Creators and COVID-19 crisis: GESAC call to action

Cre­ators and COVID-19 cri­sis: GESAC calls on Euro­pean deci­sion-mak­ers to take urgent action

Euro­pean cul­ture and Euro­pean cre­ators are fac­ing unprece­dent­ed neg­a­tive impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

Cre­ators who rely on the pub­lic per­for­mance of their work have seen present and future earn­ings wiped out as lock­downs take their toll on the econ­o­my. Along­side the clo­sure of bars, clubs and oth­er venues, the can­cel­la­tion of events like con­certs and fes­ti­vals has wors­ened the sit­u­a­tion for those whose liveli­hoods depend on per­for­mance and roy­al­ty rev­enues.

To fur­ther exac­er­bate mat­ters, the pro­duc­tion of many films, series and oth­er cul­tur­al projects has been post­poned or stopped alto­geth­er, mean­ing cre­ators may face eco­nom­ic hard­ship well into 2021.

The pre­car­i­ous work arrange­ments of cre­ators makes them par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble to eco­nom­ic down­turn. Unable to ben­e­fit from the safe­ty net afford­ed by larg­er com­pa­nies, ded­i­cat­ed funds on offer for small and medi­um-sized enter­pris­es or unem­ploy­ment pay­ments for employ­ees, cre­ators are at risk of being for­got­ten.

As organ­i­sa­tions made by cre­ators for cre­ators, col­lec­tive man­age­ment organ­i­sa­tions (CMOs) are pro­vid­ing assis­tance beyond the pro­fes­sion­al, help­ing cre­ators who have been deeply affect­ed on a per­son­al lev­el by this cri­sis.

All of our 33 mem­ber soci­eties are tak­ing action to help their mem­bers; pro­vid­ing emer­gency funds, loans and advance pay­ments. They are also adapt­ing their social and cul­tur­al funds — ded­i­cat­ed parts of their rev­enue[1] used for cul­tur­al and social pur­pos­es —  to address the urgent prob­lems fac­ing music authors, com­posers and edi­tors.

How­ev­er, much broad­er and more sus­tain­able Euro­pean ini­tia­tives must be imple­ment­ed by the EU insti­tu­tions and nation­al gov­ern­ments to sup­port the entire sec­tor. A strong and unit­ed Euro­pean response that pays homage to the very foun­da­tions of the Union and its core val­ues is need­ed.

The cre­ative com­mu­ni­ty, of which GESAC rep­re­sents over 1 mil­lion cre­ators, rec­om­mends that:

  • The Com­mis­sion specif­i­cal­ly men­tions the impor­tance of sup­port­ing the cul­tur­al sec­tor when pro­vid­ing funds to Mem­ber States and makes sure that the pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion of cre­ators is tak­en into account in its pol­i­cy regard­ing COVID-19;
  • Mem­ber States make sure that part of the emer­gency funds pro­vid­ed by the EU is avail­able to cre­ators and the cul­tur­al sec­tor;
  • Co-leg­is­la­tors swift­ly adopt the Mul­ti­an­nu­al Finan­cial Frame­work that sets the future fund­ing for cul­ture in Europe, with the nec­es­sary increase for our sec­tors, as pro­posed by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

The pow­er of cul­ture, music and art to con­nect peo­ple dur­ing dif­fi­cult times has become ever more appar­ent on social media. Viral videos have shown how singing and peform­ing togeth­er can pro­vide whole neigh­bour­hoods a brief respite from the sit­u­a­tion, and bring peo­ple togeth­er at a time when they are being asked to remain apart.

Cre­ators and the cul­tur­al sec­tor are essen­tial aspects of the Euro­pean project; core to cre­at­ing a “Europe unit­ed in diver­si­ty”. But this pan­dem­ic has shown just how frag­ile our abil­i­ty to pro­mote and per­form cul­tur­al and cre­ative acts can be.

On behalf of the Euro­pean com­mu­ni­ty of cre­ators, we ask that Euro­pean pol­i­cy-mak­ers take swift and deci­sive action to pro­tect Euro­pean cre­ativ­i­ty and cul­ture.

About GESAC

The Euro­pean Group­ing of Soci­eties of Authors and Com­posers (GESAC) com­pris­es 33 authors’ soci­eties from all over Europe. Togeth­er, we rep­re­sent over one mil­lion cre­ators and right­sh­old­ers – from musi­cians to writ­ers, visu­al artists to film direc­tors and many more, in the areas of musi­cal, audio­vi­su­al, visu­al arts, and lit­er­ary and dra­mat­ic works.

[1] in 2018 those funds from GESAC mem­bers soci­eties amount­ed in total to more than three times the EU bud­get for cul­ture, exclud­ing media