A common project of the Swiss Coalition for Cultural Diversity and the Swiss Commission for UNESCO
Musical diversity offers us manifold aesthetic experiences of our cultural heritage, makes cultural differences audible, enables creativity and innovation through exchange and dialogue. It is revealed in a lavish range of offerings of concerts, festivals and clubs, in the stylistic breadth of musical productions that are accessible as files on physical recorded media and through the media, as well as in the variety of musical activities of laymen. To promote and to maintain this diversity requires a favourable environment.
Ten music experts representing different regions of Switzerland, musical genres and fields of activity have discussed musical diversity and drawn up recommendations for its support.
Music is everywhere in Switzerland. According to surveys by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, a fifth of the Swiss population plays an instrument while a sixth is active as singers. These figures clearly show the importance that is attributed to practicing music in Switzerland. This strong amateur musical life is reflected in the steadily growing musical activities of children and adolescents. The musical education in schools, the instrumental and singing lessons at music schools as well as other musical education is sometimes insufficient to meet the demand for a wide range of musical education.
In conjunction with other artistic disciplines, musical education should be at the centre of education should teach children to participate in cultural activities as well as integrate them into society. Music is primarily a value in itself and is its own justification; it is also a means of education as it can help children and adolescents to apply, discover and develop themselves. The teaching of music at school with a wide stylistic breadth and through a variety of activities is far from being implemented everywhere today. To meet the need for such a broad musical education a sufficient number of hours needs to be devoted to music teaching in curricula, adolescents should be guided in active musical listening, trained to have a critical approach to the acoustic environment and have their awareness of musical diversity raised. Only when children receive a broad musical education from an early age can they be interested in music and cultural diversity as adults and actively contribute to a varied musical life.
Particular importance should be given to the music universities. These institutions train teachers to pass musical diversity in a qualified and committed manner to pupils in schools. Furthermore, music universities provide and maintain a trans-cultural musical dialogue through their involvement in international networks of educational and cultural institutions.
The following objectives should be implemented urgently:
Through modern communication technologies a great variety of sounds in digital format has become available and exchangeable. Music, however, lives as a social event and as a form of dialogue. In order to make direct musical encounters possible, locally based music players need greater recognition and effective support.
The direction in which support efforts can be aimed, can be seen in recent initiatives involving Swiss folk music. Rooted in local and regional traditions and characterized by a high number of active amateur ensembles, it has steadily changed over the course of its history, through mutual exchange and productive appropriation of other musical genres, for example the Austrian yodelling traditions in the early 20th Century, or the Irish folk music in the 1970s. It is difficult to assert a repertoire of folk music against widely promoted popular music. However, the recent willingness to support initiatives from the folk music scenes financially has led to an upturn in various regional traditions. Folk music could enter into new relationships with other musical genres and expand its repertoire through the publication of ethnographic music collections. Activities could be revived at centres of excellence for folk music and a folk music degree course set up in a music university.
Looking at the situation of all musical genres, the amount of funding currently available does not match the value of rich musical activities as they affect the quality of life of the population or the attractiveness of a region. Public spending on culture in the musical field is insufficient to uphold the principle of diversity. Among other things, one of the problems for the support of musical diversity is that Swiss cultural funding has to be applied in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity; niche products have a difficult time finding counterparts when responsibilities are pushed to and fro.
Frequently, various musical genres have their own needs for funding. The differences arise according to a genre's specific socio-cultural and creative contexts and the elements in the music production chain up to reception. For example, folk music ensembles often perform in regionally limited areas and in individual concerts, so that the folk music scene cannot profit from existing tour funding mechanisms. Equally, for hip-hop, while there is adequate funding for record production, the support of the arrangement and organization of concerts, that is crucial for the success nowadays, is not enough. Contemporary classical music is contiguous to a tradition of critical compositional work which musicians must reflect in the creation of their new works. Similarly, various musical activities require specific legal and business knowledge, so advice and evaluations could be effective supporting measures.
Demographic change requires increased communication between young and older generations, between urban and rural populations and between native populations and immigrant groups. Attending music concerts is, according to a Federal survey on cultural behaviour of 2008, one of the most frequent cultural activities in Switzerland; the population even wishes to increase this activity. Music concerts offer many possibilities for social integration that recognizes cultural differences. The condition is that music productions from all genres, and not just the heavily promoted mainstream titles, should gain a hearing.
The group of experts recommends:
The media is of the utmost importance for the music scene: the radio broadcasts, the broadcast of video clips, television appearances or announcements and the coverage in print and online media are essential in order to ensure the perception of the variety on offer. The media’s musical selection and critical involvement with music in all its diversity affects music consumption and social negotiations of cultural values.
The musical spectrum, which the media deal with and make audible, today reflects the diversity of local and regional music cultures only to a small degree. Often, the media promote the differentiation in sectorial offerings and focus on top-selling foreign titles. However, the success of the Swiss internet platform www.mx3.ch for popular music and www.vxm.ch for folk music prove demonstrates that there is also a demand for Swiss music in its regional differences; these offer musicians promotional opportunities, include listeners in the selection processes of radio programmes and are very popular.
The interest in Swiss music is evident also in its increasing presence on the radio. Since the adoption of the Charter of Swiss Music (2004) between Swiss musicians and the SRG SSR idée suisse (Swiss public broadcasting corporation), the public radio stations have noticeably increased the share of Swiss music. The Charter stipulates that the contracting parties lay down annual target values for the broadcasting of Swiss music productions, check a sample of the music broadcast and discuss measures to increase the presence of Swiss music in their programs. The following conclusions can be drawn from the recent work of the organ responsible for the implementation of the Charter: quota rules for Swiss music may restrict the freedom of programming, but, equally, the music selection of programme directors may not be well adapted to the demands of listeners.
The group of experts recommends the following measures:
A flowering of musical diversity requires that local musical traditions, niche musical productions, musical expressions of minority cultures and young musicians be given opportunities in the marketplace. This requires an appropriate legal basis for musical and music industry activities.
A basic condition for a continuous and diverse musical scene of high quality is social security for musicians, organizers and promoters: they are frequently in contractual relationships based on project contracts and several part-time jobs so that the laws relating to social security cannot always be applied.
Likewise, music and artistic creators must be assured of remuneration for their creative work. For many, the remuneration from copyright and related rights represents an important part of their income. However, the enforcement of these rights is increasingly being called into question. In addition, the European Union recently proposed the liberalization of the territorial jurisdiction of collecting societies in the field of promising distribution channels (cable, satellite, online) in the interests of the large music industry corporations. Smaller collecting societies of the size of SUISA (the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers in Switzerland) would come under increasing pressure and consequently an economically significant proportion of the repertoire should be withdrawn in favour of large individual companies. Thus the administrative costs for a smaller turnover, consisting of niche production repertoire, would be increased and have to be covered at the expense of authors. Negative effects would result for the vast majority of musicians who are not among the big earners in the music business, but contribute to a high diversity of musical activities.
The transaction traffic for usage rights that the SUISA operates with similar foreign institutions, as well as the international trade statistics for the music industry show that more foreign music is heard in Switzerland than Swiss music is heard abroad. The current account deficit could be interpreted as an indication of a musically open Switzerland. However, as this is primarily dominated by cultural imports from the Anglo-American regions, this openness should be seen as closing out the diversity of music cultures from other regions. And it is an indicator that the music industry in Switzerland urgently needs support in order for the diversity of local musical productions to have a wider dissemination at home and abroad.
The group of experts recommends:
To successfully promote musical diversity will require competent advice to be given to by players that are anchored within the creative music scene.
Therefore, the group of experts recommends:
The whole population will benefit from these measures. An interesting and lively music scene is characterized by different genres of music, a repertoire of great diversity within the genre, by the diversity of local musical traditions and the musical presence of various social groups, of different generations and social strata, professional and amateur musicians, of linguistically distinct communities.
Original text: German
Marc-Antoine Camp (Commissioner). Ethnomusicologist. Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Music. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Cavalli. SUISA, member services and distribution, Executive Vice President. email@example.com
Silvia Delorenzi-Schenkel (Commissioner). Collaborator of Swiss National Sound Archives, President of the Society for Traditional Music in Switzerland, Member of the Swiss Council of Music. firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul-Emmanuel Meyrat. Dialect Hip-Hop Collective “Chlyklass”; Legal Assistant SUISA. email@example.com
Hubert Reidy. Musician, musicologist, music teacher. firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Rostetter. CEO Brambus Records & Verlag AG, Muehlehorn. email@example.com
Barbara Schmitt. Sociologist. International Volunteers Exchange. firstname.lastname@example.org
Werner Schmitt. Cellist. Former Director of the Conservatory of Bern, Senior Consultant for Culture and Education of the Res Publica Consulting AG Bern; head of Swiss MUS-E project. email@example.com
Urs Schnell. SUISA Foundation Director. firstname.lastname@example.org
Marco Zappa. Songwriter, musician, music teacher, music producer. email@example.com