FOREWORD

On this page, you can find INFORMATION & RESOURCE, relevant for the countries involved in our network, regarding how the various stakeholders – institutions, companies, non-profit organizations, independent workers, artists – who shape our transnational popular music sector are likely to be supported during the crisis.

All contents have been carefully selected and sources are made available through embedded web links, so as to allow readers to easily access both original content and corresponding updates, whereas the political response to the grass-roots issues raised by the community committed to advocating for the sector is constantly evolving.

Measures addressing professionals and artists are then sorted by nation and comply with the same rules: checked sources and links redirecting to the comprehensive original content.

GENERAL INFORMATION: WHAT IS BEING DONE AT AN E.U LEVEL

To document the spectrum of the fiscal response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus in the E.U, there are elements of the reading grid supplied by Bruegel.

Bruegel is the European think tank that specializes in economics. Established in 2005, it is independent and non-doctrinal. Bruegel’s mission is to improve the quality of economic policy with open and fact-based research, analysis, and debate. They are committed to impartiality, openness, and excellence. Bruegel’s membership includes EU Member State governments, international corporations, and institutions.

Immediate fiscal impulse: additional government spending (such as medical resources, keeping people employed, subsidizing SMEs, public investment), and foregone revenues (such as the cancellation of certain taxes and social security contributions). These types of measures immediately lead to deterioration of the budget balance without any direct compensation later.

Other liquidity provisions and guarantees: these measures include export guarantees, liquidity assistance, credit lines through national development banks. Some of these measures improve the liquidity position of the private sector, but unlike deferrals which are automatic and generally apply to the target groups, credit lines require action from the impacted companies. Credit lines and guarantees might not weaken the budget balance in 2020 but would create contingent liabilities which might turn into actual expenses either in 2020 or later.

The report on COVID-19 Measures on EU level featured below is provided by LIVE – DMA.

Live DMA is a European non-governmental network working to support and to promote the conditions of the live music sector. Live DMA is by nature an international collaboration network based on shared visions and values. Ever since its foundation, the exchange of best practices and experiences has been the pivot of the network’s existence. time, Live DMA has grown in terms of size and impact. Today, the network is composed of 20 members situated in 16 countries. The members are regional and national live music associations that represent more than 3000 music venues, clubs, and festivals located all over Europe.

On 8 April 2020, the EU cultural ministers discussed the effects of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative sector in an online meeting initiated by the Croatian Presidency of the Council. In the press conference following the meeting, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel gave an overview of measures initiated at the EU level that are relevant for the cultural and creative sector.

The following measures are available for the cultural and creative sectors although the accessibility may sometimes depend on national regulations

Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative: 37 billion Euro of the structural funds will be provided to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. Stakeholders of the cultural and creative sector can access these funds if the respective member state agreed to it.

Temporary Support Employment: This measure is designed to protect against loss of jobs and income and encompasses 100 billion Euros. It is up to the Member States to make it available for creators, artists, and other independents in the cultural and creative sector.

Temporary Framework for State Aid: It enables the Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the economy. Culture is listed as one of the sectors most severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

MEASURES ADDRESSING PROFESSIONALS AND ARTISTS

Here is an overview of action across Europe to address the impact of Covid-19 on the music sector, sorted by nationality, provided by IMPALA.

IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists – they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector’s jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA’s mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access, and modernize perceptions of the music sector.

IMPALA’s Covid-19 Task Force has published a package of ten recommendations to try and secure a coordinated approach across Europe to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on the independent music sector. In terms of national action, the crisis plan recommends the following:

Clear rules – all countries should take clear decisions on event cancellations and lockdowns. This will help the sector claim on their insurance where applicable and access compensation schemes. Record stores should be in the first wave of shops allowed to reopen as lockdown restrictions start to lift (subject to necessary restrictions as regards customer numbers).

National economic measures – comprehensive plans need to be adopted by all countries with key measures such as: self-employed and freelance workers income protection, unemployment relief for self-employed and freelance workers, support for staff costs small business relief funds, access to interest-free loans, payment holidays for rents and business rates, company tax relief, suspension/delays in tax/VAT declarations and social security payments, mortgage payment holidays, loan repayment holidays, lower VAT rates, lower national bank interest rates and fiscal incentives to boost investment and recovery post-crisis.

Sector specific compensation plans – national financial support packages must be launched immediately for hard hit sectors like music, plus VAT should be lifted on all cultural goods and services.

Recorded content and digital services action

A series of initiatives have been launched by the key players of online music streaming so as to provide opportunities to artists and bands to gain visibility and support from their potential audiences and to enhance their capacity to generate revenues.

Apple Music announced on 7 April the creation of a $50 million-plus fund available as advances on future royalties to independent labels, to help them pay artists and maintain operations. Royalty advances will be offered to independent labels with a direct Apple Music distribution deal who meet a minimum quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings. Each advance will be based on the label’s past earnings and will be recoupable against the label’s future earnings. (see here)

Spotify set up a Covid-19 Music Relief project – via a dedicated website, Spotify recommends verified organizations offering financial relief to those in the music community most in need, and match dollar-for-dollar public donations up to a total of $10m. Spotify’s partners initially included MusiCares (US), PRS Foundation (UK), and HelpMusicians (UK).  As of April 2020, new partners include Centre National de la Musique (France), Deutsche Orchester-Stiftung (Germany), Initiative Musik (Germany), Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund (Ireland), Musikerforbundet (Sweden), Support Act (Australia), União Brasileira de Compositores (Brazil), Unison Benevolent Fund(Canada). Spotify is also waiving its revenue share on music talent marketplace SoundBetter, waiving fees on its Anchor Listener Support feature, and offering extended free trials for educators on its cloud-based audio recording platform Soundtrap. Spotify is also working on a feature that will enable artists to drive listeners to their favored fundraiser.  Spotify for Artists has a new feature, the Artist Fundraising Pick to amplify artists’ fundraising with Spotify’s global reach and a $1M artist relief effort from Cash App: see here.

– Facebook started a small business grant program: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where it operates. (see here)

Bandcamp waived their revenue share on sales on Friday, March 20, helping artists raise $4.3 million in music and merchandise sales over the 24-hour period (see here). The online service will repeat this initiative on 1st May, 5th June, and 3rd July (see here).

-Sync-licensing company Songtradr announced on March 19th that it would be giving its share of any new licensing transactions directly to artists for the next month through April 18th. (see here

-Starting March 20th, Mixcloud is waiving its revenue share from its Mixcloud Select subscription platform for 3 months, giving Select channel creators 100% of the income after the underlying artists & songwriters played in the shows have been paid. They are also offering new joiners 3 months for pro account upgrades. (see here)

– Soundcloud launched a series of initiatives. On March 20 it announced:

  • 50% off SoundCloud Pro Unlimited subscriptions for creators. (see here)
  • A regularly updated resource guide to help artists to keep creating and building their career. (see here)
  • A partnership with live-streaming platform Twitch to help Soundcloud pro creators connect with their fans via Livestream. (see here)
  • ‘Live creator office hours’ with SoundCloud’s artist relations and marketing teams sharing professional advice with creators. (see here)

On April 2nd it announced further support (see here)

  • New direct fan-support button for all creators
  • $5m in free promotional support for creators 
  • Launch of Repost, a new marketing and distribution service made available to all creators
  • $10m artist accelerator program to support independent creators

Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube music, Facebook, SiriusXM/Pandora, Tidal announced a donation to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, the US Recording Academy’s charity for musicians in need — but none of the companies disclosed the size of their donations. 

National action sorted by country

The national action is detailed below and lists government measures, collecting society responses, support from national radio, social media and other campaigns to support local music, when it applies.

BELGIUM

FRANCE

GERMANY

LUXEMBOURG

Latest campaigns and initiatives

Further action is being taken regularly by stakeholders from all over Europe and this section is going to be updated each time any inspiring idea will arise. It will concomitantly be published through a post on our Facebook page. The best way to stay tuned!

Practical and legal concerns

Here is a series of web links, sorted by country, redirecting towards updated content documenting sectorial issues. Be they grass-roots-fed advocacy or institutional, those sources of information are regarded as reliable to keep the reader posted of the latest developments of support devices and initiatives at a national, regional, and local scale. Please note that they may only be available in the mother tongue of the editor.