Last week I had the great privilege of hosting a dinner for the organisation IMPALA, where we discussed the future of the music industry and copyright. IMPALA are an organisation that represents the independent music industry at the European level.
One of the highlights for me was presenting the IMPALA award for “European Independent Album of the Year” to Martin Mills, CEO of the Beggars Group. The award was in recognition of the Beggars’ artist Adele’s incredible success with her exceptional album “21”.
The thing that became very clear to me is how difficult a position the independent music industry is currently in. With the exception of acts such as Adele, independents have to work very hard for their artists with relatively little reward in comparison to the bigger labels. The fact is that less than 40% of the music played on European radio or downloaded in Europe is actually European. And only 5 out of every 100 artists in the top 100 are signed to independent labels.
This is a situation that is unlikely to improve if the current deal for Universal and Sony to acquire their rival EMI is allowed to go through by the Commission.
As a representative for London where the creative industries are the second largest employer after the financial sector, I know how important it is both culturally and economically to support genuine homegrown businesses such as the ones IMPALA represents. In the music industry, the independents are responsible for 80% of the innovation and 80% of the jobs. That is why it so important that politicians at the European and member state level listen to their concerns.