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Co-operation of Small Music Venues
Deadline: Dec 16, 2019  

 Audiovisual Services
 Creative Industries
 Cultural Management
 Culture and Development
 Performing Arts
 Creative Europe
 Music Production

1.1. Overall EU policy context for culture

This call for proposals serves the implementation of the distinct activity “Co-operation of small music venues” within the context of the Preparatory action “Music Moves Europe: Boosting European music diversity and talent” in accordance with the Commission decision C (2019) 1819 of 12 March 2019 adopting the 2019 annual work programme for the implementation of Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions in the area of education, youth, sport and culture1.

The European Union's role in the culture area is specified in Article 167 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU. The activities in this field at EU level are defined by the multiannual Work Plan for Culture (2019-2022)2 of the Council and are framed in particular by theNew European Agenda for Culture adopted by the European Commission3, which aims to reinforce the role and position of culture in an increasingly globalised world.

In this context, the role of the European Commission (hereinafter: the Commission) is to help address common challenges, such as the impact of the digital shift, changing models of cultural governance, and the need to support the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors.

The Creative Europe Programme has served since 2014 as a consolidated framework programme in support of Europe's cultural and audio-visual sectors. It has supported the implementation of actions in line with the EU’s cultural policy. In the context of the preparations of the post 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the negotiations on the next Creative Europe programme have started4 with the aim to build on the existing Programme's achievements to date, and to scale up efforts to safeguard cultural diversity and strengthen competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors.

1.2. The music sector in Europe

Music constitutes an important pillar of European culture. Aside from its economic significance – it employs more people than film and generates more than 25bn EUR revenue annually – the music sector is also an essential component of Europe’s cultural diversity, social inclusiveness and soft power diplomacy and it brings positive changes to many levels of society.

Based on small and medium businesses with a strong potential for growth and job creation, the European music sector has been strongly influenced by the digital shift: new distribution channels, powerful digital players, innovative start-ups, business models and consumption patterns have emerged over the last decades.


The music industry is therefore changing and finds itself at the forefront of an unchartered territory, most certainly paving the way for the other content industries. The unstable music ecosystem calls for an increasing need to mobilise the sector as well as policy makers to face such new challenges and explore the related new opportunities. As actions and policy initiatives at national level often prove neither sufficient nor suitable to encompass the global nature of the industry and of the consumption schemes, there is a need and a demand for an EU intervention to support Europe's key assets in the music field: creativity, diversity and competiveness in a context of globalisation.

In 2019, the Preparatory action “Music Moves Europe: Boosting European music diversity and talent” should build on and complement the two calls for tender and the two calls for proposals that the Commission launched in May 2018, during the first year of its implementation. It should address the music sector's specific needs in the short and medium-term. With an increased budget of 3M euros, the 2019 Preparatory action offers an opportunity to develop initiatives on a larger scale than it was possible in 2018 and to explore ways of cooperation in different relevant areas for the music sector.

1.3. The Music Moves Europe Preparatory action

The Commission's legislative proposal for the next Creative Europe Programme includes the “sectorial support for music” as a new element for the benefit of the music sector, in addition to existing funding opportunities (i.e. cooperation projects, networks, platforms)5.

In general terms, such support would be directed towards European diversity and talent, the competitiveness of the European music sector as well as an increased access of citizens to music in all its diversity.

The Preparatory action “Music Moves Europe: Boosting European music diversity and talent” aims at paving the way towards such sectorial support. To this end, the implementation of the 2019 Preparatory action will follow a two-fold approach:

- to build on and develop further actions in the fields of "training" and "export";

- to implement and evaluate actions in new areas, i.e.: "small venues", "co-creation", "health effects", "music education".

The present call for proposals aims at promoting a sustainable live music distribution through cooperation between small- and medium sized music venues with the aim to stimulate innovative collaboration models and to enhance venues’ role and identity in the local community.


1.4. The “Co-operation of small music venues” call for proposals

A lively music club scene is a pre-requisite for music diversity. This call for proposals targets small music venues, which are essential for a healthy and diverse music ecosystem and important for the local communities and the music industry as a whole.

Small music venues in this call mean any indoor venue with a capacity up to 400, offering regular live music activities.

Music venues are important to the local communities and to the music industry. A well- functioning club scene in fact generates rich significant cultural, economic and social benefits:

  •   Small music venues boost creativity. The opportunity to perform live in music venues plays a crucial role in developing music careers and incubating talents. Live music nurtures creativity by providing scope to perform original music6. A place with a vibrant music community has a great potential to attract highly skilled young professionals.

  •   Small music venues contribute to the economic development of cities. Many musicians are entrepreneurs and music venues often work as innovation hubs. "A vibrant club scene brings values for cities through job creation, tourism development, city branding and artistic growth"7.

  •   Small music clubs deliver social benefits to the local communities. Many small music venues are deeply rooted and embedded in their local communities. The majority of the clubs manage social and educational activities, rehearsal spaces, support and projects for artists8. Individuals place high value on the social benefits derived from attendance at live music performances. Moreover, live music in venues provides unique opportunities for both performers and the audience to develop their social networks, fostering social engagement and connectedness and leading to enhanced community wellbeing9.

    Small music venues however encounter numerous difficulties that threaten their operation. These problems stem from the changing music consumption trends in the one hand, and the regulatory environment and urban development trends in the other hand. These negative trends result in a fall in the number of music venues, which represents a threat to maintaining a diverse club scene in Europe.10

 Regarding the regulatory environment, cities tend not to take the interests of clubs into account in urban design and planning and do not have strategies in place for the night-time economy. A recent study highlighted the many disparities in European


Deloitte Access Economy: The economic, social and cultural contribution of venue-based live music in Victoria Arts Victoria June 2011. ribution_of_venue-based_live_music_in_Victoria-2.pdf

World Intellectual Property Organisation, venues_data-2015_publication-January-2018.pdf
See footnote 6 above.

Between 2001 and 2011 for example, the number of clubs in the Netherlands fell by 38%. In Britain there were 3,144 clubs in 2005 but only 1,733 ten years later. sound regulations and confirmed the idea that most of these regulations are not adapted to the realities of the sector and they can threaten the diversity and liberties of the music venues, clubs as well as artistic diversity.11. The current trend is to consider music clubs always responsible, by default, for the noise nuisance generated around their premises12. Clubs are in fact often located in derelict urban areas, where their presence and the creative environment around them attract developers, who start investing in the area. As regeneration or gentrification goes on, the incoming new residents start complaining about the noise and clubs often needs to close down or relocate to a yet derelict area13.

The changing music consumption trends also represent a challenge to the small venues scene. The festival sector is booming as music fans search more and more for experience rather than the actual music offers. Fans are more willing to pay to attend few festivals rather than frequenting their local clubs on a more regular basis. This, together with the escalating talents’ costs and the fact that younger generations’ preferences are more and more song based than artist based, have led to more volatile audience and to an increase in one-time visitors and no-shows of audience at the concerts. Overall, these trends make it difficult for small venues to build a sustainable loyal fan base, which is key to the business’s survival. To bring one-time fans back, clubs need to seek for innovative event marketing strategies that target previous attendees, and experiment with strategies to make sure buyers will actually show up. This involves new ticketing strategies, as fans are less likely to seek out an event outside of their favourite sites and applications. Redirecting from an event site to a ticketing page for example results in losing sales14.

Small music venues struggle to remain competitive as they often lack the capacity of keep up with these ever faster changing trends and usually operate with a limited number of paid personnel and very often with little contact with other venues.

The present call for proposal aims at addressing these issues by promoting the cooperation between small music venues and a better collaboration with their respective local public authorities.



2.1. Objectives

In line with the Preparatory Action 2019, the general objective of this call is to promote sustainable live music distribution through increasing the music venues’ capacity to remain competitive in a fast changing market and regulatory environment. The call will support innovative and sustainable co-operation projects between small music venues, as well as between small music venues and public authorities with the aim to stimulate innovative collaboration models and to enhance venues’ role and identity in the local community.

A good example of supporting regulation can be found in the UK, where the introduction of the "Agent of change" principle into the legislation in 2018 strengthened the planning rules and supports the protection of independent venues under threat. According to this principle, the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change. This means that if an apartment block is built near an established live music venue, the investor of that block needs to pay for soundproofing.


The proposals should contribute to the general objective by covering at least one of the two following specific objectives:

  1. Cooperation between small music venues to increase their capacity to address social or economic challenges they face.

  2. Engaging in partnerships with the relevant local, regional or national authorities for the creation of an enabling environment for small music venues to maximise their social-economic contribution to the local communities.

2.2. Expected results

The Commission aims at selecting and supporting indicatively 15 co-operation projects between small music venues, as well as between small music venues and public authorities.

Lessons learnt from the funded projects will improve the sector's understanding on how to help maintaining a diverse European music club scene. These findings will in fact help design the EU’s future support for music in the context of the planned new Creative Europe programme post-2020, which supports European diversity and talent, the competitiveness of the sector as well as increased access of citizens to music in all its diversity.



(a) Publication of the call

2 August 2019

(b) Deadline for submitting applications


(c) Evaluation period

November 2019 – January 2020

(d) Information to applicants


(e) Signature of grant agreements




The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at EUR 600 000.

The maximum grant will be:

  •   EUR 70 000 for projects comprising of at least 4 project partners having their legal seats in at least 3 different countries.

  •   EUR 50 000 for projects comprising of at least 3 project partners having their legal seats in at least 2 different countries.

  •   EUR 30 000 for projects comprising 2 project partners.

  •   EUR 30.000 for projects, regardless the number of partners, where the project partners have their legal seats in the same country.


The maximum co-financing rate will be 90%.
The Commission expects to fund at least 13 proposals.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.



In order to be admissible, applications must be:

  •   sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3;

  •   submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form and electronic submission system available at; and

  •   drafted in one of the EU official languages, preferably in English.
    Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.



6.1. Eligible applicants

In order to be eligible, projects must be presented by applicants meeting the following criteria:

  • -  be a public or private organisation with legal personality. Natural persons are not eligible to apply for a grant under this call. Proposals may therefore be submitted by any of the following applicants:

    •   non-profit organisation (private or public);

    •   public authorities (national, regional, local);

    •   profit making entities

  • -  be a consortium of single entities from at least two different eligible countries, operating small music venue (up to 400 capacity), or a consortium made up of public or private entities, not necessarily from different eligible countries, of which at least one operates a music venue with a capacity up to 400.

    Entities affiliated to the beneficiary are not eligible to receive funding under this Call for proposals.

    Country of establishment

    Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:

  •   EU Member States;

  •   non-EU countries that are participating in the Creative Europe Programme Culture16


Consortium requirements

In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium composed of at least two legal entities.

  •   Single entities operating small music venues and established in different eligible countries; OR

  •   Public or private entities, of which at least one operates a small music venue with a capacity up to 400, not necessarily established in different eligible countries.

    Supporting documents

    In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:

  •   private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);

  •   public entity: copy of the resolution, decision or other official document establishing the public-law entity.

6.2. Eligible activities

The following types of activities are eligible under this call for proposals:

  •   Cooperation between small music venues, peer learning, exchange of experiences and good practices;

  •   Staff exchange between clubs in form of study visits, secondments, trainees;

  •   Development of competitive business strategies;

  •   Elaboration of night time economic strategies for cities for creating enabling environment for the sustained operation of music venues;

  •   Dialogue with the local communities as well as with the competent local authorities;

  •   PR campaigns to demonstrate the contribution of small music venues to the socio- economic development of the local communities.

  •   Communication and dissemination of projects results

    Implementation period

  •   Activities may not start before the signature of the grant agreement.

  •   By way of exception, activities may be carried out before the signature of the contract but in any case not before the submission of the grant application. The corresponding costs may be considered eligible provided that the applicant demonstrates the need to start the action earlier.

  •   The maximum duration of projects is 18 months.

    Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals will not be accepted.




7.1. Exclusion

The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

  1. (a)  the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under EU or national laws or regulations;

  2. (b)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the applicable law;

  3. (c)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility or selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

    2. (ii)  entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

    3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

    4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;

    5. (v)  attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

  4. (d)  it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

    2. (ii)  corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

    3. (iii)  conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. (v)  terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

    6. (vi)  child labour or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (e)  the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

  6. (f)  it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;

  7. (g)  It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

  8. (h)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

  9. (i)  for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:

    1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;

    2. (ii)  non-final judgments or non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;

    3. (iii)  facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

    4. (iv)  information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

    5. (v)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or

    6. (vi)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

7.2. Remedial measures17

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.4), it must indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

  1. (a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or

  2. (b)  has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.

Administrative sanctions (exclusion)18 may be imposed on applicants if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.4. Supporting documents19

Applicants must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals (Annex 2)

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:
(i) the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants; OR

(ii) the coordinator of the consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants; OR (iii) each applicant in the consortium signs a separate declaration in their own name.



8.1. Financial capacity21

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed based on the following methodology, which is further detailed in Annex 5a and 5b of the Call for proposals.

The applicant should provide the following documents as evidence of financial capacity application:

 a declaration on their honour (Annex 1 of this Call for proposals). However, in case of doubt and only for grants exceeding EUR 60 000, the assessment committee reserves the right to request supporting documents and to carry out a financial

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