broker a charter for stakeholders to promote diversity and mobility, two vital components of Europe’s Digital Single Market. Let’s measure performance through specific scoreboards.
We should use the power and uniqueness of Europe’s culture to reconnect with citizens and pursue a strategy along the lines of the EU’s New Narrative for Europe.
Sector initiatives that establish pathways for transition are often trailblazed by innovative actors and the independent sector is a good example.
Recognising the climate emergency and the need for innovation, IMPALA has developed a sustainability programme with first music sector carbon goals for 2026 (net zero) and 2030 (net positive). This is also the first initiative that includes the supply chain, with the aim to create the first carbon calculator for recorded music. It is through actors and initiatives like this that the European Green Deal will move towards its goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent.
It is important to support and promote sector innovation.
GROWING EUROPE’S “MISSING MIDDLE” BY IMPROVING CONDITIONS FOR SMALLER ACTORS
Innovation, diversity, investment and jobs would be enhanced by levelling the playing field for smaller players. This is all the more true for the EU and other recovery mechanisms that have been put in place to help address the impact of the covid crisis.
The importance of structures such as labels in the music sector is multifaceted, they bring risk taking, stability, scale, investment, brand, experience, as well the all important “belonging“ or identification with what a label stands for and how that adds huge value to creators.
The label role is totally unique and IMPALA members are inundated more today than ever before with requests from artists who want to work with a label.
It is vital that the role of these structures is reinforced. We need a new regulatory, competition, social and fiscal environment.
Europe must grow its “missing middle” by creating the best possible conditions for smaller cultural actors who contribute the most in terms of jobs and innovation, and by opposing further concentration in the cultural markets. In the music sector for example over 80% of all new releases in Europe are on SME and also micro labels and they need the right market and financial conditions to grow.
INCREASING INVESTMENT THROUGH A NEW FINANCIAL APPROACH TO CULTURE
Investment in culture would increase if intangible assets were properly valued, including through revised accounting standards. Fiscal and other incentives such as loan guarantee schemes are also required, along with sector initiatives which share revenues and reward investment in new talent.
Allowing a reduced VAT on cultural goods and services online and offline, as well as ending double taxation is also crucial, especially given the new “country of destination” VAT rules on digital products. Those benefitting economically from carrying cultural works must contribute financially to their creation.
INTRODUCING GREATER FISCAL FAIRNESS
With smaller actors and citizens shouldering the lion’s share of tax, it is time for Europe to take a stance and make minimum fair and direct taxation of online operators and multinationals a reality.
If we want citizens to re-engage with Europe, this would go a long way. This is also a pre-requisite to achieving a meaningful Digital Single Market.
MAPPING AND MEASURING THE SECTORS AND HOW CREATIVITY WORKS
A better understanding of the functioning of cultural and creative sectors is needed to deliver the best environment anywhere in the world.
Revising statistical measures to make sure they properly identify all relevant cultural sectors is also a fundamental part of mapping Europe’s future priorities.
We need to be able to measure each sector separately and ensure relevant statistical codes do their job.
REINFORCING THE RIGHTS THAT DRIVE THE DIGITAL MARKET AND GROW EUROPE’S COPYRIGHT CAPITAL
A strong digital market implies reinforcing the creative “content” that drives it. This means strong creators’ rights, including copyright. An enabler and liberator of creativity and economic growth, copyright is a fundamental right. This also provides security for young people who choose to pursue a creative career.
Strong copyright is particularly important for smaller actors as they represent the majority of the sector and are the main risk takers.
Implementing the copyright directive will be a recovery boost to the sector, and at no cost for governments. We urge member states to do their utmost to transpose it into their national laws quickly, coherently and faithfully according to the text of the directive to ensure maximum harmonisation.
Copyright is also an issue in the UK. The 2019 directive won’t be implemented in the UK despite the country voting in favour of the directive, at member state level and in the European Parliament and with many UK members who fought extremely hard to see it through. And now, it’s unlikely creators from their own country will be able to benefit from it. With such strong cultural sectors, however, there is a strong incentive for the UK to update its laws in line with the directive.
Proper remuneration from online intermediaries is vital. We need a healthy licensing environment without market distortions.
All private copying schemes should be kept up to date and cover all devices used to make private copies. Private copying compensation must be paid by those who benefit from the exception.
Fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, transparency and freedom for creators to decide what happens to their works, including choosing territorial partners, are all crucial.
GIVING CITIZENS THE BEST DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE WORLD
The digital segment of the European music sector has grown far faster than the global average. We must make Europe’s internet infrastructure the best, fastest and most accessible in the world, with the best micro-payment systems so that Europeans can use the internet’s full potential to access culture in all its diversity. Increasing competition between telecom operators would also benefit consumers by bringing prices down.
REVISITING THE “RULES OF ENGAGEMENT” ONLINE
How we engage online covers a range of issues, from respecting people’s data, property and privacy, to fair search, to ensuring digital humanism, as well as other vital matters of general interest, such as citizen trust in the online world and security. It also covers issues such as internet governance and generic top-level domain names (such as .music) which must be run by community led initiatives rather than sold off to the highest bidder. Europe must lead these debates.
Artists, labels and fans deserve a dynamic, compelling and responsible future. With music services seen as partners, IMPALA wants to make streaming fairer through its ten recommendations. Find them here.
Further, artists and creative businesses are born equal. Online operators must follow the principles of non-discrimination and must-carry. Ensuring choice and innovation will also require regulating and unbundling essential facilities, as well as tackling unfair trading practices.
EFFECTIVELY TACKLING STRUCTURALLY INFRINGING WEBSITES
Jobs and revenues would grow significantly if structurally infringing websites were tackled properly. This involves implementing the “follow the money” approach with advertisers, credit card and online payment services, as well as effectively addressing search results.
Internet service providers (ISPs) should take all reasonable measures to comply with court injunctions to stop access to infringing sites. Cross-border application of rulings should be improved.
It is also time to review wider internet governance issues such as the balance between anonymity and liability of intermediaries. Europe must lead the world here, as with the rules of engagement online more generally.
PLACING CULTURE AND DIVERSITY AT THE HEART OF EUROPE’S INTERNATIONAL WORK
Europe’s lead internationally means we must ensure that trade agreements respect copyright, the specificities of culture and its importance for development. This includes the principle of reciprocity which is essential to boost an enduring, sustainable and diverse music sector internationally.
We also need to see concrete implementation in Europe and internationally of the UNESCO Convention principle of fair and equitable access to the means of production, dissemination and distribution of cultural activities, goods and services.
IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association
Coudenberg 70, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM
+32 2 503 31 38