the .The World Music School Helsinki (WMS) took part of the EMX, “a new project, funded by the European Commission and implemented by a consortium of European music export offices and cultural institutions, aimed at finding new strategies to develop and promote European music in the world.” (source: https://www.europeanmusic.eu/).
It happened in Amsterdam from 19th to 20th October and our chairman, Pedro Aibéo, went there alongside a group of music professionals and exporters from Europe.
Our position, of the WMS, was clear: the strength of Europe is on the diversity, the local ancient traditions mirrored in the Architecture, Music, and food. Even though there are big players in Europe around music, such as Spotify and Genelec, what have these trends done to enhance the diversity of music of Europe, or most importantly, in our view, to the overall improvement of music literacy?
Should we be aiming to quality or quantity? On an age of green trends, we still see excitement about green washing processes such as the current massive tour of Coldplay where people are asked to ride bikes and use no plastic: total nonsense. In our view we should aim at hybrid events, local and online, smaller and with less environmental impact and with higher community engagement.
Are we aiming at diversity or profit? Business or governmental aid? Being online is already exporting music, but the most popular online tools are hegemonizing culture. For example, Spotify is increasingly eliminating the classification of music by genres, which in our view, leads to an increase of consumption of high scored big corporations’ titles, not on smaller independent releases.
But let us take the example of corporations such as Walt Disney. They built an empire based on community instead of product focused. Maybe EU should focus too on communities when talking of the export of music. That is our unique selling point, diversity and communities. Do we want to follow the big player’s trends where artists like Rihanna or footballers like Ronaldo earn more money from virtual tools such as Instagram than from the work on the ground in music or sport? Is this what we want for Europe’s music? Or can we use music to build up real communities and strengthen diversity?