Michel BARNIER: Bringing online music within the reach of all Europeans

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MIDEM 2013 – Conference “Music for everyone”

Cannes, 27 January 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you to all of you for responding to this joint invitation from MIDEM and the European Commission.

You have only to walk around MIDEM to realise the dynamism of the music sector and its importance for Europe.

Importance in the daily lives of Europeans, who spend an average of 2 hours per day listening to music. This represents 30 to 40 tracks per day.

Economic importance, since recorded music represents a market of 6 billion euros and many jobs in Europe. And many pioneering online services, such as Spotify, Deezer, Last.FM or 7digital, are European.

Important in terms of the diversity and cohesion of our continent. In this Union of 27 members (soon to be 28), music is a factor for discovering our mutual cultures as much as for unity. It is our common language.

Important, finally, for projecting Europe in the world. If our continent is seen as creative and remains attractive in spite of the crisis, it is also thanks to Mozart, the Beatles, Daft Punk or Adele!

Europe needs artists and the music industry. But artists and the music industry also need Europe.

This is in order to be able to rely on the single market and its 500 million consumers, who want to have access to the millions of titles available in Europe whenever they wish and wherever they are.

This is far from being the case today.

Europeans are often frustrated at not being able to access online the diversity of content offered in other Member States, even though they are prepared to pay for it.

There is no doubt that the online offer of music in Europe has improved considerably in the last years but there are still too many instances in which the choice of consumers is limited. European citizens are refused access to certain sites or are redirected to their national sites – where they exist.

Thus the availability of some of the most popular online music providers is still very uneven between Member States. How can it be, for example, that some of them are not available in Italy or Poland? And that only three out of the 20 most popular operators may be accessible from certain Member States?

But music lovers are not the only ones encountering difficulties.

  • I am thinking in particular of all those investing – often heavily – in identifying, producing and distributing new talents, and whose work is too often immediately accessible on illegal download sites.
  • I am thinking also of all those entrepreneurs wishing to offer innovative streaming-based services, social media or cloud services, who come up against the compartmentalisation of national markets. Here to read more.
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