Europe threatens to leave novice musicians out in the cold

21 September 2010

Europe threatens to leave novice musicians out in the cold

The European Parliament is threatening to leave beginners along with alternative and local musical genres out in the cold. The SP in the European Parliament believes that the future of novice musicians is at stake and is preparing concrete ideas for supporting up-and-coming musicians in the face of the heavily monopolistic and commercialised music industry. As SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong notes, 'The slogan of the European Union is unity in diversity, yet Europe's cultural diversity is in danger of disappearing, and we mustn't let that happen.'

SP plans

The SP's plans are based on three principles. Firstly, unauthorised downloaders of music must not be criminalised. "They're music-lovers, not criminals," says De Jong. There must instead be an accessible, transparent and affordable system whereby music can be legally downloaded. Secondly, through the development of the digital market, but also because touring bands rarely stay within national borders, a European market for music is in the offing. This demands European strategies, such as a European portal and international cooperation to offer financial aid to musicians. Thirdly, the European Commission must make it clear that state support for beginning musicians and the promotion of niche musical genres comes under cultural policy and not under the competition rules of the market. As De Jong argues, "only in this way will artists other than people like Britney Spears, Metallica and Anouk have the chance to progress beyond the practice room."

Gallo Report

Tomorrow the European Parliament will vote on the Gallo Report, which criminalises the unauthorised downloading of music, but fails to examine how legal downloading might be facilitated. The SP will therefore vote against the report. In the coming months the SP, in close cooperation with musicians, authors' rights organisations, record production companies and consumer groups, will bring forward concrete proposals aimed at stimulating real cultural diversity and helping up-and-coming musicians.

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