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European music sector bands together to call for ‘urgent aid’

Nearly 40 pan-European music industry organisations have signed an open letter to demand emergency aid for the sector across the European Union in response to the Covid-19 live events shutdown.

The letter, which has been signed by the likes of festival association Yourope, managers’ bodies IMMF and EMMA, venue associations Live DMA and Liveurope and PRO collective Gesac, calls for emergency, as well as sustainable public support, and structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level.

The letter, which is addressed to both national governments and the EU Commission, warns that the “full magnitude of current turmoil” will be “felt long into 2021 due to how the music ecosystem operates.” Covid-19 has forced borders and venues to close, as well as festivals to be cancelled and performances to be postponed across the continent.

The letter states the “entire creative value chain is stalling,” adding that the livelihoods of artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff are “on the line.”

The letters urges the recipients to significantly increase national and EU budgets dedicated to culture, and within that to music. It also urges each member state to provide Europe’s creative sector with “swift and comprehensive access to structural funds in order to offset the harm in the shorter term,” under the EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.

The letter reads: “We see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points. Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities.

“Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.

“This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds. […] As decision-makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.”

Italy’s Assomusica trade group has joined the calls for continent-wide assistance and requesting for the introduction of vouchers to replace tickets purchased.

The association praised the Italian government’s help in introducing vouchers to replace tickets purchased, but has urged the European Commission, MPs and the Culture Committee to expand this action across the EU.
Assomusica’s president Vincenzo Spera said: “It is precisely because of the interconnectedness of these now globalised sectors that it is difficult to think that each European country can solve the problem on its own. This worries us because, especially for live music, both the artistic world and the entire chain of suppliers and workers interact at European level.”
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