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IMPALA urges extension of COVID-19 support measures across Europe

IMPALA, the pan-European organisation for the independent music community, has called on the European Union and its member governments to ensure COVID-19 crisis measures are extended as lockdowns continue, as part of its second wave of recommendations released today (Monday).

With the music industry in European markets bracing for serious decline, IMPALA is urging an immediate extension of crisis relief, including graduated support for five years and a dedicated six per cent for culture in all national and EU recovery and other budgets.

The association said in statement that the governmental support needs to continue “not just until the pandemic is behind us but until the economy has properly recovered,” adding that without setting five-year plans many in the sector will not survive.

The recommendations also suggest that governments should also review the charging of VAT on things like tickets, livestreams and record store sales.

IMPALA executive chair Helen Smith said: “The aim of IMPALA’s call is to take stock and look ahead. This is essential to inspire the next generation of artists and music professionals to pursue their passion and contribute to Europe’s diversity and growth.”

IMPALA said in the statement that targeted support and coordination take on “renewed importance” as restrictions gradually lift and “we can hopefully find some optimism about tackling the spread of COVID-19 over the next year. Sectors such as music will be the last to come out of the crisis and will feel the direct impact on revenues for years, even without a potential third wave”.

IMPALA launched a COVID-19 taskforce early on in the pandemic back in March, which then published a ten point plan to support the independent music industry through the COVID crisis, identifying action points for the European Commission, EU national governments and the music community itself.

As the EU then started to put together a COVID recovery plan in April, IMPALA identifying another ten priorities, those focused on what the EC and national governments could do to ensure the survival and recovery of the music sector.

In its recent recommendations, IMPALA has called for “accountability and transparency,” and that governments and the EU should measure and report publicly on who is benefiting from their support, to ensure the assistance reaches those who need it. It adds that a coordinated approach around clear health measures and mobility is needed for artists, live venues and record shops, as well as studios. “This is vital for visibility and to ensure safe and appropriate working spaces and travel for artists and cultural workers, as well as a safe experience for music fans,” it adds.

IMPALA’s chair, Francesca Trainini, added: “Cultural and creative industries have been recognised as a priority ecosystem and culture received a boost last month with over half a billion euros in additional funding proposed in the EU’s budget. These are IMPALA’s recommendations to build on that.”