Covid-19’s impact on the circulation of emerging artists in Europe: insights from Liveurope

Since the launch of our platform in 2014, Liveurope has supported music venues in 15 countries to expand the European dimension of their programming. 

Season after season, the Liveurope venues have challenged themselves to book more emerging artists from around Europe and, thanks to funding from the Creative Europe programme, they are rewarded financially for these efforts in the form of progressive bonuses.

The results of the platform speak for themselves. Before joining Liveurope, our venues booked on average 22 concerts with emerging artists per year. Fast forward to season 2018-2019, and this number has increased to 36 concerts. This represents a 63% increase in the number of young artists getting the opportunity to play in some of Europe’s most iconic stages. 

 

The positive impact of Liveurope on the music ecosystem has been recognised by the European Union, the platform's main supporter. As EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel put it during her intervention at the Liveurope Online Festival “Liveurope is a key partner for the European Commission”. In one of the latest studies published under the Music Moves Europe preparatory action (Analysis of market trends and gaps in funding needs for the music sector), Liveurope is highlighted as one of the key initiatives tackling the concentration issue and the decrease in diversity on European live events. The study goes on to recommend an increase in the financing volumes for initiatives like ours (read our summary of the study).

These graphs exemplify the achievements of the platform throughout the past years:

        

The impact of Covid-19

But this success story has been put at halt following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Back in March, our venues had to close their doors to the public as a consequence of the pandemic. Some of them haven’t been able to reopen since. Others that were operating under limited capacity from summer had to recently close their doors once again (find an update on each of our venues here). 

Huge financial loses and working with ever-changing and unpredictable conditions are just some of many the challenges venues are facing today. 

When it comes to artistic mobility, the average number of concerts with young talent organised per venue went down from 36 (last season pre-corona) to 18. This represents a 47%  decrease.

See also: graph with the breakdown on the number of artists touring per nationality

The future of European diversity is at stake

Once the crisis has passed, the circulation of talents within Europe can only return to pre-covid-19 levels if action is taken.

Music venues have always played a crucial role in the development of artists’ international careers by providing them with the means to connect with new audiences. To continue helping young talents reach new heights, they will need public support more than ever.

Booking an emerging artist from abroad often represents a significant financial risk to a venue as the income generated via ticket sales might not be enough to cover the production costs (in particular travel and accommodation costs). Liveurope provides a crucial safety net to the venues to allow them to take the risk of introducing new artists on their stages. As their financial situation has become fragile after months of closure or operating under limited capacity, this support will be instrumental in allowing venues to continue bringing the diversity of European music to their audiences. 

Future EU funding schemes for the cultural sector should therefore have a strong focus on boosting the mobility of artists and recognise the unique role that venues can take in this process. The very future of European cultural diversity depends on it.  

Photo: Ghost Hunt + Violeta Azevedo concert at the Musicbox takeover of São Luiz. ©Ana Viotti.