Radar Report 2023: Who funds music export development in Europe?


The search for new audiences and business opportunities for new and established European talent abroad is ultimately driven by the artists and their teams.

Illustration by: Lisa Sportel

By Virgo Sillamaa (Research Coordinator, EMEE)

Music export organisations are there to help artists succeed, whether by providing financial support, advice, access to broader professional networks, or promotion. Across Europe, there are vastly diverging circumstances in music ecosystems with regards to knowledge, networks and resources available – and these have been met with a really diverse landscape of organisations and practices. European Music Exporters Exchange (EMEE) recently released its first mapping of music export development in Europe – a report covering 29 music export organisations from 26 countries. The European Music Export Strategy provides an analytical framework to get a better overview of the many activities these organisations do and the report also outlines how they are governed and funded. 

European Music Export Strategy provides a 6-step development path to developing music export capacity in Europe, each with its own strategic goal. Step 1 is concerned with making relevant and up-to-date information and knowledge on music markets and industry trends available for all European music professionals to LEARN and make active use of it. Step 2 is about making sure artists, creators and entrepreneurs find a supportive environment to GROW their knowledge, skills, experience and capacity in every European country. Steps 3 and 4 are about making sure that artists, creators and music companies can easily CROSS European borders to present their music to audiences elsewhere in Europe and from there RISE to the global level, being competitive and successfully getting European music to be heard by music listeners across the world. These goals require support through sector level strategic development. Firstly by European music organisations developing long-term bridges and partnerships with non-EU partners through EXCHANGE of experiences, best practices and business contacts (step 5); and by MEASURING the international success of European talent through a well-organised system of music data collection, analysis and publication of research (step 6). It is easy to see how the ESNS Radar can become a key component of the latter.

Addressing these six steps requires a strategic and coordinated effort, linking the operational needs on the ground with long-term perspectives of policy making. The European music export organisations are crucial in creating this link. But how do these organisations work and who funds this work?

The European music export organisations represent a truly diverse set of approaches. Out of the 29 organisations, eight are public institutions (or partially), 15 are private non-profit associations and six are other types of private entities. Especially among the public institutions, music is commonly only one theme or department among other cultural fields; though there are also organisations focused solely on music (for example the Centre national de la musique (CNM) in France). 

Given the diversity of countries and regions in Europe, it is no surprise that the budgets the music export organisations can operate with range from more than one million euros (five organisations) to less than 100,000 euros (three organisations).

Complete financial information is not available for all organisations due to diverging confidentiality policies, but based on averages it becomes clear that public funding plays an important role in the funding mix: 63.5% of the funding (on average) comes from public sources and another 6.4% of European funding (on average) can be added to this. Another important source is the collective management organisations, contributing on average 18.2% to the income mix of the music export organisations. 

It is also important to note that more than 60% of the public funding mobilised comes from Ministries of Culture or related arm’s length mediaries, such as Arts Councils. In the case of regional organisations, such as Puglia Sounds, Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals or Institut d’Estudis Baleàrics, the funding cannot be systematically broken down to match policy fields. 

However, averages hide the wide range of different funding models. 6 music export organisations are 100% funded from public sources and 17 of those mapped account for more than 75% of their income from public sources. Where the public sources play less or no role, the collective management organisation funding becomes increasingly crucial.

It’s not possible to put an absolute figure of how much public, collective management organisations and other support the music export organisations in Europe mobilise for music export development. For the 26 countries the EMEE report covers, however, the ballpark figure is likely to be somewhere below 20 million euros; one-third of which is redistributed to the sector through grants. To be sure, there are other sources for export funding available directly for artists, professionals and music companies and these can collectively amount to much more. This will also be developed in the next EMEE report and a comprehensive recent study by On The Move and Music Export Poland provides valuable insight.

Through launching and developing the European Music Export Strategy, we now have a strategic framework for coordinated action that helps to engage the music ecosystem and policy makers across multiple levels.

In summary, given the breadth and depth of activities and resources provided by the music export organisations, the collective bill is modest and more resources, both public and private, could be engaged and put to good use. This is also why the Music Moves Europe initiative is so important for the music export development in Europe. On the one hand, the resources directly made available through programmes such as MusicAIRE and now LIVEMX provide additional opportunities. On the other, through launching and developing the European Music Export Strategy, we now have a strategic framework for coordinated action that helps to engage the music ecosystem and policy makers across multiple levels. This all to serve the aim that an artist, creator or a music entrepreneur should have the means and ecosystemic support to realise their full international potential regardless in which European country they are born or based in, and set out to achieve their vision.