BRUSSELS, Belgium (VIP-NEWS) — At the beginning of November The European Music Office (EMO) went into administration. Shortly after the former long time secretary general Jean-Francois Michel passed away in July 2011, the organisation encountered financial problems with one project. Before Michel resigned, he appointed Dieter Gorny, the head of the Bundesverband Musikindustrie, the German IFPI branch, as his successor.
In the beginning the EMO was funded by various copyright collection societies and was, alongside the IFPI branch in Brussels, one of the very few lobby organisations looking after the interests of the music industry in the European capitol. Founded in 1998, EMO also quickly took other national music organisations on board when the particular copyright collection societies started to strengthen their own lobbying efforts. Lately EMO active members had mainly been various music export offices.
Apart from the financial failure of a project named Diversidat, EMO-founder Michel, among others, founded, together with Nikolaus van der Pas, a high ranked official in the European Commission, the European Borders Breaker Award, so far the only project for popular music instigated by the European Commission. EMO also was one of the main partners in ETEP, taking care of administrative matters, and was probably an essential force behind the applications for ETEP in terms of the financial grants by the EU for this project.
For those who remember the very few obituaries for Jean-Francois Michel, the news of the demise of the EMO is almost as sad as the ones for the forst secretary general. The relevance of EMO has often been underestimated, the need for such an office being widely ignored at almost every level of the live music sector and even within the record industry, though they at least have, with I.F.P.I. or Impala, their own lobbying bodies in Brussels.
Yes – EMO staff members Jean-Marc Leclerc, Fabien Miclet or Eric Sasson, just to name a few, worked very hard but unfortunately did not gain the recognition or the applause for what they have achieved or at least aimed to obtain.
No – Brussels and the European Union is no paradise for the live music community. No, EMO also weren’t really advocates for this sector of the music industry, but nevertheless this office was the one and only source that at least occasionally with E.T.E.P. and the European Tour Support Program caused a little bit of awareness among the staff of the European Commission or politicians within the European Parliament. These people often behave like modern administrative aristocrats, highly un-democratic autocrats who became experts in downsizing democracy, purely devoted to installing a new system of ‘lobby-cracy’ in order to replace democracy.
So, the spirit of Europeans devoted to music loses a valuable voice in Brussels and it is more than sad that the majority of the concert community or its corporate cowboys is not able to realize that with the insolvency of EMO something has passed away that was a bit more important than most of them could imagine….
Previous EMO-members said that attempts will be undertaken at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2014 to set up a new organisation to fill the gap caused by the departure of EMO.