MCV attended the seminar today Jazz musicians all over Europe unite! at Jazzahead, where the results of a new major survey were presented.
When the stages are closed - clubs, concert halls and festivals - the jazz actors have been hit particularly hard:
1) The working conditions for practitioners are very fragile, often without any forms of employment at the bottom, which makes safety nets very weak.
2) Musicians are generally dependent on working internationally, which has been impossible during the pandemic.
3) In addition, there are generally relatively low levels of cultural support for the organizers.
Despite the fact that the governments of many countries have pushed for crisis support, many musicians are still very hard hit.
A European collaboration between fourteen jazz music collecting organizations (including the Association of Swedish Jazz Musicians and Swedish Jazz) took shape in May 2020. After monthly meetings, a common cause was made in December last year - a European survey was conducted and the results and analysis of this survey were in focus. at today's seminar.
Those who presented the survey were Urs Johnen from the German Jazzunion, Fleurine Mehldau from BIM, the Dutch jazz organization and Pedro Cravinho from the Portuguese jazz network (as seen in the picture above).
The survey in fast (scary) figures:
1500 musicians from 23 countries have responded.
80% of the respondents are men.
73% are musicians who play live, 24% are also teachers.
72% are freelancers, 16% employees (eg big bands or radio orchestras).
82% are full-time musicians, 12% part-time musicians.
91% have had less than 20 gigs in the year 2020, most just a few.
53% assume that they will stop being professional musicians and change jobs after the pandemic.
Only 38% believe that they will continue with their profession as musicians.
(As soon as we find a link to the survey, we will publish it here!)
Invited to the seminar were Barbara Gessler, Head of the EU Creative Europe Cultural Program, European Commission.
Gessler said that a new program, which will be aimed at supporting the music sector, will be launched within a month (something that will take over after the Music Moves Europe program).
Gessler expressed that it is good and appreciated by the EU that jazz musicians organize themselves in Europe. Even more important, however, is to be able to speak with one voice for the entire musical life, according to Gessler. She says that both the Commission and Parliament are very aware that the music sector is particularly hard hit during the pandemic.
Also participated Franz Romeo, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee, also a musician.
He believes that the survey shows that the pandemic has hit the music sector enormously and that the situation can almost be described as a disaster.
The representatives of the organizations told the EU that it is fantastic with these large crisis support from both nations and the EU, but that the survey clearly shows that there is relatively little support that reaches the most vulnerable: freelancers.
How can the EU support musicians and help improve conditions?
Romeo recalled the direct funds that still exist for the music sector (Music Moves Europe) but noted that the large funds go to the countries' own institutions and authorities that are much closer to the practitioners.
Gessler recalled that the EU today provides support for networks, such as Europe Jazz Network and the importance of gathering broadly. She also referred to FIA, the European Association of Musicians' Associations.
In conclusion, the seminar organizers encouraged all musicians to join and get involved in their jazz organization.