New event spotlights new Euro talent

The European Commission, the EU's executive body, is to launch a music awards ceremony to promote up-and-coming European talent whose works have started to travel across boundaries in the European Union. The nine winners of the inaugural Border Breakers Awards will be unveiled Jan. 25 during the Midem trade show in Cannes, France, at a ceremony attended by French minister of culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon.

The awards recognize debut albums by those European acts who achieved the best sales outside their country of origin, during the November 27, 2002-November 26, 2003 period. Winners are based on data supplied by Billboard Information Group.

The Awards are organized and sponsored by the EC in collaboration with music-industry lobbying body the European Music Office (EMO), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), European indie labels assn Impala, European authors rights organization Gesac and international music publishers' organization ICMP/CIEM.

"I am convinced that the potential cultural and economic effects of increased music exports in Europe are huge," says Viviane Reding, the European commissioner in charge of education and culture. "Indeed, music is a fantastic tool to boost cultural dialogue and exchange. It is also a business where Europe could be more competitive. By encouraging the European dimension for musicians and works, Border Breakers Awards can contribute to both."

London-based EMI Music Continental Europe president/CEO Emmanuel de Buretel welcomes the creation of the prize. "It puts the limelight on new European talent," he tells Billboard.Biz.

The Border Breakers Awards will be added to a calendar that already includes the IFPI Platinum Awards, the IFPI-organized bi-annual awards show which recognizes artists whose sales in Europe have exceeded one million units. Brussels-based IFPI regional director for Europe Frances Moore says the two events are complementary. The next edition of the IFPI Platinum Awards will take place in 2005 in Brussels.