The European Talent Exchange Program, an initiative designed to give cross-border exposure to emerging local talent on the pan-European live-music circuit, is about to lose the current financial assis

The European Talent Exchange Program, an initiative designed to give cross-border exposure to emerging local talent on the pan-European live-music circuit, is about to lose the current financial assistance.

A statement sent by its organizers disclosed that "2006 will be the last year of European Union funding for the ETEP. We should all be aware and concerned as the artists developed by these methods are tomorrow's acts and lifeblood for the future of international touring and concert industry."

The ETEP, however, is optimistic that the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, will renew the financing agreement. And funds will still come from local music organizations such as BUMA Cultuur -- which was formed from the merger of performing/mechanical rights society BUMA Stemra and Dutch-music promotion organization Conamus earlier this year.

But until the EC's funding renewal is confirmed, the ETEP's organizers are looking for alternative sources of cash. "We're confident that the EC will continue with the funding. But meanwhile, we're always looking for finance and sponsorship," Ruud Berends, the ETEP's Hilversum-based project manager, tells Billboard.biz. He describes the EC's contribution as "substantial."

ETEP's organizers include the Noorderslag Foundation, founder of the Netherlands' annual Eurosonic and Noorderslag music festivals, the International Music Managers Forum and the European Broadcasting Union.

The end of the existing EU contributions this year comes at a time when the three-year-old ETEP is boasting a record number of participating outdoor music festivals this summer. The 150 festivals include Benicassim in Spain, the historical Roskilde in Denmark, Scotland's T in the Park and Rock Am Ring in Germany.

The ETEP launched in 2003 with an objective to create more opportunities for up-and-coming artists and counter the dominance of Anglo-American repertoire in the region's music sales.

Each partner in the ETEP network selects artists from which the promoters may choose from showcases at the Eurosonic/Noorderslag Festival in January.

Several chart-toppers who have benefited from the ETEP program include the U.K.'s Franz Ferdinand, the Soundtrack of Our Lives from Sweden, and Berlin-based dancehall/reggae act Seeed.

This year, Berends is tipping British act the Editors, Finland's Disco Ensemble and Germany's Wir Sind Helden as beneficiaries of the spotlight offered by the ETEP.