During the European Music Export Conference (EMEC) held in October 2019, the European Commission presented the first results of an extensive study of the music sector in 22 countries and announced a number of new contests in its support.
So, how the EU’s largest grant program for the sector of cultural and creative industries helps develop European music, and what chances do Ukrainian applicants have in it?
Creative Europe is the European Union’s program for cultural, creative and audiovisual industries, launched in 2014 and continuing through 2020. As of today, it covers 41 countries, including EU, European Free Trade Association and Eastern Partnership member states. This program is targeting three major sectors: cultural, creative and audiovisual, with the music sector also becoming an important development vector in 2019-20.
What projects have already received support from this program?
Musica Femina – Women-Made Music
Today, discussions concerning #metoo movement and the wearing of hijabs, head scarfs and other elements of women’s garments are taking the center stage, and the world of arts cannot remain on sidelines, either. That’s why the organizers of Musica Femina project decided to work with the topic of gender equality, which is one of the European Union’s priorities.
This project has many levels: ensuring economic independence of women, expanding performance opportunities for women’s bands, supporting equal payment for composing music, engaging women in all aspects of decision making in the field of music, etc.
In order to achieve the project’s goals, partners from three countries (Slovenia, Hungary and Austria) support mobility of women for the purpose of organizing and visiting various exhibitions, plays and lectures, and preparing publications. In addition, they organize large information campaigns to popularize successful projects and initiatives organized by women. This way, they disseminate knowledge of role models for future generations.
This project was organized by a number of European universities in the partnership with music education initiatives. Its main purpose is to create new models to educate and prepare authors of musical compositions, enhance their knowledge of the industry’s digitalization and test new business models. As part of this project, music workshops and songwriting camps will be held during two years. And after the project ends, the organizers want to publish a wholesome concept and a number of materials for use. For example, one of them will include a directory of the best examples of music education with a special emphasis upon international cooperation. In addition, the organizers will prepare a list of research works which will help improve the program of music education at educational institutions of all levels.
This is a platform that supports concert sites popularizing young European musicians. The participation in it is considered a sort of a quality mark in the concert world, proving successful creation of an unconventional music program at one’s own establishment. The main purpose of Liveurope is to stimulate diversity of performers with special focus on young talents.
Thanks to this platform, all concert halls which invite young musicians receive financial assistance to cover logistics costs. Therefore, young musicians who do not have a powerful fan base yet are still able to perform and popularize their music, while concert halls are gladly inviting them, because they don’t have to take financial risks as all their basic expenses are covered. The platform is coordinated by the legendary Belgian hall, Ancienne Belgique, and international partners are selected from among European halls distinguishable for the diversity of their programs, sophisticated infrastructure and international reputation.
Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES)
This is a project of international cooperation, establishing unique methods of working together and exchanging experience between European showcase festivals to promote development of musician careers, increase their business attractiveness and correctly use digital technologies. This project has the following four areas:
It is based on the idea of creating an online resource making it easier for representatives of European music community to find new music talents. In just a few clicks, booking managers can discover hundreds of applicant bands and select someone suitable for their performance stage.
This area helps young musicians enter international level thanks to additional performances at specialized events. Thus, INES partners nominate up to 10 young musicians from their countries, whom partner festivals must invite to perform all over Europe.
It supports professional development of music professionals, and provides financial support to visit specialized music business events. Thanks to that, one can discover new bands, establish first international contacts, and work with colleagues from other countries.
According to the organizers, education is the cornerstone of a successful industry. That’s why INES has the purpose of making specific knowledge of this industry available to all. With that in mind, they organize the filming of discussion panels and presentations at large music conferences. Using these materials, they have already compiled an open video library to teach music business.
EXCITE: Exchange of International Talent in Europe
EXCITE is a project of international cooperation between nine European organizations, promoting professional development of young musicians and music business in general. Its idea is based on the partnership of 10 European music festivals responsible for development of young music talents. The festival’s program includes special workshops for young performers, songwriting camps, offstage meetings with program directors and industry specialists who can share valuable experience. In addition, EXCITE acts as the curator of one of the stages of the most prestigious German showcase festival, Reeperbahn Festival, presenting its brightest performers there.
Music Moves Europe Talent Awards
This is a new prize from the European Union in the field of pop and contemporary music, organized by ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) showcase festival as part of the new initiative, Music Moves Europe. The prize is awarded on an annual basis to performers who impersonate fresh sounding of European music of the future.
This prize rewards and popularizes young European musicians to help them reach international level faster. The nominees are selected by monitoring European Border Breakers Charts, their auditions on streaming platforms, the outcomes of the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), and recommendations from export offices and partners supporting the award. The winners receive an opportunity to play at ESNS festival, a special educational program, and financial support for their tours and promo activities. In 2020, the prize was awarded in various nominations to Meduza (IT), Girl in Red (NO), Anna Leone (SE), PONGO (PT), HARMED (HU), 5K HD (AT), FLOHIO (UK), and Naaz (NL) who also received an audience award.
At first, Creative Europe program was intended to run for seven years only. However, its outcomes were so impressive that the European Commission decided to extend it and has already approved the work plan for 2021-27. In order to make proper preparations, a number of “pilot contests” or initiatives (in particular, for the music sector) were launched in 2019. Presently, Ukrainian applicants can apply for Joint Creation and Joint Production contest, either independently or in the partnership with international colleagues, to receive up to 50 thousand euros for implementation of their idea.
Detailed information about this contest is available on the website of Creative Europe Ukrainian Bureau.
By Aliona Dmukhovska