IMPF Covid-19 Response

IMPF Covid-19 Medium to Long Term Recovery Plan

The biggest challenge of our time can only be solved through collaboration



As the scale and nature of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic continue to evolve, our industry is facing one of the most significant challenges we have ever encountered.

With high levels of self-employment and scant access to social benefits, any loss of income directly threatens the very existence of not just thousands of authors, composers, and performers, but publishers and the rest of the music chain, many of whom struggle to earn a living even under normal circumstances.

The music sector is among the first and hardest hit by this unprecedented crisis. The global lockdown has come at the busiest time of year for concerts, music festivals and shows. It has cancelled the travelling opportunities for a sector that relies on being particularly mobile. For many of us, “Stay Home” means bankruptcy.

As the hub for independent music publishers internationally, IMPF is responding to the crisis by assisting our members, especially some of those who run smaller micro-businesses that may well feel isolated at this time. The wellbeing of members of our forum is our duty of care and we want to make sure that there is a rolling outreach to each other at this time so we can offer support as needed.

Economically, losses due to Covid-19 will impact music publishers towards the end of 2020 and through the first half of 2021. 2020/21 may well be considered a lost year for many.

But this is about more than just economic losses. It brings into focus other geo-political considerations, such as governments seeking to strengthen their protectionist policies and thus creating more risk for global business as a result of the virus. Added to that, reduced tax-returns, dwindling economies and massive spikes in unemployment rates will result in governments struggling to justify continued support of the arts and culture. This, despite the fact people across the world will now, more than ever, need access to music and entertainment.

The main objectives of the IMPF Covid-19 Medium/Long Term Recovery Plan are;

  • to liaise with members about the pandemic’s real impact on their music publishing business
  • to enable members preserve their livelihood and continue investing in talent and their business
  • to promote members businesses
  • to encourage a strong climate of collaboration throughout our membership and the music chain, including regulators, politicians, streaming services, and other stakeholders


1. Economic assessment of Covid-19

Having a realistic and reliable forecast of the impact of Covid-19 will enable members to update their budgets to better serve the creators they represent.

Although publisher losses will mostly fall at the end of 2020, with negative impacts running into 2021, we can already see exactly where Covid-19 is affecting businesses.

  • Shows and tours have been cancelled with a subsequent loss in performance for approximately the next six months
  • Live performances for musicians are virtually non-existent
  • Productions have stopped
  • There is significantly less synch in commercials
  • Streaming rights in TV shows have dramatically dropped
  • Radio and TV broadcast have been immediately hitIMPF will provide members with a granular report on the outlook of impact from Covid-19. 

2. Enhancing member collaboration

Smaller, independent businesses need to work together to compete with larger companies. Collaboration is key, and even more so during this period of great change and uncertainty. One of the consequences of Covid-19 is an aversion to global business and globalisation by some governments. It is crucial for our members to continue investing and develop business worldwide.

The IMPF website will drive traffic to individual member sites. We have set up a “Company of the Week” initiative on the site, where visitors can explore an individual company and browse their offering of genres and artists. The ‘Company of the Week’ focus will be supported across all our social-digital channels.

3. Resource Education

IMPF will provide members with information on the resources available to deal with the impact of Covid-19, including what other organisations are doing worldwide.  The IMPF website will promote best practices among members by informing you of steps taken by others in dealing with the crisis and showing examples of measures that can be adopted and adapted.

4. The Opportunities

The dangers and negative impacts of this pandemic are very real and very concerning. However, within a crisis are the seeds of opportunity. The cancellation of live performances and the worldwide lockdown have led to fresh licensing opportunities. DJ sets, the use of master recordings on live streaming, the increasing use of services such as Zoom and other platforms for entertainment purposes, off-site ticketing and subscriptions where the offering is music content (live or recorded), making the most of the advertising revenue on those licensed platforms now offering more and more online entertainment, will all be considered. IMPF will engage with industry bodies to discuss potential new and mutually beneficial approaches to licensing models.

5. Indie publishers and composer supports

IMPF will continue to coordinate and support projects relevant to composers and music publishers. During the Covid-19 crisis this will be achieved by offering the opportunity to conduct a series of online concerts to promote bands and groups, similar to what is currently being done in the US with the ‘Roadless Concerts’ concept.

In addition, IMPF has set up an ‘ideas bank’ where all members can contribute, with topics being chosen to organise a series of meeting roundtables via webinar. The ‘ideas bank’ will also offer the opportunity for members to contact the Covid-19 Taskforce on any concerns or questions about global, national, or business-related issues during this time of crisis.

6. Industry relations

IMPF considers cooperative and collaborative relations between music publishers and collective management organisations (CMOs) of vital importance. IMPF will continue supporting each other, as reliable business partners and will maintain a B2B relationship throughout the Covid-19 situation. It is of utmost importance to conserve the highest levels of transparency and smooth information exchange, in each territory from now until the Covid-19 crisis is over and beyond, so that communication is as seamless as possible for the benefit of all our members.

It is also the time to further address what streaming services make off the back of creators’ work and the gross disparity and inequality of what they pay out. Streaming services need to better support, pay-up and pay fair, composers and authors for their work.

7. Coordinated response

IMPF will continue liaising with other likeminded organisations in the creative sector during the crisis, and support and echo those organisations that are making similar calls and carrying out similar actions. We are also trying to ensure a coordinated response across member territories and where there has been direct approach to governments.

8. Advocacy

IMPF will continue engaging with policy and decision makers unilaterally and via broader creative industry coalitions. It is important to ensure that specific cultural crisis funds are put in place at national, regional, and international levels to assist the smaller actors.

At European level, it is of utmost importance that the Copyright Directive is transposed and implemented by Member States as a matter of urgency as this will ensure an essential source of revenue for all rightsholders. IMPF will also drive deeper engagement with national governments via our members to ensure that the value of copyright, culture and music is not undermined during this period.

9. Structural changes and measures

As governments decide on medium to long-term recovery plans for the broader economy, we will be working on issues long under discussion, such as specific loan guarantees; increased licensing rates; vat rebates; the creation of new revenue streams (e.g. online concerts); interest free loans to micro-businesses,  and any other relevant matters.

10. Statistics on Indie Music Publishing

IMPF is conducting a study of existing data and statistics on independent music publishing. These figures will help policymakers to better understand the economic significance of protecting intellectual property rights. It will also help our sector assess the losses due to Covid-19 and provide focus on where concentrated help is most needed to boost recovery.


David Alexander, Managing Director – Sheer Music Publishing
Ender Atis, COO – Budde Music Publishing
Annette Barrett, Managing Director – Reservoir/Reverb Music
Niclass Björlund,  Managing Director – Edition Björlund
Mark Chung, Managing director – Freibank Musikverlags
Pierre Mossiat, CEO – Strictly Confidential Music Confidential
Teri Nelson Carpenter, President and CEO – Reel Musik Werks
Simon Platz,  Managing Director  – Bucks Music Group
John Telfer, Chairman – Rocking Gorillas Music
Francesca Trainini,  Managing Director – Oyez!

If there are any parts of this plan to which you would like to contribute, such as:

  • Company of the week
  • Ideas bank
  • Webinar and meetings
  • Roadless concerts

Please feel free to contact Secretariat at


Links to funding, initiatives and information related to the cultural and creative sectors being rolled out in response to Covid19. For any specific information please contact the Secretariat on


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