Border Breakers On The Box

The winners of the 2009 European Border Breakers Awards will get a boost to their profiles because this year’s ceremony will be shown on Dutch TV.

The awards, which take place Jan. 15 in Groningen, the first day of the EuroSonic-Noorderslag weekend, will be screened by NOS – Dutch national television – at prime time Jan. 17.

The show will also receive international coverage through the European Broadcasting Union, a network of television and radio stations.

It will be hosted by British TV personality and big band leader Jools Holland and be attended by Jan Figel, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth.

The European Commission sponsors the awards and funds it via the EU Culture Programme. It also funds the European Union Contemporary Architecture Prize, the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and the forthcoming European Union Prize for Literature.

The awards honour debut artists, groups, companies, composers and authors who succeed in reaching audiences outside their own country.

The EBBAs are based on the sales of an act’s debut album outside the country of production, experience in touring outside the country of origin and airplay on EBU radio stations.

The 10 winners for 2009 are Adele and The Ting Tings from the U.K., Denmark’s Alphabeat and Ida Corr, French acts The Dø and AaRON, Ireland’s The Script, Germany’s Cinema Bizarre, Sweden’s Lykke Li and Holland’s Kraak & Smaak.
Former winners include now established artists such as Tokio Hotel, Damien Rice, The Thrills, Gabriel Rios, The Fratellis, Basshunter and Carla Bruni.

Earlier in the day, Figel opens this year’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag and gives delegates the chance to ask why the European cultural budget can’t find money for the conference’s European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP).

The programme received temporary European funding as a pilot scheme until three years ago, but it hasn’t been possible for the organisers to persuade the EU to instate a more permanent source of money.

Along with other officials from the European Commission, Figel is also expected to attend a panel on the role of music as a part of the creative industries in the boosting of Europe’s economic potential.

For the last three years, ETEP organiser Ruud Berends has run the programme on a shoestring. At the same time, Eurosonic creative director Peter Smidt has run the whole weekend on a shoestring, and wouldn’t have managed that without the support of groups including The Noorderslag Foundation, the Buma Cultuur organization, the European Music Office and Sena Performers.

“The problem is that ETEP doesn’t really fit into any of the European cultural programmes,” Smidt explained. He has spent three lean years trying to persuade the commission that ETEP and Eurosonic would achieve even more with the help of a few thousand euros from the cultural budget.

He’s very pleased that Figel and his fellow commissioners will be at this year’s conference and hopes they will see what ETEP and Eurosonic are providing for close to 3,000 (mostly European) music business people.

ETEP is also a seedbed for talent, described by NME as “the place to second guess who’ll be the big European bands of the year.”

Six of the 10 winners of the 2009 EBBA awards – The Ting Tings, Lykke Li, The Dø, AaRon, Alphabeat, and Kraak & Smaak – all played at last year’s ETEP.

Previous EBBA winners that had already played ETEP include Wir Sind Helden, Myslovitz, Sarah Bettens, Gabriel Rios and Jose Gonzales.

EuroSonic-Noorderslag is at De Oosterpoort, Groningen, Holland, Jan. 15-17.