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Organisation and administration of the EU prize for popular and contemporary music - EAC/S26/2017
Deadline: 21 Apr 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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1.1. EU cultural prizes

The European Union prize for popular and contemporary music is organised under the culture sub-programme of the Creative Europe programme,2 and one of the four prizes that the EU supports in the field of culture (the others are for literature, architecture and cultural heritage).3

The aim of the prizes is to highlight excellence in a number of fields in order that artists, works or cultural and artistic achievements become known beyond national borders, thereby encouraging mobility and exchanges. They are distinctive in their focus (emerging architects/authors/musicians and breadth of cultural heritage activities) and strongly complement components of wider EU culture policy. They encourage the protection and promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity in the EU, mainly by showcasing high-quality examples and providing a platform for developing a shared vision of the roles of the relevant sectors.

The purpose of this call for proposals is to select an organisation or consortium to be in charge of organising and administering the EU prize for popular and contemporary music in 2019, 2020 and 2021.4



1.2. The prize and EU action in the field of music

This call for proposals is issued in the wider context of Creative Europe and the policy framework with relevance to the music sector. As far as possible, the prize should be conceived and implemented so as to complement and generate synergies with the various actions, projects and initiatives that the EU has recently taken and supported in the music field (see sections 1.2.1 and 1.2.2).

1.2.1. Creative Europe

The Creative Europe programme responds to challenges that the cultural and creative sectors face in terms of fragmentation, globalisation and the digital shift, shortage of data and lack of private investment.

The general objectives are to safeguard, develop and promote European cultural and linguistic diversity, promote European cultural heritage and strengthen the competitiveness of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors with a view to promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

In the culture sub-programme, the general objectives have been translated into the following priorities:

  1. a)  transnational mobility;

  2. b)  audience development; and

  3. c)  capacity-building for:

    • -  the digital shift;

    • -  new business models; and

    • -  training and education.

      Since the beginning of the programme (2014), a total of 70 projects of all types have been co-financed in the music sector for a total of approximately EUR 45 million. Examples of relevant projects can be found on the Creative Europe project results platform (

      1.2.2. ‘Music moves Europe’ preparatory action: boosting European music diversity and talent5

      In October 2017, the European Parliament adopted a preparatory action to be implemented by the Commission in 2018. Based on discussions with representatives of Europe’s music ecosystem since 2015, the action is aimed at addressing some of the main challenges identified in the sector:

  1. a)  offline and online distribution (e.g. increasing citizens’ access to music in all its diversity);

  2. b)  artist and repertoire development (inter alia boosting the mobility of artists and cross-border circulation of the European repertoire);

  3. c)  professionalisation and education (e.g. skills development and capacity-building for creators and SMEs to succeed in a highly competitive global market); and

  4. d)  the export of European music outside Europe.


The preparatory action will build on and further develop the existing, albeit very limited, support for music under Creative Europe. It is intended to test suitable action with a view to a possible future fully-fledged funding scheme for music in the next generation of EU programmes, which could provide more targeted support for European diversity and talent, and boost the competitiveness of the sector.



2.1. A new prize for a new mandate

Going by the name of ‘European border-breakers awards’ (EBBAs), the EU prize for popular and contemporary music has been supported by the EU Culture programme and subsequently by the Creative Europe programme since 2004.

Every year for 15 years, 10 up-and-coming acts have been recognised and rewarded for having broken borders and reached out to music fans outside their home countries with their first release.

The EU prize is uniquely placed to highlight and promote the diversity of the European repertoire, celebrate the international success of European and emerging talent, and reach out to new, particularly young, audiences with positive messages about European values.

However, there is potential for the prize to do more and better, notably in developing its contribution to the economy of the music industry and strengthening European identity, participatory democracy and creativity.

The prize should give appropriate answers to what emerging artists need, what music professionals look for and what music fans like.

The creation, production, distribution and consumption of music have fundamentally changed in the past decade. European music markets remain extremely fragmented. New distribution channels, new powerful digital players, new business models and new consumption patterns have emerged through online distribution (music streaming). Digitisation has brought not only opportunities of additional and tailor-made audience development, but also challenges in terms of how to monetise works or how to cope with illegal downloads and streams. Market imperfections relating to the digital shift force creators to adapt. On major streaming platforms, European content tends to be less present or visible than music from the United States, and thus difficult to find or access.

In view of this transformation of the music industry, the prize should be adapted, in particular to make the most of the digital services platforms. The new prize is intended not only to reward emerging artists but also to support their efforts to incubate, develop and accelerate their international career in the new music ecosystem.

2.2. General objective

The general objective of the prize is to support emerging talent and promote and celebrate the richness of the European repertoire.


2.3. Specific objectives

2.3.1. Specific objective 1: selecting emerging artists

In order to meet this specific objective, the successful organisation or consortium should develop a solid and reliable mechanism to select up-and-coming European acts who have the potential to:

  • -  achieve international success outside their home country, in Europe and beyond; and

  • -  represent the richness, creativity and quality of the European repertoire.

The selection process should rely on quantitative and qualitative criteria, i.e. analysed data and professional recommendations. The criteria should ensure geographical and, as far as possible, linguistic balance. They should also make use of new technologies and new approaches to creation, production, distribution and promotion, particularly in teaming up with European digital services platforms.

The aim of the process is to select 10 European up-and-coming music artists or bands. However, selecting more or less than 10 laureates is admissible, if duly justified in the proposal.

A steering committee, involving Commission representatives and an international jury, will be set up to monitor and validate the selection process. Proposals must include a detailed description of the functioning of this steering committee.

2.3.2. Specific objective 2: skilling and nurturing emerging talent
In order to meet this specific objective, the successful organisation or consortium should

provide prize-winners with a tailor-made business training programme, including at least:

  • -  access to music conferences, festivals, conventions and fairs;

  • -  learning and coaching sessions with music industry mentors; and

  • -  networking with key players from the global music community.

The training programme must touch on at least the following market segments:

- online distribution – in particular, content creation and monetisation (marketing, branding, audience development); and

- music export – in particular, opportunities to tour in Europe and beyond.
2.3.3. Specific objective 3: promoting and celebrating popular and contemporary

European repertoire

In order to meet this specific objective, the successful organisation or consortium should:

  • -  organise a high profile awards ceremony for the prize – this should showcase and promote new talent and European repertoire, and be associated with prestigious European music brands, labels, artists, festivals and/or venues; and

  • -  propose a name for the prize that includes at least the terms ‘Europe’ (or ‘European’), ‘music’ and ‘awards’, and does not duplicate the names of other existing awards.

In order to raise the visibility of the prize and the artists it supports, the organisation of side-events throughout the year, in addition to the ceremony, is highly encouraged.

In this regard, the successful organisation or consortium must:


  • strengthen and rejuvenate the image of the prize among artists, professionals, the media and the general public;
  • develop a b2c7 branding and communication strategy to increase media attention, and engage with social media influencers and music consumers;
  • ensure continued high visibility by engaging with different target groups throughout the year; and
  • develop networking and partnership activities with a view to ensuring the sustainable impact of the prize.



The Commission will support the prize through a framework partnership agreement (FPA) for a period of 36 months from the date of signature, subject to funds being made available by the budgetary authority on an annual basis. The first specific agreement for an annual grant will start with the preparatory work in 2018, for the 2019 prize.

The FPA will set out:

  • -  the conditions governing annual grants for an action, on the basis of a three-year strategic plan;

  • -  the roles and responsibilities of the Commission and the selected organisation(s) in implementing the partnership;

  • -  the agreed objectives;

  • -  the type of activity envisaged;

  • -  the procedure for concluding a specific agreement for an annual grant for an action; and

  • -  the parties’ general rights and obligations under the specific grant agreements.
    It will not constitute an obligation for the Commission to conclude specific agreements

    for an annual grant for an action.

    As part of the application for the FPA, the applicant must submit an overall work plan for its entire duration, which must comprise:

  • -  an overall description of activities and outputs for the entire period of the FPA;

  • -  a description of how the activities will be divided into annual work plans; and

  • -  a detailed work plan for the first year of the FPA (see section 4).

    Together with other information provided, the work plan will form the basis for awarding the FPA.




In order to ensure that the FPA activities get off to a timely start, a detailed work plan and budget8 are required for the first year (2019 prize), which may be subject to a

specific grant agreement concluded after signature of the FPA. The work plan for the first year should demonstrate how the applicant intends to implement the FPA work plan; it will be subject to a separate evaluation and award decision.

Subject to the availability of funds, the Commission will ask the successful organisation or consortium to provide detailed annual work plans and budgets in order to conclude specific agreements for an action grant for the two following years of the prize. The work plans for each following year will be assessed against the award criteria set out in this call (see section 11).

The conclusion of specific agreements for an action grant is subject to the Commission’s assessment of the detailed annual work plans and budgets, and to the availability of budgetary appropriations.



a) Publication of the call

February 2018

b) Deadline for submitting applications

April, 21st, 2018 - 12.00 pm

c) Evaluation period

April/May 2018

d) Information to applicants

May/June 2018

e) Signature of framework partnership agreement

June/July 2018

f) Signature of specific grant agreement

June/July 2018

g) Starting date of the action

June/July 2018



The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of this action through a specific grant agreement for the 2019 edition of the prize is estimated at 500.000 EUR.

The EU grant is limited to a maximum co-financing rate of 80 % of eligible costs. The appropriations for the subsequent years will be confirmed at a later stage.

Due to the specific and unique nature of the Prize, the Commission will only sign one partnership agreement under this call and will fund only one proposal for the purposes of this action.

The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.



Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 5 above.

Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 16), using the application form.

Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages.

Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.



 8.1. Eligible applicants

This call is open only to legal persons. The applicant(s) must have had a legal personality for at least 2 years on the date of the deadline for submission of applications and must be able to demonstrate their existence as a legal person.

In case the application is submitted by several entities working together (consortium), the legal entities must comply with the eligibility, non-exclusion and selection criteria set out in this call for proposals. All the legal entities forming the consortium must be identified in the application.

For the purpose of declaring eligible costs as specified under section 13.1, the entities composing the applicant shall be treated as affiliated entities.

Only applications from legal entities established in the EU Member States and in non-EU countries that participate in the Creative Europe programme are eligible. The updated list of non-EU countries that participate in the Creative Europe programme can be found at countries.pdf

Proposals from applicants in newly participating countries to the programme may be selected provided that, on the date of the award decision, agreements have been signed setting out the arrangements for the participation of those countries in the Creative Europe programme.

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;

  • -  consortium: in addition to the supporting documents referring to their legal status, consortium members will submit letters confirming their participation to the project.

    The following entities will be considered as non-eligible:

    • -  natural persons;

    • -  entities without legal personality.

For British applicants: please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the framework partnership agreement. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.16 of the framework partnership agreement.

8.2. Eligible activities

The eligible activities in relation to:


  • Organisation and awarding of a prize, including development and implementation of a selection mechanism and an award ceremony;
  • Communication and branding activities for the visibility of the Prize; Networking and partnership activities;
  • Promoting and developing emerging talent and their repertoire; Developing and building new audiences;
  • Raising visibility to EU’s values, helping increase citizens’ sense of identification with the EU;

Development of new business models including the use of innovative distribution models in order to increase the exposure of the artists and the visibility/accessibility of the repertoire.

8.3. Implementation period

As mentioned in sections 3 and 4 above, it is expected that the activities under this framework partnership agreement will start in 2018. The duration of the period of eligibility of costs of each specific grant agreement will be no longer than 12 months. No extension to the period of eligibility of costs beyond the maximum duration will be granted.

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



9.1. Exclusion

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

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

(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 law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;

(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 conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:


  1. fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
  2. entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;
  3. violating intellectual property rights;
  4. attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;
  5. attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

(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 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 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, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;

  3. (iii)  participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

  4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (v)  terrorist-related 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 forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(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;

(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.

(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to:

  1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, 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 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)  decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations;

  4. (iv)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union’s competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law.

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

9.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 9.1), it should 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 prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. 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 9.1.

9.3. 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 9.110;

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

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

    The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.



9.4. Supporting documents11

Applicants (and affiliated entities) must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in articles 106(1) and 107 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available as Annex 2.

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

(a) for mono beneficiary grants:

the applicant signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities

(b) for multi beneficiaries grants:

the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities



10.1. Financial capacity13

The financial capacity will be assessed based on the following methodology and its annexes:

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 on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

Grants with a pre-financing value of EUR 600 000 or less

For grants of this type, proof of financial capacity is constituted by a declaration on the honour by the grant applicant (see Annex 1 of the Application form).

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 analysis as described at point 4 of the above mentioned methodology (cf. Article 131(3) of the FR)

Moreover for grants exceeding EUR 60 000, entities falling into one of the high-risk categories mentioned at point 3.1 of the methodology must provide proof of their financial capacity and are required to undergo the financial analysis provided for in point 4 of the same methodology.

On the basis of the documents submitted, if the RAO considers the financial capacity to be weak, s/he may:

 request further information;
 decide not to give pre-financing;
 decide to give pre-financing paid in instalments;

 decide to give pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 13.6.2 below);

 where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries;


If the RAO considers the financial capacity to be insufficient s/he will reject the application.

10.2. Operational capacity14

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action.

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • -  Proven experience of minimum 5 years within the music sector;

  • -  Proven experience in organising events and communication activities at European and International level;

  • -  Proven experience of managing at least 2 high-level projects over the last 5 years, at European and/or International level;

  • -  Ability to communicate fluently in at least two EU languages including English (C1 level).

In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:

 curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation;

 the organisation’s activity reports;
 an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to the action to be carried out.

In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (consortium), as specified in section 8.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.



Eligible applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria and weightings:

A. Relevance and compliance with the objectives of the call (35 points)

This criterion will assess the relevance of the proposal, in particular its compliance with the specific objectives of the prize (see section 2.3), in particular:

  1. the nature and suitability of the proposed mechanism (process and criteria) for selecting the winners, with a view to ensuring a geographical spread of winners and developing the reputation and credibility of the prize in the music sector and among the general public;
  2. the nature and suitability of the strategy to address the use of, and partnership with, European digital services platforms;
  3. the nature and suitability of the proposed activities for the training programme;
  4. the nature and suitability of the proposals for the award ceremony, with a view to ensuring a high-quality, high-profile and accessible event;
  5. synergy with other EU actions in the music sector (see section 1.2); and
  6. the suitability of the proposed steering committee mechanism (see section 2.3.1).


This criterion will assess:

  1. the nature and quality of the proposed strategy for creating momentum and raising awareness and impact of the prize throughout the year, in particular the proposed activities to:
  2. o develop awareness and visibility of the prize among music professionals and the general public; and
  3. o address the use of, and partnership with, European digital services platforms, social media, specialised and mass-media; and
  4. the strength and suitability of the proposed name for the prize.


This criterion will assess:

  • the involvement and effective mobilisation of key stakeholders in the music value chain (notably European digital services platforms); and
  • the quality and reliability of cooperation with the music sector and other relevant sectors (in particular, those relevant to young people) through networking activities, with a view to achieving a multiplier effect.

Effectiveness of the proposed methodology (20 points)

This criterion will assess:

  • -  the quality of the work plan (including timetable and decision-making process) and the quality and reliability of the partnerships;

  • -  the appropriateness of the human resources allocation and the relevance of the experience of the staff involved to the tasks assigned to them; and

  • -  the relevance and allocation of the budget with regard to the planned activities.


An internal Commission evaluation committee will evaluate the applications and establish a ranked list of those scoring at least:

- 75 points in total; and

  • o 27 points for criterion A;
  • o 18 points for criterion B;
  • o 15 points for criterion C;
  • o 15 points for criterion D.


The Commission will use the award criteria in this section when selecting the successful applicant for establishing the partnership agreement and assessing the detailed annual work plans and budgets in order to conclude specific agreements for an action grant under the FPA.



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