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January 2012



New study shows that European repertoire struggles to cross borders within the EU

The 120-page report is based on airplay and digital data supplied by global research and measurement company Nielsen. It analyses the presence of various repertoires – including music from the European Union – in the Top 200 most played songs and most downloaded tracks in France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden, and on a pan-European basis.

The main findings are the following:

  • European repertoire fares quite well on a national level with local repertoire but the number of European artists capable of transforming a local success into a cross-borders success is quite limited.
  • The only music that crosses borders without limitations is US-based repertoire.
  • Even UK repertoire has difficulties crossing borders, as few British artists have pan-European success (with the exception of Adele).
  • Countries from Southern and Eastern/Central Europe are less likely to have cross-borders successes than countries from Northern Europe. However, Romania is becoming a significant source of repertoire.
  • In each European country, English-language repertoire heavily dominates the airwaves and digital downloads, with shares of local language music varying by country, but never over 25%.
  • European music genres that cross borders are usually in the Dance and Pop fields. US acts that fare well on a pan-European basis are in the R&B, Hip-Hop, Dance and Pop field.
  • Rock, as a music genre, is almost non-existent in the European listings.
  • The study was underwritten by Brussels-based organisation European Music Office, in partnership with Dutch festival/conference Eurosonic Noorderslag with the support of Nielsen, the global measurement and analytics company.

It aimed at monitoring and analysing the cross-borders flows of repertoire within the EU in 2011 in order to identify patterns and suggest policies to address deficiencies in the single music market.

The study confirms the issues that the European Commission is trying to address through its current Culture Programme and its proposal for a future Creative Europe Programme.

This report has been commissioned, financed and published by the European Music Office and Eurosonic Noorderslag. It will be available on the website of the European Music Office.

Download the study at