Thank you, Mr President,

Madam President of the Committee on Culture, Education and Communication, dear Catherine Morin-Desailly,

Mr Rapporteur, dear Jean-Raymond Hugonet,

Ladies and gentlemen senators,

 

It is a great pleasure for me to be here with you today to review this bill to establish the National Music Centre.

As you know, this is a project that has been close to my heart for a long time: in 2011, I participated in the first reflections on the subject, alongside Alain Chamfort, Daniel Colling, Marc Thonon and Didier Selles.

Unfortunately, our recommendations had not been followed, and the political choices made at the beginning of the previous five-year period had led to this project being put on hold.

But today, here we are.

Today, this project is finally coming to fruition.

The adoption of this law will allow the National Music Centre to see the light of day, from the 1ster next January.

This is an ambitious deadline.

We will hold it, building on the work done:

- By Roch-Olivier Maistre, first of all, whose report “Assembling Music, for a National Centre” was widely praised by music professionals;

- And by MPs Emilie Cariou and Pascal Bois. At the end of a wide-ranging consultation with all the actors, their preliminary report was submitted in January to the Prime Minister, who affirmed his wish to see this centre created on 1er january 2020.

These works converge very widely: they confirmed the need to create a «common house» for music.

Music is the first cultural practice of the French. It is democratic art par excellence; an art that allows, even more than others, to break down cultural and social barriers.

Because music has this universal that it speaks to each of us.

Because there is no pre-requisite to be moved by a melody.

Because there is no need to know the history of classical music to vibrate to the sound of Renaud Capuçon’s violin.

Because there is no need to understand Aya Nakamura’s words to be able to sing them.

Music is also a powerful lever of freedom, a key to emancipation.

Including in priority areas of city policy or isolated rural areas.

From NTM yesterday to PNL today, how many artists come from these neighborhoods that they were told they could never get out of?

From Madeon to Kungs, how many DJs have been revealed by posting remixes from their rooms on Soundcloud or Youtube?

Like so many artists, they prove that the music professionals of tomorrow are the passionate people of today.

In this regard, I want to recall the importance of amateur musical practices.

Mr Rapporteur, dear Jean-Raymond Hugonet: I know that you, like me, are very attached to this.

While the National Music Centre’s main goal is to support professionals in the sector, it will also be at the service of all music enthusiasts, particularly through its information missions.

Music is finally one of the country’s main cultural industries, with its economic dynamism and international influence.

The presence of many French artists on the stages of summer festivals around the world is a testament to this influence.

But music is also a complex and sometimes fragile ecosystem.

In the space of a few years, this industry has been profoundly transformed – this has not escaped you.

By the rise of digital; by the revolution of listening modes.

By the disc crisis, which she took with full force; by mass piracy.

In fact, between 2002 and 2015, recorded music lost 60% of its turnover.

Today, the industry seems to have weathered the crisis it had to go through.

Since 2016, it has returned to growth, mainly thanks to the growth of “streaming” – the minister in charge of the Francophonie cannot use another term, especially in this chamber.

However, we must be very careful.

The sector remains fragile in many ways.

Streaming can be a threat to musical diversity, with a risk of listening to a few of the most popular artists and genres; a risk reinforced by platform recommendation algorithms.

More broadly, the dominant position of some large platforms can weaken the musical ecosystem.

The rise of these new modes of distribution erases borders and increases international competition.

It is a great opportunity for the dissemination of French artists abroad; but it is also potentially a threat to the place of French and French musical creation in our country.

The musical performance has been remarkably dynamic in recent years, despite the infamous attacks it has had to endure, from Paris to Manchester. Here again, music has demonstrated its power of gathering and communion.

However, it is a sector that is also exposed to the risk of excessive concentration. It experienced a slowdown in activity last year, which everyone hopes will be purely cyclical.

Moreover, the distinction between live performance and recorded music is becoming less and less effective.

Actors are now conceiving their artistic and economic development in an increasingly integrated way, in so-called “360° strategies” that put the creator, whether an author or a performer, at the centre of the project.

These profound upheavals shattered the old divides.

It is time to draw the consequences.

It is time to streamline, adapt, and strengthen our tools to support, accompany, and observe the music industry.

It is time to bring them together in a common home.

That is the whole purpose of the National Music Centre.

It must be at the service of the entire musical sector, of all aesthetics.

The economic supports it will implement will be designed to promote cultural diversity and foster innovation.

It will place territorial and international dimensions at the heart of its action.

It will complement and amplify the daily musical activities of the regional cultural affairs departments of my Ministry, in close liaison with local and regional authorities.

It will also have an essential mission of observation, monitoring and foresight. The studies to be carried out under this heading will allow both:

- To assess the effectiveness of support mechanisms – I am thinking in particular of tax credits, which Parliament wanted to see better monitored during the budget discussion;

- And to shed light on the issues of sharing value, supporting the digital transition, and promoting musical diversity in the face of the phenomena of concentration.

These studies will thus be able to feed the reflections on the improvement of our regulatory mechanisms, which will remain the responsibility of the central administration.

In order to prepare the conditions for the establishment of the National Music Centre, I set up an operational committee at the end of March.

I have appointed Catherine Ruggeri, Inspector General of Cultural Affairs, as chair.

With her long experience in the cultural and musical field, her knowledge of administration, and her ability to take into account the positions of all the actors, she seemed to me to be the best person to lead this delicate mission.

The committee she chairs, which has been meeting every week for over a month now, is composed of the directors of the structures that will be federated within the NJC and the relevant departments of the Ministry of Culture. 

Based on the present draft law, this committee’s mission is to carry out all the legal, budgetary, administrative, real estate, IT and social projects that will lead to the creation of the NJC at the beginning of 2020.

I stress in particular the human dimension of the project.

I would like to pay particular attention to the employees of the various organizations that will be involved in the NJC and to the terms of their transfer.

The work of the committee is proceeding at a good pace, and I welcome that.

In particular, I am pleased to announce the launch by my services, in conjunction with the operational committee and collective management organizations, of two economic studies:

- One dedicated to artists,

- The other, music companies.

These studies will be a first step in the observation function of the NJC sector.

They will also enable it to base its future aid schemes on a robust knowledge of the market and its players, a prerequisite for their effectiveness.

The results of these studies should be known before the end of the year.

I also hoped, always in a spirit of consultation and acceptance, that stakeholders and professionals in the sector would be fully involved in these reflections.

Thus, an enlarged committee, including all the representatives of the sector, was created to exchange regularly with Catherine Ruggeri and the operational committee.

It met for the second time in June.

I know that the discussions were extremely rich and positive, particularly on the small bill that came out of the National Assembly.

It will meet for the third time on July 26, which should provide an opportunity to discuss the draft statutory decree of the National Music Centre, which will clarify the conditions of application of this law.

 

Ladies and gentlemen senators,

As I said, and I repeat, this project is close to my heart.

And he’s been near and dear to my heart.

You can count on me to put all my energy and all my will at the service of its realization.

I am at your side to defend the diversity of musical creation, that diversity that is so dear to us!

This project is a new impetus for the music industry.

This bill is new guarantees for its stakeholders.

It is a coherent and balanced text.

And I would like to sincerely thank all those with whom my ministry has been able to carry out fruitful work:

- These are the members of the Senate Committee on Culture, Education and Communication,

- It’s you, Madam Chair, dear Catherine Morin-Desailly.

- It is you, Mr. Rapporteur, dear Jean-Raymond Hugonet,

- Bruno Studer, Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Affairs of the National Assembly.

- Finally, Pascal Bois, the rapporteur of the bill to the National Assembly.

Many thanks to all.

I have followed your debates with great interest.

In particular, I would like to welcome several developments adopted in committee, which the Government fully supports.

You have continued – and rightly so – to broaden the field and enrich the missions assigned to the future NJC.

I am thinking of the full inclusion of varieties, including humour and cabaret, not only in the field of live entertainment but also in the field of phonographic recording. That’s a helpful clarification.

I am also very much in favour of the enrichments you have made in the NJC’s missions regarding environmental protection and sustainable development. It is essential for our future and for future generations. And these are concerns that must now irrigate and guide all our public policies.

The strengthening of the CNM’s powers with regard to the collection and dissemination of economic and statistical information appears to be fully consistent with its central observation dimension of the sector.

Finally, the express possibility for local and regional authorities to conclude contracts and establish partnerships with the NJC is aimed at strengthening its territorial dimension.

This is the wish of the Government, and I know that you are very attached to it.

In fact, the dynamic initiated by the State, the Regions and the CNV, through the sector contracts, is intended to continue and be amplified with the CNM.

Today’s public review should provide an opportunity to further improve the drafting of this text.

I am thinking in particular, dear Jean-Raymond Hugonet, of the amendment you have tabled to clarify the contours of the notion of creation, which is probably too vague and especially linked to the world of live entertainment.

Its replacement by those of writing, composition and interpretation makes it possible to refer to the well-established legal categories, dear to the heart of collective management organizations, authors, composers and performers.

The Government is therefore fully in favour of the adoption of this amendment.

Naturally, and your debates in committee have echoed this, the text we are discussing today is not intended to set out in detail all the rules of operation of the future NJC.

In particular, I have heard your interest, and rightly so, in governance and funding issues.

I realize these two issues are absolutely critical.

The NJC will not be built without a financial effort commensurate with the issues.

And the NJC will not be built without a governance that reconciles efficiency, agility and stakeholder involvement in the project..

But there is a time for everything:

- NJC funding will be clarified with the introduction of the 2020 Finance Bill;

- And its governance will be defined in the statutory decree being prepared.

On the issue of funding, first:

I have heard the concerns of some in the industry about continuity with the current system.

It is not desirable to rigidify the operation by a policy of signposting, but it is obvious that the current contributors to the Centre national de la chanson, des Variétés et du Jazz (CNV) must not see their support diminish.

More specifically on the issue of NVC reserves, it is essential that they be used within the current scope of the public establishment.

As for the governance of the NJC, which will be a public institution:

It will have to be tightened and ensure, in accordance with the recommendations of the parliamentary mission, a majority position in the State within the board of directors.

The association of representatives of the sector will be guaranteed by the presence of a professional committee.

The territories will be fully represented, whether on the board of directors or the professional council.

The amendment adopted in committee extending professional advice to representatives of public and not just private organisations is therefore a step in the right direction.

 

Ladies and gentlemen senators,

Union: this is what should preside over the project of the National Music Centre.

It prevailed in the National Assembly, since the bill was passed almost unanimously.

This is a sign of broad support, which goes beyond political divisions.

I’m glad you did.

And I have no doubt that the same union will prevail in this Chamber.

It is by confirming today this virtuous dynamic that you will reach – I hope – an agreement in the joint committee.

An agreement that will pave the way for a rapid enactment of this beautiful law.

An agreement that will pave the way for the resolute implementation of this beautiful project.

Thank you.