Brussels, 26th March 2015

Last night MEP Sabine Verheyen hosted IMPALA’s exchange with EU officials and the owner-managers of key independent labels from all over Europe. 

The evening featured real life case studies on artists and labels. Martin Mills (Beggars Group) discussed Adele’s partnership with her label XL Recordings, and urged policymakers to set the right conditions to ensure her success story is not the exception. Mark Kitcatt (Everlasting Records) talked about the importance of local markets and how his work with Guadalupe Plata from Andalusia had helped the band increase its international audience. An interview with Christof Ellinghaus, founder of Berlin-based label City Slang focussed on the artist Caribou and his latest album “Our Love” and set out his recommendations for labels setting up today.

As the EC unveiled its priorities for the Digital Single Market Strategy on the same day, Helen Smith outlined IMPALA’s Digital Action Plan, which recommends concrete measures in ten key areas to build on Europe’s digital lead. As part of Europe’s strategy for growth and jobs, this involves a strong industrial policy to achieve a digital single market through culture and diversity. IMPALA’s vision includes “reinforcing copyright and addressing the transfer of value to certain online operators“, which Smith noted is “essential to establish a distortion-free licensing market”, alongside other measures to “reinforce the cultural industries and in particular smaller players who account for 80% of all new releases, 80% of the sector’s jobs, and 90% of the added value”.

MEP Sabine Verheyen discussed her work on copyright and the digital agenda, commenting: “What I like about IMPALA’s action plan is that it challenges us to come up with an industrial policy, not just a piecemeal approach. From finance to taxation, and concrete recommendations to improve diversity and measure our sector properly, it provides real food for thought. It also encourages us to see copyright review as an opportunity to strengthen rights and make Europe the place to be if you want to be a leading creative business. And that for me is the key.”

Kees van Weijen, Managing Partner [PIAS] Rough Trade distribution and Chairman of IMPALA, presented Mrs Verheyen with a personalised version of Caribou’s Album of the Year Award, commenting: “This type of dialogue with policy makers is very important. We thank Mrs Verheyen for the opportunity to exchange views on copyright, the ‘value gap’, finance and other priorities set out in IMPALA’s Digital Action Plan.”

Today IMPALA shared its action plan on the European Commission’s dedicated site for the Digital Single Market, as a forward-thinking contribution to the discussion. EC Vice-President Andrus Ansip is seeking further input and IMPALA calls on musicians, composers, record labels, publishers, and music lovers alike to also share their experience and ideas to make Europe the best place to run a creative business, thrive in the digital world and reach across borders.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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