Creative content is at the heart of European cultural diversity
Creative goods are an important aspect of our daily lives. Most people spend time every day reading, going to the cinema, listening to music, watching TV shows or sport, or playing video games. Yet creative content is more than everyday entertainment. It communicates cultural and social values and creates shared experiences.
Culture is at Europe’s heart. It is intertwined with and reflects our linguistic and social diversity, a true source of strength. The creative and cultural sectors mirror Europe’s pluralism, making them incredibly open and dynamic. Their influence is growing at this time of radical technological, social, cultural and economic change. They unite high and popular culture, technology and economics. As post-industrial economies and societies evolve, images, words, sounds and ideas have increasingly become the drivers of innovation, jobs and prosperity. New cultures are created, new stories told and movements born. Creators are an integral part of Europe’s cultural and economic fabric, and are central to its development.
The creative and cultural sectors represent an economic investment in Europe’s future, contributing to our global competitiveness. They represent 3% of total employment, and are a source of jobs for young people at a time when other industries lack this potential. And just as diversity is a source of strength for Europe, our internal diversity reinforces our creativity. This is reflected in the way that our sectors have weathered the current economic crisis, emerging mostly unscathed with above average growth rates. Our resilience is largely based on the EU’s current intellectual property framework, and we should not underestimate the current threats to that framework.
Our competitive advantage depends on an innovative cycle of creative talent, artistic expression, entrepreneurship and reward. Thousands of artists, inventors, storytellers, innovators, technicians, designers and entrepreneurs stand behind the films, music, books, television programmes, sports matches and video games we all enjoy. They also make up the 1.4 million small and medium-sized businesses generating and distributing creative content all over Europe. SMEs make up an above average share of creative content companies, with around 50% of overall employment being attributed to micro-enterprises of 1-3 employees. Often, these smaller companies cooperate with larger players across organisational and sectoral lines and provide the creative impulses on which our sectors together thrive. The ability to co-create and collaborate in flexible professional networks – two essential capabilities needed in modern knowledge economies – lies at the heart of our industries.
Our sectors also inspire new generations by giving them professional role models and goals to aspire to. Creative people’s popularity online speaks for itself: 9 out of 10 of the most ‘liked’ people on Facebook today are artists, and 7 of the top 10 most followed people on Twitter are artists too. The majority of content is created, produced and marketed for specific cultural and linguistic markets. Europe’s great diversity inspires its creators, artists and thinkers to create new stories, or reinterpret old ones. It fuels books, films, music and other creations in all genres. The creative sectors help keep culture alive, ensuring it will evolve for generations to come by nurturing new talents and promoting established ones. As Swiss writer and intellectual Denis de Rougemont once said: “Culture demands a paradoxical pact: diversity must be the principle of unity, differences must be highlighted, not in order to divide but in order to enrich culture even further.” To ensure that Europe’s cultural richness can continue to develop, the right conditions must be in place so that everyone in the creative value chain can thrive.