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New report calls for major support for European creative industries, which can then play a key role in the post-COVID recovery

By | Published on Tuesday 26 January 2021


A new report commissioned by collecting society grouping GESAC and produced by EY argues that Europe’s cultural and creative industries have been among the hardest hit by the COVID crisis but, at the same time, have a key role to play in the recovery of each European nation once the pandemic is over. To that end, it argues, the European Union and individual EU states should seek to maximise their support of those industries.

GESAC brings together all the song right collecting societies of Europe. It partnered with various other trade groups representing the wider creative industries on this new report, including other music industry organisations like IMPALA and AEPO-ARTIS.

The report begins by setting out the importance of the cultural and creative industries to the European economy pre-COVID. In 2019, it says, those industries “represented 4.4% of EU GDP in terms of turnover, with annual revenues of 643 billion euros and a total added value of 253 billion euros. [They] were also one of Europe’s leading job providers, employing more than 7.6 million people, more than eight times the telecommunications industry”.

The cultural and creative sectors were also growing faster than the EU economy at large, the reports adds. Plus, “the creative economy also came out favourably in terms of technological innovation, gender diversity and employment of young people”.

But then COVID hit. According to EY, the cultural and creative industries have been worse hit by the pandemic than the tourism sector, “and only marginally less than the air transport industry”.

The cultural and creative industries “as a whole experienced losses of over 30% of their turnover for 2020 – a cumulated loss of 199 billion euros – with music and performing art sectors experiencing 75% and 90% losses respectively”.

However, the report says, the growth seen in the cultural and creative industries pre-COVID can return after the pandemic with the right kind of support now. And providing that support will enable those industries to help with Europe’s post-COVID revival, both economically and socially.

At the start of the report, European Parliament President David Sassoli notes in particular that the role of the cultural and creative industries in Europe’s post-COVID recovery goes beyond the economic impact.

“We must think of culture as not only a pivot for recovery but also the social cement of a post-COVID-19 world that needs to be rebuilt”, he writes.

“Art has a cathartic power that can accompany a post-pandemic society on the road to resilience”, he goes on. “Art is not an accessory; it is a viaticum. Art is not ‘political’; it is ‘poetic’ – a creative force that animates us and allows us to live together, to survive, individually and collectively”.

But what kid of support do these industries need right now? EY sets out three priorities.

First, “Provide massive public funding and promote private investment in cultural and creative businesses, organisations, entrepreneurs and creators – two indispensable levers to support and accelerate their recovery and transformation”.

Secondly, “Promote the EU’s diversified cultural offering by ensuring a solid legal framework to allow for the development of private investment in production and distribution, providing the necessary conditions for an adequate return on investment for businesses and guaranteeing appropriate income for creators”.

And finally, “Use the cultural and creative industries – and the multiplied power of their millions of individual and collective talents – as a major accelerator of social, societal and environmental transitions in Europe”.

Launching the report, Jean-Noël Tronc, President of GESAC and CEO of French collecting society SACEM, said this morning: “The cultural and creative industries are as dynamic as they are vulnerable, as essential as they are diverse, and fortunately, it’s not too late to take action”.

“In addition to massive funding”, he went on, “what’s needed is a solid legal framework that fosters investments and their recoupments while guaranteeing fair remuneration for creators and their business partners and, in this regard, the swift and effective implementation of the Copyright Directive is key”.

A delegation led by Jean-Michel Jarre is busy presenting the findings of the new report to EU commissioners today. He added: “Culture has become a scarce resource in today’s Europe, and we are all suffering because of it. At the same time, Europeans are experiencing the truly profound value of art and its ability to bring us together. This study reflects that reality, it puts numbers to the suffering and offers clear instructions as to the solution”.

You can download the full report here.