Only video games have resisted, which have even increased their revenues by 9% in the devastating 2020. The rest of the European cultural and creative industries have suffered a huge collapse since the pandemic hit. The most affected has been the performing arts, with 90% losses, followed by the musical, with 75%. The visual arts, architecture, advertising, books, press and audiovisual activities fell between 20% and 40% compared to 2019. In total, the losses of the cultural industries in 2020 are 30%, worse results even than the tourism industry and similar to that of air transport. The accumulated loss in the EU countries is 199,000 million euros.
These are the results of a study by the consulting firm EY (Ernst and Young), commissioned by the GESAC (European Group of Societies of Authors and Composers, where the Spanish SGAE is integrated). The report, Rebuilding Europe: the cultural and creative economy before and after covid-19, was presented this Tuesday at a press conference by videoconference for European media. “The year 2020 was dramatic for the CCI [Industrias Creativas y Culturales], both in Europe and in the rest of the world. Culture was the first to suspend most of its live and distribution activity, and will probably be the last to resume without restrictions, ”said Marc Lhermitte, Head of EY. The study underlines that “never before has Europe’s creative economy experienced such economic devastation, the effects of which will be felt over the next decade.”
The positive part of the report, they point out from GESAC, is that, before the arrival of covid-19, the cultural sector was a rising sector, which represented “4.4% of the GDP of the European Union, with income of 643,000 million euros ”. “It was also one of Europe’s leading job providers, employing more than 7.6 million people, more than eight times that of the telecommunications industry,” the report says. This is what those affected cling to to visualize a way out of the crisis with some optimism. “The creative sector should be central to Europe’s recovery efforts,” they say. And they recommend a three-pronged approach: finance, train and empower. In other words: “Massive public financing and the promotion of private investment, a solid legal framework to create the necessary conditions to revitalize the creative economy and safeguard its long-term growth; as well as to enhance the soft power of the CCIs and individual creative talent to promote social progress ”.
Culture as a solution
“Culture has become a scarce resource in Europe today, and we are all suffering because of it. At the same time, Europeans are experiencing the truly profound value of art and its ability to unite us. This study reflects that reality, puts numbers to those who suffer and offers clear instructions regarding the solution, ”said the famous French musician Jean-Michel Jarre, who attended the presentation as representative of the creators. And he added: “I am privileged, because I have a long career, but I am worried about the new generations. The leaders of the European Union have to do something fast. We cannot afford to lose 30% of jobs in culture ”.
The president of GESAC, Jean-Noël Tronc, pointed out that “it is not too late to act”, but he urged the governments and European institutions to take the necessary measures as soon as possible. He also regretted the suspension of the Glastonbury festival for the 2021 edition, and hoped that “there is no domino effect.”