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volume 2
july 1999

The economic importance of music in the European Union


  5. Broadcasting
  by Dave Laing
  In September 1996 the European Music Office published its report on "Music in Europe". The first part of this study, written by Dave Laing, describes the economic importance of music in the European Union. This is the fifth chapter of his study, treating the subject of broadcasting.

1 Music radio. Music provides the programming for most of Europe's 8,000 radio stations. As table 7.1 shows, 600 out of Belgium's 650 stations feature music and 800 of the 1,010 stations in Greece. The proportion of music radio stations is lowest in Spain where the majority of listeners prefer news or mixed programming.
Table 5.1: Radio and television stations 1995 (source: EMO)
  Radio Television Radio
  National Local Music Channels Music Staff Revenues (millions of ECU)
Austria 3 11 3 2 0   3,130 ** 783.4 #
Belgium 10 640 600 14 0 (2) n/a   110.4  
Denmark 4 280 n/a n/a n/a   5,200   106.0  
Finland 4 80 28 4 0   1,944 ** 31.3  
France 14 900 450 7 2 (2) n/a   589.0  
Germany 3 207 140 20 3 (2) n/a   635.4  
Greece 10 1,100 800 5 0 (1) 6,000   37.0  
Ireland 4 29 27 2 n/a   484   45.2  
Italy 15 2,500 n/a 9 1 (1) n/a   184.2  
Luxembourg 1 22 n/a n/a n/a   n/a   10.6  
Netherlands 20 163 30 8+ 1 (1) n/a   110.2  
Portugal 7 318 301 4 n/a   n/a   8.0  
Spain 10 1,800 500 n/a n/a   24,600   240.5  
Sweden 4 410 n/a n/a 1 (2) n/a   31.5  
United Kingdom 8 226 195 4 0 (4) n/a   322.8  
(*) The figures in brackets are for foreign stations available by cable or satellite; (#) includes TV revenues
  In many countries the remaining national channels of the publicly-owned broadcasting companies provide employment opportunities for musicians. Most have symphony orchestras or big bands. In the UK, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) spends about 36 million ECU's on classical music performances. While some national popular music stations like Radiomafia in Finland also commission live performances, the majority of music played on European radio is from commercial recordings.
  Most music stations follow a specific format and feature only one style of music. The formats with the greatest number of stations are Top 40 which plays current pop hits and Adult Contemporary, pop and rock music aimed at the 25-45 age group. In most continental European countries there are stations which play only popular music in the national language and in France there is a legally enforceable quota of 40% for the amount of Francophone music to be broadcast. The Danish national channel P3 has a voluntary 30% quota for Danish music.
  The final column of table 5.1 shows that the advertising revenues of European radio stations was over 2.5 billion ECU's in 1995. In addition, the state-owned broadcasters in all EU countries receive licence fees or government subsidies. The revenues of the German public radio and television stations from this source was 4.8 billion ECU's in 1994 while the British Broadcasting Corporation received over 2 billion ECU's.
  Table 5.2 provides information on the amount of time spent by European Union citizens listening to radio or watching television. Only in Portugal and France does the population spend more time with television than radio. In countries where comparative figures for music radio and all radio are available, music radio had the majority of listening time in Greece and Finland while it had slightly less than half in Austria.
Table 5.2: Radio listening and television viewing (minutes per day) 1994-'95 (sources: EMO, FT Management Reports)
  LTI* LTI Music VTI** TV
Austria 173 83 140
Belgium 278 n/a n/a
Denmark 175 n/a n/a
Finland 230 167 150
France 145 n/a 180
Germany 167 n/a n/a
Greece 210 150 210
Ireland 200 n/a 186
Italy 171 n/a n/a
Netherlands 180 n/a 160
Portugal 200 n/a 240
Spain 110 n/a n/a
Sweden 112 n/a n/a
United Kingdom 177 n/a 156
(*) LTI or Listening Time per Individual per day in minutes; (**) VTI or Viewing Time per Individual per day in minutes
2 Music television. The numbers of television channels given in table 5.1 include national terrestrial stations only. However the numbers of television channels available in Europe has increased greatly with the growing numbers of households able to receive programmes through cable networks or satellite dishes. In many European cities over 20 different channels are available. These include foreign terrestrial channels as well as those available only by cable or satellite.
  Among the many new specialist channels have been a number of music television stations. The largest part of their programming is made up by the music videos produced by the record industry to accompany new recordings by pop and rock artists. However, there is also some classical music and jazz programming.
  The most widely available of these music stations is the US-owned MTV Europe. This is now available in over 50 million European homes. Since its launch in 1987, MTV Europe has added a second channel, VH-1, available at present in Germany and the UK.
MTV has been criticized for the large amount of Anglo-American music in its programming. The company has recently changed its policy to provide separate programming for the different "regions" of Europe. These three new programmes, for Northern, Central and Southern Europe, have their own regional play lists but MTV says that this does not necessarily mean there will be more European music in its shows. Instead, "artists will be selected on the basis of their popularity and potential in a given market, rather than their country of origin." [40]
  The arrival of MTV inspired the launch of competing channels in several European countries. Most of these offer a greater proportion of European Union produced music videos than does MTV. The French-based MCM network is also available in other European and African countries. France also has Muzzik, a jazz and classical music cable channel. In Germany, the VIVA group, backed by several large record companies, has two channels on cable networks. In the Netherlands, MTV and the Dutch-owned Music Factory each have a 1% share of the television audience. Other music television channels include VideoMusic (Italy) and ZTV (Sweden).
40. MTV Europe, News Release, 13 August, 1996. Return to text
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