November 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Euroradio Music Exchange! The EBU celebrated this musical milestone with a media lunchtime talk in Brussels on 30 November 2017, gathering a dynamic panel of experts to discuss the importance of live music experience and the role of the EBU music exchanges.
Following a brief introduction of the individual speakers by Nicola Frank, EBU Head of European Affairs, a moving cello intermezzo by Benjamin Glorieux showed just how powerful live music is. Glorieux’ version of Bach offered the perfect prelude to what would become a memorable and intimate discussion.
Graham Dixon, EBU Head of Radio, underscored that it is exactly this distinctive experience of enjoying live music that reflects the mission of the Euroradio Music Exchange. Music brings people together, even more so if we work together. This was the vision of Hans Keller and Oskar Adler, who came up with the idea of Euroradio Music Exchange. Graham Dixon explained that “the EBU community is united through the obligation, joy and duty to ensure that public service media remains universal, to guarantee that this very unique experience is available to every single household.”
"Music lies at the heart of radio", said Pascale Labrie, EBU Head of Music, EBU Music Exchanges, History and Ambitions. She showed that music constitutes 45% of radio output in Europe. EBU radio broadcasters cover 3000 concerts each year, reflecting Europe’s rich musical diversity. From summer festivals and opera house performances to events like Tomorrowland: these exchanges help broadcasters to connect with cross-genre audiences of all ages.
Barbara Gessler, Head of the “Creative Europe” Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, explained that the Commission actively supports music projects through the “Music Moves Europe”- initiative and is intent of launching a Preparatory Action on Music (2018-2020) at the end of January 2018.
The story of Eurosonic and how this platform has emerged as a symbol of musical talent discovery was told by Hervé Riesen, Chair of the Eurosonic Group and Deputy Director for channels and contents at Radio France. He highlighted that many great careers, like those of Coldplay and Stromae, actually started at Eurosonic. Eurosonic supports 31 bands and is broadcasted by 29 European radio stations. The next edition will take place from 17 to 20 January in Groningen, the Netherlands.
It is all about the experience. This was underscored by Laetitia Huberti, Director of Musiq’3 at the RTBF. She highlighted the radio user’s perspective and the way the Euroradio allows for the broad public to enjoy live music, and explained how Musiq’3 broadcasts twelve concerts per week, which includes high quality music played at the most extraordinary venues around the world. And this is not just available via radio; these concerts are broadcasted on TV as well.
Finally, Graham Dixon highlighted that the digital revolution is impacting the ways in which content is distributed. He sees the great opportunities engendered by digital radio to reach even more people. “If things go well, there will be more international concerts in the future”. This is what Hans Keller, one of the founding fathers of the Euroradio Music Exchange, said after the very first international Concert of the EBU on 27 November 2017. It remains true today.