Promotion of the Polish music abroad – the programme
By most measures, modern Polish music does not travel well. Polish artists’ sales overseas are so minimal that the statistics are barely worth examination. Furthermore, only a few genres – classical, through Chopin, or jazz – can claim a relatively small piece of global music markets. Because our music is not considered an export product, it hasn’t got any significance in the overall volume of Polish foreign trade.
Chance for success
However, this can change. There are many examples to the contrary in Europe, above all in the Baltic states. Even a country with a small number of citizens could be very successful on the international music market. For example Sweden with its 10 million people, or Finland with 5 million, or Latvia with barely 2 million citizens. Their experiences show that music is both an important export product and a cultural ‘business card’ that creates links to many other fields.
So if the Scandinavians can succeed, so can the Poles. There must be among nearly 40 million Poles enough musical composers, artists, and producers who could enjoy an equal international success if they received similar government backing as enjoyed by their Swedish and Finnish music friends. But so far the authorities here have not committed to a program specifically devoted to promoting and selling Polish music abroad.
Music Export Poland
That gap should be filled by a completely new project called Music Export Poland (MExP, musicexportpoland.org). Its goal will be to radically enlarge the level of distribution and promotion of our music, artists and recordings on foreign markets.
It should be made possible thanks to the combined efforts of
the Society of Authors ZAiKS which represents the creators, and the ZPAV
dealing on behalf of music publishers; with significant support coming from the
Ministry for Culture & National Heritage. Both artists’ organizations are
by definition active in the promotion and promulgation of their members’
repertoire in Poland and abroad. Foreign examples show that precisely such
organizations are well designed to form successful music export bureaus – if
supported by the governmental bodies responsible for cultural policy.
The activity of the MExP bureau should have a direct impact
on increasing the amount of money the artists receive – directly or through
their societies – from overseas sales. Ultimately, we believe, musical export
could become a significant element of Polish foreign trade.
What must be done
To make the MExP project successful there must be some immediate steps:
1. Diagnosis of the situation. Lack of all the serious export data means that the MExP bureau has to gather and analyse all possible data regarding the scale & structure of the foreign sales of our music. Next, it will necessary to state what prevents composers, artists and producers from expanding outside Poland, as well as find what should be improved in the existing system of governmental and nongovernmental support for arts.
2. Establishing of official relations with similar European institutions with a proven successful record in promoting international sales of their music. This would help us to learn from their experiences with regard to methods of operating, raising funds for their activities (and evaluating the effectiveness of all spending), and the option of possible further cooperation.
3. Learn the possibilities of promoting Polish music at events outside Poland; and assess the costs and conditions of participating in such ventures. We must explore the most economical use of future MExP funds used for the assistance to Polish creators, artists, music producers and other participants in foreign festivals, fairs, showcases, and other promotional events.
4. Contact and cooperate with foreign PR agencies specializing in music promotion
5. Start educational and promotional activity among Polish musicians and music industry professionals. They should learn about the export possibilities, copyright law, methods of selling and marketing their wares, especially online.
6. Prepare and publish a database with characteristics of Polish creators, artists, producers, publishers, managers and repertoire. It should also contain the data of foreign subjects potentially interested in starting a cooperation with Polish partners and in acquiring the rights to Polish music. Such a database could be created thanks to the information already possessed by ZAiKS and ZPAV.
Start of the MExP program is planned for
the beginning of 2018 with a three-year initial budget. Partners of the
undertaking include I and III channels of the Polish Radio, TVP, and other
Polish and foreign media.
What we want to achieve
When realized, the project should achieve significant results. The most important will be:
- a study of the Polish music market in the context of its present and future export potential
- creation of the database devoted to Polish creators, authors, publishers, and their products which could easily become export goods
- a network of foreign contacts necessary for making Polish music a vital export element.
Additionally, the project should bring a wider cultural impact; raising the professional status of the participants in the Polish music market; presenting Poland as the important future actor in music industry promotional events abroad; and making Polish artists hungry for international expansion – which consequently should, bring a greater audience and financial gains.