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Developed in association with the International Artist Organisation (IAO), Midem’s first Artist Hub programme was a huge success. It was the place to be to discuss key trends impacting worldwide artists as well as opportunities and solutions for today’s evolving music business.

The Artist Hub hosted 14 sessions (including 3 workshops, 3 masterclass, showcases and cocktail party) on hot topics such as DIY in a digital era, live show marketing, music placement, the evolution of DJing, and more. In total, over 550 artists from all over the world came to get inspired by their peers and music execs.

These three days of intense discussions ended with the release of the official Featured Artist Declaration (FAD) by IAO.

Find out more about IAO, its mission and initiatives, in this exclusive interview of IAO’s Chairman Nacho Garcia Vega and Director Suzanne Combo.

> Could you introduce IAO and its mission?

International Artist Organisation (IAO) is the only truly legitimate international artist advocacy organisation, created by Artists for Artists, given the New Age of the “Artist-entrepreneur”.

IAO is a non-profit organisation based in Paris, founded in 2015, and regroups 13 national organisations representing the rights and interests of Featured Artists in the Music Industry (France, Spain, UK, Germany, Croatia, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Portugal but also from Canada) and still growing.

Artists now have direct access to market, thanks to digital opportunity. Moreover, labels are signing later, waiting for artists to develop their audience by themselves.

Artists have understood that the recorded music industry suffers from 1960s architecture which is creaking under the strain of new tech and business models. Treatment disparity of neighbouring rights in Europe has also allowed the erosion of protections for performers.

However, Artists were excluded from the debate in the early stages ‐ in part because we were not ready but also in part because it was extremely profitable not to have to pay us.

Yet, one thing is clear: Artists need to be an active part of the search for solutions.

For all those reasons, we decided to found our international organisation to give featured artists an international collective voice to lobby for.

  1. fair and balanced rights;
  2. a fair share of all value stemming from the artists’ works;
  3. more transparency through the value chain;
  4. a healthy music sector, and the development of cultural and social diversity;
  5. the well-being and a good mental health for artists in the music industry.

During the last 4 years, we’ve been invited to the EU Commission Copyright Roundtable, the Creative Europe working groups, many international conventions such as Midem, Reeperbahn, Canadian Music Week, Eurosonic, By:Larm, Music Tech fest, Tallin Music Week, and more…

> What are the results of your partnership with the first Artist Hub at Midem 2019?

The Artist Hub was a valuable experience for IAO at different levels: We got notoriety during our presence thanks to the explicit corporative visibility, by meeting with other representatives of the music sector, members of the media, and by gathering numerous artists from all over the world, wanting to know about the nature of our organisation, our activities, experiences as artists and challenges.

We shared useful information with DIY artists during our monographic panel and David Rowntree’s masterclass. One of our main goals was to spread our message through the Featured Artists Declaration (FAD). We proudly noticed how positively our FAD was appraised by the attendance of our meetings. Its content was even mentioned as a thorough proposal by Franck Riester, French Minister of Culture during his visit on the Artist Hub at Midem.

> What are some of the key issues at stake for artists in the upcoming months/years, as well as the emerging solutions, that IAO has identified?

In the upcoming months the key issues will be:

  • First, all IAO members will locally work on the transposition of the EU copyright directive by member states, especially from art 17 to 23 that concern performers’ online rights;
  • Second, the User Centric Payment System debate: Although we definitely need more data to be shared and analysed by all the concerned stakeholders, IAO believs it would be fairer and more transparent for artists, labels and users, to move from the actual market centric payment system, to a user centric one on the streaming platforms;
  • Lastly, we also want to address all the aspects of mental health issues in an industry that is both challenging and exploitative.

> What are the next steps/key dates for IAO?

Apart from the mentioned activity related to the implementation of the EU Directive at the national level, the members of IAO hold regular meetings that take place in parallel with some of the main European festivals and international conferences.

As in previous editions, it’s very likely that IAO will be present in the next by:Larm festival (Oslo).

IAO participates permanently in discussions regarding Featured Artists’ interests and is part of the recently constituted CCI (Creators and Cultural Industries Intergroup) created as a permanent channel for dialogue with those MEP’s involved on our sector.

As part of our aim to continue to grow as an organisation, IAO will have encounters with artists in countries where there is no national coalition of Featured Artists yet. Meetings in central Europe, the Baltic countries, and South and North America are on our 2020 agenda.


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About Author

Devon DeAngelo

Devon DeAngelo is Social Media Manager for Midem, as well as other Reed MIDEM events

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