European Commissioner Michel Barnier has pledged to build a better pan-European digital infrastructure and will consult with the music business in order to do so.
Speaking at Midem yesterday, Barnier said that while access to digital content has increased across the continent over the past few years “there are instances of restrictions which Europeans have to suffer.”
“The availability of music, and unavailability of some websites is still uneven between some member states,” he said. “The single market is still quite fragmented.
“Thirty percent of record sales around the world have taken place online and increased 8% last year. It’s incomprehensible that Europeans are still facing obstacles on the Internet that we’ve faced in the physical world for the last 50 years.”
Barnier illustrated the economic importance of music in Europe saying that 500 million consumers listening to two hours of music on average per day, contributing 6 billion Euros.
“Our vision of Europe can’t be constructed in an office in Brussels, it has to be built brick by brick out in the field,” he said. “These consultation procedures we’re launching aren’t artificial, it isn’t simple window dressing.”
The Licenses For Europe initiative was launched by the EU Commision last month with the aim of sparking dialogue between industry stakeholders by the end of 2013.