France is the second largest country in Europe in terms of population with 1/6th of it living in Paris area.
Figure 1.2.1. Map of population in France. (Source: maps-france.com)
France is a centralised administrative bureaucracy with strong top-down policies, also in culture. Ministry of Culture and its administrations play an important role for music in
France and, since the 80s, also in the “popular music” field in the following areas:
1. Associations and institutions
2. Taxes, law and regulation
France is also structured by regions: regional networks are very strong. Finally, municipalities play also a significant role in music fundings: venues, festivals and creations.
“At the end of 2021, 92% of French households had an Internet connection and the number of Internet users in France was still increasing to reach 53.5 million people each month. Internet users surfed for an average of 2 hours 26 minutes per day, especially on mobile phones, which accounted for two thirds of our time spent on the Internet.
While 15-24-year-olds are still the most frequent web users with 3 hours 53 minutes of daily surfing, people aged 50 and over were more connected than in 2020: 2 hours 31 minutes per day for 50-64-year-olds, +13% in 1 year.”
If you are a citizen of a European Union member state, of the European Economic Area, of Monaco, Andorra or the Swiss Confederation
You do not need a visa or a residence permit to stay in France, regardless of the length of your stay.
Otherwise, There are two types of visas:
● Short-stay visas ("Schengen visa"), for one or more stays in the Schengen area for a maximum total duration of 90 days within any period of 180 days (about 3 months over the course of 6 months)
● Long-stay visas, required when the length of stay (or the cumulative stays) in the Schengen area exceeds 90 days per 180 days’ period.
See more from MobiCulture website.
In France, performing arts work - musicians, actors, dancers, etc. – is in principle only possible through an employment contract ("presumption of employee status").
Only European residents can depart from this principle if they are recognised as service providers established in another State in the European Economic Area where they habitually provide similar services, and come to work in France as independent workers, on a temporary basis (Article L7121-3 to 5 of the Labour Code).
Since 28 October 2016, performing artists and technicians coming to France to work as employees for 3 months or less are no longer required to obtain a temporary work permit. This exemption does not apply to foreign nationals already residing in France.
See more from MobiCulture website.
Artist and cultural professional status is highly regulated in France, compared to other countries in the EU and elsewhere. In France, performing arts work - musicians, actors, dancers, etc. – is in principle only possible through an employment contract ("presumption of employee status").
Social security cover and contributions
From MobiCulture Social security cover and contributions:
Cultural organisations inviting or posting artists and/or culture professionals in France are subject to social legislation whose principles vary according to the type of contract (direct hiring or contracting with a foreign partner), artists and/or culture professionals affiliation country, and whether or not bilateral agreements on social security have been concluded between France and the residence country.
You can check the rules that apply to your situation on the Centre of European and International Liaisons for Social Security (CLEISS) website (information in English).
See more from MobiCulture website.
From MobiCulture – Taxes
Taxation rules vary depending on the nature of your activity, the duration of your stay in France, whether or not a tax agreement has been concluded between your home country and France, etc.
All activities conducted in France are subject to income tax. To avoid the risk of non-recovery, income earned in France by persons or companies residing outside France is subject to a withholding tax. This deduction is made by the debtor (the employer or the purchaser of an artistic performance taking place in France) on the sums due.
The details are dependent on whether there is a bilateral tax agreement between the country or origin and France. You can Find these conventions here: Les conventions internationales | impots.gouv.fr
For more guidance on how the withholding tax is calculated for performing artists and technicians, see the MobiCulture website.
Foreign companies that are not established in France organising artistic performances taking place in France are subject to VAT in France. If the "recipient of services" in France is subject to VAT, then VAT is directly paid by the purchaser of the goods or the recipient of the services if they have a VAT number in France ("reverse charge" mechanism). The foreign structure does not charge VAT, but issues an invoice bearing the words "reverse charge".
If a company is established in the European Union, the European service provider must file a European Service Declaration with their tax authorities by registering the amount of the billed services and the VAT number of the customer on an electronic portal.
See more from MobiCulture website.
|Some major international events|
|Rencontres Trans Musicales / Bars en Trans||December||Rennes||https://www.barsentrans.com/|
|Jazz sous les Pommiers||May||Coutances (Normandy)||https://www.jazzsouslespommiers.com/|
|Babel Music XP||March||Marseilles||https://babelmusicxp.com/en/|
|Some major international events|
|Printemps de Bourges||April||Bourges||https://www.printemps-bourges.com/|
|Les Francofolies de La Rochelle||July||La Rochelle||https://www.francofolies.fr/|
Some major international events
Rencontres Trans Musicales / Bars en Trans
Jazz sous les Pommiers
Babel Music XP
Some major international events
Printemps de Bourges
Les Francofolies de La Rochelle
The list is based on Min of Cul.
The live music sector in France in 2019 (before the COVID crisis induced sharp fall) earned revenues in total of 2.3 bln €. 1,25 bln € was in ticket sales, with 980 mln € coming from popular music (source: CNM).
Due to the sharp fall in live sector earnings due to the COVID crisis, the estimation for the past two years is as follows:
● For 2020: 171 mln € in ticket sales, -83 %
● For 2021: 243 mln € in ticket sales -73 %
Figure 2.2.1. Ticket sales 2016 – 2021, mln €. (Source: CNM).
Figure 2.2.2. Amount of shows 2016 – 2020 (Source: CNM).
In 2019, there was in total ca 65 000 shows in popular music genres, earning 30 mln € ticket sales revenue.
Pop, rock music is representing the biggest market share in attendance and revenue.
The average price ticket for a concert in France is 35 € (median price is 17€), and the average number of visitors per concert is 476. 65% of the ticket revenue comes from bigger concerts, in venues bigger than 1500 capacity, representing only 6% of the number of total concerts. More than half of the concerts take place in venues smaller than 200 capacity. (Source: CNM).
Figure 2.2.7. Number of performances, visits and ticketing revenue share. (Source: CNM).
There are approximately 1800 festivals in France. In 2019, around 7.5 mln festival tickets were sold, earning 215 mln €.
Figure 2.2.3. Festivals in France by genre (source: CNM)
Information on many festivals can be found on the website of France Festivals
https://le-zenith.com/pages/le-concept-zenithThere are many different kinds of clubs and venues for music in France operating through various funding and business models. The exact number is not known, but when adding up the membership of FEDELIMA and CCBB and cross-referencing them with trade unions SMA and PRODISS, at least 700 differentclubs and venues can be named. These organisations, briefly described below, feature information on their members and can serve as source of information of venues and clubs in France.
FEDELIMA is a “national network gathering places and projects dedicated to popular music all over France” and has 157 members. FEDELIMA conducts yearly surveys about various aspects of their members’ activities and profile.
CCBB, or Collectif Culture Bar-Bars, a national association representing clubs and cafés with an artistic programming. Their approximately 500 member venues (concert cafés, culture cafés, culture clubs, etc.) are independent structures that organize concerts, shows contributing to cultural diversity and are important for emerging artists.
SMA, or the Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles is an employers' organization with a membership of more than 550 companies working in the contemporary music sector. SMA represents concert halls, festivals, show producers, labels, training centers, radio stations, as well as federations and networks.
PRODISS is the first national trade union representing
private performing arts. Created in 1984, its 404 members – producers, broadcasters, cinema operators and festival organizers – are spread throughout France.
There are a series of 17 modular venues in various French cities labeled Zénith. These can accommodate concert tours as well as other performing arts formats, such as plays, musicals and dance recitals. All Zéniths feature similar internal design of an indoor amphitheater that can seat at least 3,000 spectators (Source: Wikipedia). In 2019, 3 million tickets were sold to music events across all the 17 Zénith venues (source: CNM).
Information (including capacity and links) can be found on the Wikipedia page Le Zénith - Wikiwand
“It was in 1981 that the Ministry of Culture, under the aegis of Jack LANG, opened its doors to rock and, more broadly, to popular music. The ministry's policy then aimed to make known the richness of today's music. In liaison with the artists and the profession, the ministry entrusted a study to Daniel COLLING for a large capacity room in Paris.
The Zénith sprang from an idea, obvious, like all good ideas: to design a room specially adapted for these types of music. It materialized with two architects, Philippe CHAIX and Jean Paul MOREL, who, with entertainment professionals, invented the concept of ZENITH.
The Zéniths are designed and built to allow the presentation of various productions to a large audience, in optimal technical conditions. Inspired by the amphitheater of ancient Greece, the Zeniths are modular multi-functional venues:
● capacity varies from 2,200 to 6,785 people.
● Spectators can either be accommodated in an all-seated setup or “seated-standing”
● The stage can be completely dismantled so that the stage space can accommodate other devices (ice rink, boxing or wrestling ring, etc.).
The acoustics of the Zénith rooms are designed to allow optimal reproduction of amplified music.
The venues are owned by public bodies, but are operated by private organisations. The shows are organized by live producers who hold a live producer license and not by the companies that operate the Zeniths.
Figure 2.2.4. Zénith venues in France (Source CNM).
Figure 2.2.5. Le Zénith Paris - La Villette.
SMAC stands for Scène de musiques actuelles and is an official label for venues with certain capacity and profile. The SMAC label, created by the French government in 2017 is awarded to cultural organisations focused on developing “popular music” in the broadest terms (in French the term is musique actuelles, perhaps best translated as contemporary music, but is taken to exclude classical academic music).
The SMAC organisations are aimed at ensuring a diverse music life with a focus on emerging artists. They are required to develop the local music sector in three areas (source: Arrêté du 5 mai 2017 fixant le cahier missions et des charges relatif au label « Scène de Musiques Actuelles-SMAC » (rectificatif) - Légifrance):
1. Creation, production and promotion of concerts;
2. Support for professional and amateur musical practices;
3. Various cultural action.
SMAC venues will also pay particular attention to the principles of:
● diversity both through the works produced or presented to the public and the artists supported by the structure and other artistic or technical professions;
● Gender equality in terms of access to work, production and programming as well as positions of responsibility in the structure and equal pay.
There are 89 SMAC venues with 300 – 2 000 seats capacity in France. In total, the SMAC labeled venues across the country offer nearly 6,000 public performances and bring together almost two million spectators each year.
There is a dynamic map on the French Ministry of Culture websites with all SMAC venues linked: Carte des scènes de musiques actuelles
Figure 2.2.6. SMAC venues in France.
Large groups with affiliated companies
Live Nation, organising festivals such as Main Square Festival, Download Festival, Lollapalooza Paris, Les Etoiles and others.
AEG Presents, organising Rock en Seine Festival, etc.
Lagardère Live Entertainment, a group including venues and production companies, such as Folies Bergère,
Casino de Paris, etc.
Fimalac Entertainment, a group including venues and production companies, such as Salle Pleyel, 105 DB, Encore Productions, Uni-T Productions, Auguri Productions, Anteprima Productions, Gilbert Coullier Productions, TS3, etc.
A selection of independent agencies
A Gauche de la Lune, Alias Production, Radical Production, Gérard Drouot Productions, Le Rat des villes, Caramba Culture Live, Bleu Citron, Junzi Arts, Furax, AFX, Miala, Allo Floride, Base Productions, Vedettes, Wart, Melodyn, Octopus, Asterios Spectacles, 3C, Pbox, Zamora Productions, Dionysiac Tour, Mad Minute Music, The Link Prod, Voulez-Vous Danser, etc.
Companies working in the 360 model
+ some venues/festivals (La Cigale, We Love Green, etc.)
Tôt ou Tard
Zamora Productions / Zamora Label
As for any market, it is necessary to find an agent working for that particular market or then be able to successfully land a booking directly from programmers of clubs, venues, festivals or other shows.
However, due to regulation reasons, in France it is especially important to find a local partner. French organisations working in music, and in the performing arts in general, are due to have a performing arts entrepreneur licence (licence d’entrepreneur du spectacle). Therefore, as an artist being “employed” (and all artists need to be employed, see “artist status” above) by a non-French company, you will have to fulfil two conditions:
● Contracting with a French partner / venue having this licence
● Fill in a declaration 1 month before the performance via THIS (if out of EEA) or THIS (if EEA) link (only in French)
Based on the figures from SNEP, the French recorded music market size (wholesale value) in 2021 was €861 million, an increase of 14.3% from €753 million in 2020. The market grew in all segments: digital consumption, physical sales, licensing of nighbouring rights through CMOs and synchronisation. The largest market segment is digital consumption, but surprisingly the segment that grew the most from 2020 to 2021 was sales of physical records (+21%).
Figure 2.3.1a. Source: SNEP-OCC
Figure 2.3.1b. Source: SNEP-OCC
Last updated: 2022
Digital sales and consumption is now the leading market segment in the French recorded music market, having grown five times over the past ten years, from €110 million in 2011 to €506 million in 2021.
Figure 2.3.1c. Source: SNEP-OCC
Audio streaming subscription
TOTAL DIGITAL REVENUE
Table 2.3.1. Based on SNEP-OCC
Streaming is the dominant source of digital revenue (97,2%) and among streaming it’s the audio subscriptions that make up the bulk. While most of the streamers are young (between 16-34 year old make up 53%), the share of older segments of population streaming music has grown, indicating the audio streaming is gradually becoming the mainstream way to listen to music across all population age groups.
With 10 million paid subscriptions, up 39% in 2 years, usage brings together more than 14 million premium users (including family account users). Add the freemium offer users, there are now 22 million music and video streaming users in France.
The market share of digital streaming services was led by Deezer up to 2019, after which it is estimated that Spotify has taken the lead
Last updated: 2022
In 2021, the physical music market experienced a spectacular rebound compared to the previous year, for the first time since the early 2000s. The physical sales, comprising both CD and vinyls, still represents nearly 30% of music sales in France with an increase of 21% from 2020.
This dynamism is due to a still solid and diverse French distribution network but also by the spectacular development of online sales. The share of e-commerce now represents1/3 physical sales, i.e. an increase of 14% in 2 years, generated by the boom both on brand websites (Fnac.com, Amazon.com, etc.) and in artist boutiques.
TOTAL PHYSICAL REVENUE
Table 2.3.2. Based on SNEP-OCC
Vinyl sales have grown steadily over the past years, reaching 5,2 million units sold in 2021 and bringing in revenue worth €78.9 million. This growth is led by young consumers with people under 35 (51%) among vinyl buyers.
Last updated: 2022
French (produced) music holds a strong market position with 83% of the top 200 best selling albums in 2021 being French production. It is useful to note, that in France, the concept of “produced in France” also includes artists from elsewhere, but signed to French labels and being released by them.
Based on CNM
In terms of music genres, Rap, Hip Hop, and RnB represent 61% of the Top 200 and 37% of the overall consumption. Chanson, pop, and rock represent 25% of the Top 200 and 43% of the overall consumption.
Last updated: 2022
The three major music companies and their subsidiary labels active in France are:
Universal Music France
MCA, Capitol, Mercury, Polydor, Island Def Jam, Neuve, Romance Musique, Virgin, Universal Jazz & Classics, Decca
Sony Music Entertainment
Columbia, Jive Epic, Arista, S.M.A.R.T., A + LSO
Warner Music France
Parlophone, Elektra Records, WEA, Erato / Warner Classics, Rec. 118, Play On, Distributor of Play Two
Some of the independent labels in France are:
Tôt ou Tard
Un Plan Simple
No Format !
Companies in the Pias Group:
The biggest digital distributor in France (and the world) is Believe. The Believe group includes:
Another digital distributor active in France is Idol, that also provide other artist development services.
The main physical distribution companies:
Last updated: 2022
The music publishing sector structure, revenues and other aspects in France is measured through a barometer organised through the initiative of the two trade associations of music publishing in France: the CSDEM (la Chambre Syndicale de l’Edition Musicale) and the CEMF (La Chambre syndicale des Éditeurs de Musique de France).
According to the 2020 report Baromètre de L’édition Musicale 2020, the total publishing sector revenue was €399 mln, a slight 2% drop from €405 mln in 2019. Given the time lag of publishing revenues, the full extent of the COVID crisis will be visible only in the 2021 and 2022 results. 81% of the revenues are generated by “popular music” segment, 10% by “library music” (music in media) and 9% by “classical music” segments.
Figure 2.4.1. Music publishing revenues in millions of euros, categorised by type of revenue. (Source: Baromètre 2020).
Figure 2.4.2. Music publishing revenue shares in France, categorised by type of revenue. (Source: Baromètre 2020).
Two collective management organisations collect and distribute publishing revenues: SACEM (Société des Auteurs-Compositeurs et Éditeurs de Musique) and SDRM (Société pour l’Administration des Droits de Reproduction Mécanique des Auteurs).
SACEM collects public performance, online, TV and radio (inlcuding cable, satellite, etc.) and private copying levy. International revenues make an important part as well. SDRM collects license fees for (mechanical) reproduction.
Figure 2.4.3. SACEM collections in 2021. (Source: SACEM Annual Report 2021).
Domestic vs foreign repertoire
The share of domestic repertoire in the publishing revenues in 2020 was 43%, while the share in net publisher’s earnings (revenue less royalties and other payments to the rightsholders) was 72%.
Figure 2.4.4. Share of publishing revenues. (Source: Baromètre 2020).
Figure 2.4.5. Share of net publisher’s earnings. (Source: Baromètre 2020).
Established vs emerging talent
Established artists generate 74% of the music publishing revenues from the domestic repertoire with the net publisher’s earnings share being close, 71%. Emerging artists* generate respectively 26% of the revenue and 29% of net publisher’s earnings.
Figure 2.4.6. Share of publishing revenues from domestic repertoire generated by established vs emerging artists.. (Source: Baromètre 2020).
Figure 2.4.7. Share of net publisher’s earnings from domestic repertoire generated by established vs emerging artists. (Source: Baromètre 2020).
* The definition of an emerging talent as defined in the Baromètre report glossary refers to an artist or an author who has not released more than two albums and these albums have not been sold more than 100 000 units. In case of authors, they have not contributed more than 50% of writing to maximum 2 albums selling more than 100 000 units.
Sony Music Publishing
Universal Music Publishing
Warner Chappell Music
BMG Rights Management
Alter K / Creaminal
Lili Louise Musique
Premier Music Group
According to the IFPI consumer study 2021 (Source: SNEP), streaming is now the leading way to discover new music. While radio remains a strong second overall, it is clearly falling behind in the youngest age group of 16-24 years old, or Gen Z. While listening music more overall than older age groups, for Gen Z streaming and TikTok are in the lead with social music discovery following.
Figure 2.5.1. Means of discovering new music in France. (Source: CNM, based on IFPI 2021 data).
Radio is overall still a very important channel with 3 out of 4 people in France listening radio daily. The audience shares by format in 2022 (source: Mediametrie) show that music programs make up more than 30%on average of the listening time.
Figure 2.5.2. French radio audience shares by format. (Source: CNM, based on Mediametrie data).
Some of the most listened radios with heavy rotation in music are Energy NRJ, RTL2, Skyrock, RFM, Nostalgie, Chérie, Virgin Radioa, Chante France, Alouette, Top Music.
Relevant independent and public radio stations are Radio Nova, fip, france musque and france inter. Also important community radios, or radios associatives, are Radio Campus and Ferarock.
There is a French Quota Law for private radios. Established by law in 1986 to support francophone repertoire, radio broadcast quotas set a rate of "40% of french speaking songs during significant listening hours, half of which must be new talent." The law has been adapted several times, up until today (Toubon law 1994). (Source: CNM).
Figure 2.5.3. French speaking songs' and artists' quota. (Source: Centre national de la musique, CSA (2020))
Music genre in radio
Figure 2.5.4. Music genre in radio. (Source: CNM, CSA).
The internet is becoming the preferred source of TV programs, films, series and videos for 30 million internet users each month. In 2021, French people first chose to watch TV programmes (75% of daily video time), then videos on the internet (16%) and VoD/SVoD content (9%). (Source: Médiamétrie, 2022).
Most TV stations have few music programmes and play only the very mainstream heavy rotation repertoire. Some strategically important programmes are: Taratata (France 2), Quotidien (TF1), C à Vous (France 5), Tracks (Arte), Arte Concert, Basique (TV5 Monde).
There are many specialised music blogs, magazines, webzines, etc. in France that while not having large readership can give credibility to artists aiming to build a presence in France.
Groover also provides a useful database of French media outlets here:
According to Médiamétrie (2022), in 2021, “6 out of 10 French people used social media and instant messaging every day. On average, French people spent 45 minutes every day on social media and messaging services, or a third of their surfing time.
While young people were still the biggest users, with more than half of their surfing time now dedicated to social media (or 2 hours 7 minutes per day), people aged 50 and over are taking over social media in turn. In 2021, the time they spent on this activity increased by 17% to 31 minutes per day.”
The most used platforms based on monthly active users are Facebook and YouTube.
Figure 2.5.5. Most visited social media and messaging platforms based on monthly active users (MAU) in France as of May 2022 (in millions).
(Source: Statista, Digimind, Médiamétrie).
In order to build presence and credibility for an artist new to the French market, a good PR partner is needed. It would be recommended to find a partner around six months in advance in order to be ready to start the work three months before a release.
Since the French music market is centered on single and album releases, then Justine Debicki, co-founder of an independent PR agency Boogie Drugstore, advises international artists to plan their marketing and PR strategy around a release, even if their primary objective is to get an audience for their live shows, festival or tour. Artists should also do their research on the various PR agencies in France, explore their rosters and previous campaigns in order to find the right agency. Agencies want to work with artists they believe in and establish long-term relationships. Therefore, they can be quite selective when deciding whether to collaborate with an artist or not.
Justine stresses the importance of having a well-crafted artist bio that tells the story of the artist. Journalists are busy and it is important to catch their attention and hook them. A local PR agency can help artists translate their biographies to French. In addition to a well-written biography, artists should also have high-quality photos and a strong visual identity. The artist’s visual identity has become almost as important as the music itself.
A suggested promotion and marketing plan might be the following:
Working with a French PR agent
● Timing: the work typically begins 3 months before an album release, although a few things can also be planned post-release.
● Budget : There are different price ranges, but the minimum budget is typically between 1000€ - 1500€/month for a 3 month campaign. It is of course possible to find PR support for less than 1000€ and to spend more. Average campaign budgets (not minimum) total around 3000 5000€ per campaign.
● Assets: Artists need to have a good press kit, including high-quality photos, videos, streaming links, and most importantly a well-crafted biography.
● The traditional media audience is decreasing, while the audience for social media is increasing. However, traditional media provides a source of credibility and can be a way to reach industry professionals. Hence, international artists should not overlook it.
● The main way to reach the French audience in terms of social media is through Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok.
● Having a good visual identity
● Tailoring the content to each social media platform
● Goal: increasing awarness (views and likes), sales (consumption on retailers website and streaming platforms), attendance of gigs and shows.
There are around 100-120 professionals in France, many of whom are freelancers who do PR and marketing for music artists. but there are around 10 larger PR agencies, including:
● Boogie Drugstore (Paris)