Jobs, Growth and Europe’s Digital Future in the Creative and Cultural Sectors

The creative and cultural industries have a huge impact on the European economy, and are “one of the strategic industries we have in Europe,” explained European Commission official Antti Peltomäki at the Creativity Works! High Level Conference on the Creative and Cultural Sectors. Ideas Matters’ video highlights of the event posted below provide an overview of the public officials’ and private sector explanations of how this works in practice.

Mr Peltomäki, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s DG GROW, reported that these sectors, including film and television production, music, software, publishing and design, represent 11% of all private companies in Europe, provide work to 12 million people, and maintain 40% of the global market share in creative and cultural products and services.

Intellectual property protection is vital to these sectors, participants agreed. “Almost every business in the European Union depends on immaterial value. They depend on patents, they depend on designs, copyright, protected brands of the company,” said Dr. Nima Sanandaji, author of the Netopia report Immaterial Value Creation in Europe, launched at the event.

Private sector participants discussed how digitalisation and the resulting piracy has hurt these sectors, but expressed cautious optimism that things are looking up. Nick Yapp, President of the European Writers Council explained, “What digital has done is to make creativity much easier, but to make protection of what you’ve created and the marketing of what you’ve created much harder.”

Kees van Weijen, Chairman, Impala, and MD of PIAS Rough Trade Distribution Benelux reported that “Legitimate downloads are picking up. We as an industry together with our partners have seen startups, including a lot of local examples, establishing digital distribution and digital streaming platforms.”

Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, of the Music Managers Forum explained: “We are optimistic about streamers. Piracy has been a problem, but technology has helped provide some solutions to that problem… Streaming is something that people are signing up to and they are paying for. There are now 90 million paying subscribers. In Scandinavia the market is about 95% streaming — consuming music legally.”

European Parliament and Commission officials at the conference were united in their view of the economic and social importance of these sectors. Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament and Co-Chair of Creative and Cultural Industries Intergroup summarised, “Culture is a core of the European project.”

“The creative industry is much more than an economic driver. It is what makes Europe resonate globally,” said Pauline Rouch, Digital Single Market Advisor to European Commission President Juncker, “Artists and creators are our crown jewels. They bear our identity and they are part of our culture.”