By Emmanuel Legrand
In this second part, I outline some of the findings of the report ‘Music Crossing Borders: Monitoring the cross-border circulation of European music repertoire within the European Union’ produced on behalf of the European Music Office and Eurosonic Noordeslag. (The report can be downloaded in full in pdf format at EMO’s web site).
Since we could not monitor the whole of Europe, we selected a sample of EU countries that we thought would give a good balance between North and South, small and big States, and with different languages. We opeted not to analyse the UK market since a lot of data is already available elsewhere. However, monitoring UK repertoire in these six countries and on a pan-European level, as well as repertoire from other sources is the purpose of the whole study.
The six countries chosen were:
n The Netherlands
n + Pan-European perspective (based on Nielsen’s pan-European charts)
Since Nielsen monitors radio plays throughout Europe, from some 1,000 radio stations, and tracks legal downloads sales, we elected to use their data for the study.
The data considered for the study includes:
n Top 200 Airplay, which identifies the most played songs on European radio stations based on the number of plays (Plays) per tracks and on the overall audience reached (Points)
n Top 200 Digital, which lists the most downloaded track sales.
Both sets of charts were available on a country-by-country and on a pan-European level.
The period considered is a full year that runs from 1st September 2010 to the 31st August 2011.
A few words of caution: The Top 200 charts highlight of the most played songs from a sample of European station and the most downloaded tracks (tracks and not full albums!), so it does not reflect the whole market since it does not monitor what happens below, which is probably where a lot of activity with European artists is taking place, but it gives a good indication of what consumers have been exposed to or bought, or at least the top crop.
The other aspect is that Nielsen’s pan-European charts are aggregates that add up the results achieved by tracks in each country. The cumulative process tends to favour US acts who chart in all countries.
Each track was tagged with:
n Nationality of the artist (artists are identified by their country of birth: K’naan is from Somalia even though his career was started in Canada, Rihanna is from Barbados, Gotye is from Belgium although his career is from Australia, etc…)
n Language of the song
n Label the artist is signed to (or the local licensee)
In each country, and on pan-European, level I have calculated the following shares:
n % of repertoire by origin (local, EU, UK, US, RoW)
n % by language
n % by record company
Share of EU repertoire in Airplay and Digital charts
This table highlights the shares of EU repertoire in each of the six countries surveyed in Airplay and Digital. It was obtained by adding all Airplay Plays, Airplay Points and Digital Downloads garnered by artists from the European Union and matching them with the total number of Plays, Points and Downloads. The same process was used with the pan-European Top 200 Airplay and Digital charts.
In all six countries surveyed the share of EU repertoire exceeds the 50% mark in Airplay (except for Germany, at 45%) and falls slightly off the mark with Downloads, except for Sweden and the Netherlands.
This shows a rather healthy level of penetration of EU repertoire throughout the countries surveyed. The lower shares for Digital could be explained by the fact that US acts have in general been topping the Digital charts and enjoying bigger volumes of digital sales.
Sweden has the highest Digital share of all countries surveyed. Poland’s 20-point difference between the Airplay and the Digital share could be explained by the fact that an important legal digital platform is missing from Nielsen’s sample.
On a pan-European level, the Airplay share of EU repertoire at 36% (Plays) and 37.7% (Points), and that of Digital (39%) are significantly below the shares obtained in each individual country in both fields. This can be explained by the nature of the aggregate pan-European charts. The system tends to favour tracks that are played or sell across the board, which is usually the case with US repertoire.
Overall, EU repertoire seems to fare quite well in the countries surveyed but once local and UK repertoires are taken out of the equation in each country, the share of EU repertoire is rather low (see table below).
This table shows that EU repertoire other than local and British barely reaches 10% in countries like France, Germany and the Netherlands in Airplay and is closer to 5% in Sweden. For Downloads that share is between 9 and 15%, with Sweden at 7.9%.
EU repertoire crossing borders
This table shows the number of artists from EU countries crossing borders in Airplay or Digital in any of the six countries surveyed and in the pan-European charts.
n Only 15 out of the 27 European Union countries manage to secure a presence in Airplay and Digital charts in six EU countries surveyed. That number is even lower when considering that Polish artists only score in Poland, the Czech Republic has only one entry (in Poland) and Austria only has one artist in the listings (in Germany).
n So most European repertoire in the various countries comes from 12 countries, of which only eight have artists featured in all six surveyed countries and in the pan-European charts: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK.
n Only four countries are present in both the Airplay and the Digital charts of all the countries surveyed: Belgium, France, Sweden and the UK. On a pan-European level, two countries have entries in Airplay only (Denmark, Italy) and ten in both Airplay and Digital (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK).
n Denmark, Spain and Finland are relatively well positioned in most countries, albeit with only a few acts. But Italy is virtually absent from most listings.
nMost of Europe’s Eastern and Baltic countries are absent from the listings (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia). Ditto for ‘smaller’ EU countries (Luxemburg, Cyprus, Malta). Greece also fails to appear in any of the listings.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: UK
n British music enjoys a “second to the US” status in all six countries surveyed and on a pan-European basis. The UK remains the EU’s largest single talent contributor, providing the biggest bulk of artists crossing borders, with 86 different artists, which is as much as the five next EU countries combined. UK acts and covers a wide diversity of music genres, from mainstream pop to R&B, alternative and dance.
|Jessie J's album 'Who Are You'|
n However, the table shows that although artists such as Adele – 2011’s best selling act – and a few others such as Coldplay, Taio Cruz, Jessie J and James Blunt feature in all the countries surveyed, the bulk of UK artists have patchy successes throughout Europe. In the class of 2010/11, new artists with a pan-European footprint include Taio Cruz, Tinie Tempah, Jessie J and Eliza Doolittle.
n Establishing new artists in Europe remains a challenge for the UK music industry.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: France
nWith 26 artists, France comes as a distant second in the number of acts crossing borders.
n Dance DJ David Guetta scores up to eight different tracks in the various charts and leads a pack that includes many electronica/dance acts (Bob Sinclar, Martin Solveig).
n But the presence of proponents of traditional French chanson like ZaZ and R&B with Ben L’Oncle Soul can also be noted. Some artists only cross to neighbouring French-speaking countries: Christophe Mae, Jenifer, etc.
n Poland and Spain look like the two countries most open to French repertoire.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Germany
n With 20 artists, comes third in number of acts crossing borders, but very few of these acts cross the borders of more than two or three countries.
n New names (former Eurovision winner Lena Meyer-Landrut, singer R.I.O., R&B singer Oceana, dance act Laserkraft 3D), established acts (dance trio Cascada, alt rockers Guano Apes) and oldies (Alphaville, Boney M, Modern Talking, Fools Garden) constitute the mix of Germany’s success.
n However, no act manages to cross over to more than two countries surveyed, with Poland and the Netherlands are the most open to German repertoire, with nine and four artists charting, respectively. France only welcomes one German act, and so does Sweden.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Sweden
n Sweden confirms its position as one of the leading exporters of music in Europe with a series of successes, mainly in the Dance genre. It manages to score a total of 14 artists in the various charts surveyed.
n The main Swedish artists with pan-European traction are newcomers Swedish House Mafia, winners of the EBBA 2012. Their debut album ‘Until One’ charted in several EU countries, providing to hit singles, ‘One’ and ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’.
n Swedish DJ Tim Berg, under his own name or the alias Avicii, scored a pan-European hit in 2010 with ‘Seek Romance’ and renewed the feat in 2011 with ‘Fade Into Darkness’.
n Meanwhile, R&B singer/songwriter of Congolese ascendance, Mohombi, has several hit singles from his debut album ‘MoveMean’.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Romania
n Overall, Romania places seven artists in the various listings, with at least two of them enjoying pan-European success.
n Pop act Alexandra Stan scored one of the biggest hits of 2010 with ‘Mr. Saxobeat’, which charted in many EU countries, topping the German and Italian singles charts.
n Pop/Dance phenomenon Inna, whose 2009 single ‘Hot’ and debut album of the same name were both pan-European hits, scored particularly high in France’s charts.
n Producer Edward Maya, whose track ‘Stereo Love’ was one of the biggest hits of 2009, is still in the listings.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Ireland
n U2 continues to be Ireland’s biggest music export with followers in France and Spain.
n Polish radio stations have a continued interest in The Cranberries and Ronan Keating, although they do not have new material.
n A new generation of Irish acts is bubbling under, exemplified by EBBA 2009 winners The Script, who continue their European campaign with success, and twin brothers Jedward, who find fans in Germany and Sweden.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Spain
n It seems that Spain’s vibrant music scene experiences problems to export its music.
n Only two nationals feature in the various charts surveyed, and one of them, Enrique Iglesias, manages his career from the United States where is signed to Universal Music.
n The other act is Catalan DJ/Producer Sak Noel, who enjoyed a true pan-European hit with his track ‘Loca People’, released in 2011, which went to No.1 in the UK charts.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Belgium:
n As a regular supplier of European repertoire, Belgium scores a few successes outside its borders with previous European Border Breakers Award winners Stromae and Milow, who are present in all the charts of the countries surveyed, and with this year’s EBBA winner Selah Sue
n The Netherlands, France and Poland appear to be the EU countries most open to Belgian repertoire.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Denmark:
n Cross-border acts include pop artists: Rasmus Seebach, Mads Langer, Medina; dance: Safri Duo; and metal: Volbeat.
n But the success of these artists is patchy and none of them scores in all countries.
n Danish repertoire tends to fare better in neighbouring countries such as Sweden or Germany.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: The Netherlands:
n Loona (‘Vamos A La Playa’), and metal band Within Temptation enjoy success throughout Europe.
n But the real breakthrough in recent years for Dutch music has been the rise of Caro Emerald, an EBBA 2011 winner, who has been building a following throughout Europe, especially in Germany.
n The winner of the EBBA 2012, DJ and producer Afrojack is among the seven acts from the Netherlands featured in the various listings surveyed.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Finland:
n Main exports remain metal acts (Apocalyptica, The Rasmus and its frontman Lauri Ylonen) and rockers Sunrise Avenue, which are charting in four of the six countries surveyed.
n The most open country to Finish repertoire appears to be Poland.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Czech Republic:
n Only one artist from the Czech Republic features in the overview: Pop singer-songwriter Ewa Farna, who is from the Polish minority in the Czech Republic. Her albums in Czech have been re-recorded in Polish and released in Poland.
Analysis by repertoire from EU countries: Italy:
n Italy continues to rely heavily of the dance scene for exports, as exemplified this year with the likes of Alex Gaudino and Ricky L.
EU countries without any artists crossing borders are:
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia.
n The study documents a significant lack of cross-border success within the EU for the European repertoire. It is as if all markets were operating within in a fragmented Europe and in a non-synchronised manner for European repertoire, whereas artists from the US can claim a single market for their music.
n European repertoire fares quite well on a national level with local repertoire but the number of European artists capable of transforming a local success into a cross-border success is quite limited.
n The only music that crosses borders without limitations is US-based repertoire.
n Even UK repertoire has difficulties crossing borders, as few British artists enjoy pan-European success.
n Countries from Southern and Eastern/Central Europe are less likely to have cross-border successes than countries from Northern Europe.
n However, Romania is becoming a significant source of repertoire.
n In each European country, English-language repertoire heavily dominates the airwaves and digital downloads, with shares of local language music varying by country, but never over 25%.
n European music genres that cross borders are usually in the Dance and Pop fields.
n US acts that fare well on a pan-European basis are in the R&B, Hip-Hop, Dance and Pop field.
n Rock, as a music genre, is almost non-existent in the European listings.
n European artists do not enjoy the same level playing field as Anglo-American repertoire, which has traditionally been enjoying sales and radio airplay on a pan-European scale;
n It makes it more difficult for European artists and their professional entourage to build pan-European strategies both for recordings and live tours.
n It limits the potential stream of revenues that artists could expect from operating in the EU.