IMPALA Launches Indie Charter

The main organisation representing Europe’s independent music companies is putting forward a three-pronged action plan to improve its members’ trading conditions.

IMPALA, which has given the indies a united front since it was formed in 2000, wants European Union decision-makers to give better financial breaks to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in cultural enterprises. These breaks include extending copyright terms, making sure the revenues from sound recordings filter back to the artist and instating new rules for the cultural sector that make diversity and consumer choice a priority.

The action plan, which could be described as "the indie charter," gives a detailed explanation of what IMPALA would like to see happen in all three categories and gives examples of how some member states are already giving better protection to SMEs.

The document is so widespread it’d likely take the EU years to adopt, but it doesn’t include anything various policy makers haven’t supported in the past.

Last year the EU heads of state and the European Commission’s cultural council formally recognised that SMEs are the drivers of "growth, job creation and innovation," at the same time strengthening cultural diversity and social integration.

The EC’s Agenda for Culture seeks to unlock the potential of culture and the cultural industries, in particular SMEs as one of the EC’s key priorities.

"If Europe wants its cultural and knowledge economy to lead the world, it has to create the world’s best market conditions" said IMPALA executive chairman Helen Smith, who led the organisation’s opposition to major label dominance, including the merger between Sony and BMG.

"What do cultural SMEs need? That is the question we are asked on a daily basis," she explained. "The IMPALA Action Plan seeks to provide the answers. It is a call for action to the EC and all member states in three key areas – finance, market access, and copyright and digital."