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volume 2
july 1999

Music in Europe


  Introduction to: European Music Office, Music in Europe. Brussels, 1996.

  Up until now, the music industry, unlike the movie, audio-visual and multimedia industries, and despite the importance of the inherent economic, social and cultural stakes linked to its activities, is not the object, on the part of the European Union, of institutional recognition. This lack of recognition is a serious handicap insofar as concerns promoting the interests of this sector. Which is why a certain number of professional European organizations, representing the interests of the different sectors of the music industry, decided, in April 1995, to open the European Music Office in Brussels.
  The first initiative of the EMO was to propose that a study be undertaken, which would offer the various European and national institutional partners an enhanced understanding of the very nature and diversity of music sector-related activities, together with the considerable role they play, at European level, in the economic, cultural and social domains. The European Commission (DGX), in providing its support, enabled this study to be implemented, a study in itself unique, as it takes into account all business sectors, in all the States of the European Union.
  After describing the way in which the music industry functions, the first part of the study is devoted to an economic analysis of all the different sectors, recorded music, royalties and neighbouring rights, live performances, musical instrument markets, the media, education and the financial backing of the various institutional partners. This analysis clearly shows that music-related turnover is more than twice that generated by cinema and video.
  The European music industry has a greater turnover than both the cinema and the video industries. In 1995, the music industry had an estimated turnover of 18.8 billion ECU's and provided employment for over 600,000 people. Approximately 60% of the music sold on CD's and cassettes in the EU was of European origin. Approximately 80,000 people are employed in the retailing of recorded music. The administration of performing rights in other revenues from music publishing involved the collection of over 1 billion ECU's in 1995 with composers and publishers earning approximately 750 million ECU's from the mechanical rights of their compositions. The number of composers active in the EU is approximately 100,000. Sales of concert tickets and related merchandise were valued at 2.3 billion ECU's in 1995.
  The second part of the study mainly focuses on the way developments in musical cultures interact with broader cultural developments and processes in society. Six critical articles by wellknown scholars in the field of popular music studies (based on sociology, aesthetics, musicology and communication), deal with the specific cultural roles music plays in modern life, through the way it is consumed by Europeans and the way musicians compose and play music, thereby mediating a whole range of contemporary experiences. These essays are followed by five reports on exemplary cases demonstrating the role music can play in the present sociocultural context.
  As with all first attempts, this study did have its share of difficulties. In certain sectors, statistics and data are available from professional organizations and government departments. However, in other areas, such as employment and live performances, there would appear to be a need to follow up and clarifying the work undertaken by this study.
  1999 © Soundscapes