Figel’s Flying Visits

No sooner had European commissioner Jan Figel left Holland’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag than he was on his way to France for a “private meeting” with the independent music companies at MIDEM.

The commissioner for education, training, culture and youth was in Groningen to take part in a panel on music and the creative industries and attend the EC-sponsored European Broadcast Awards. His visit to Cannes was more likely about his Green Paper on the cultural industries.

IMPALA, the independent music companies’ organisation, is calling for the paper to include a specific chapter on cultural SMEs. It says it should include reference to the barriers they face and a thorough examination of the discrimination they experience in the online and mobile markets.

IMPALA has also called on the commission to create a specific programme for music that provides the same support the EC gives the film sector.

“This year is the European year of creativity and innovation. What we must remember is that for music SMEs, like those represented by IMPALA, every year is a year of creativity and innovation,” Figel commented after his Jan. 19 meeting with IMPALA board members Patrick Zelnik (Naïve), Martin Mills (Beggars), Horst Weidenmueller (K7) and Michel Lambot (PIAS).

“Direct dialogue with IMPALA members is vital because of the specific contribution made by cultural SMEs to Europe in economic, social and cultural terms – we must understand their markets and foster the conditions necessary to give them the support they need,” he added.

Weidenmueller said the discrimination of independents online is something that has been overlooked for some time.
“That this is being recognised at the European level is a great step forward. It is now a question of whether the commission will be able to keep up with the evolution of the market,” he explained.

Lambot said the issue is something the commission “urgently” needs to address and turn its vocal support of the independents into concrete actions.

MIDEM was at Cannes, France, Jan. 18-21.