The Spanish music industry celebrated the European Day of Music with unprecedented enthusiasm and participation, with lines of fans forming at 9am for concerts beginning at noon and lasting until midnight in four cities - Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Ourense.

Although it was essentially a celebration of the indie music scene, the Sounds of Spain industry platform, the culture ministry, and public music radio network Radio 3, were among public and private institutions that collaborated.

The celebration of June 21 as European Day of Music began some years ago in France, but Spain has embraced the event with increasing participation, especially in the past six years.

Some 15,000 people attended the Matadero complex in Madrid, where concerts were held on three stages throughout the day. Artists included Vetusta Morla, Christina Rosenvinge, Russian Red, the Sunday Drivers and Cat People.

The FNAC entertainment retail chain was open as usual; FNAC said in a note that music sales had increased 12% so far in June. The most sold CDs at FNAC in Madrid? Jonas Brothers, Amy McDonald, and Spanish artists Pereza, the Sunday Drivers, and Miguel Poveda, said FNAC.

Sounds From Spain, which includes labels body Promusicae, the SGAE collecting society, the industry ministry's institute of foreign trade ICEX, the culture ministry's institute of scenic arts and music INAEM, and the indie labels body UFI, organised a promo stand at Madrid's Matadero event.

The stand, next to others including Heineken Music and the FIB Benicassim international music festival held in July, wanted to explain Sound From Spain's efforts to internationalize Spanish music at global music trade fairs such as MIDEM, SXSW, Popkomm and Womex.

Radio 3, which broadcast live performances from all four cities through the day and evening, was also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Network director Lara López commented on the Sunday morning lines of people several hundred meters long to watch the Matadero concerts: "This mid-morning passion has renewed my faith in music."

Radio 3 included a live interview on the European Day of Music with culture minister Angeles González-Sinde, who has been criticised by Internet freedom campaigners and some in the music biz because of her opposition to P2P file-sharing. She admitted that audiovisual piracy "is a very complex subject."

González-Sinde said she was "studying" the music sector demand for a law that would give the sector cultural status. On the Day of Music, the Law of Music Coordinating Committee distributed thousands of leaflets and stickers explaining why a music law was necessary.

Day of Music artistic director Enrique Calabuig said after the day's events that "the first Spanish music generation of the 21st century has been consolidated, and it is prepared to play in the big leagues."

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