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Brussels, 20 January 2006

“Border Breakers” – a prize to support mobility of artists in Europe

This Sunday, 22 January, in Cannes, at the MIDEM (international market in music and music publishing), European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) will be handed out for the third time. These awards go to the artists whose debut albums have achieved the highest sales in the European Union outside their country of origin over the year. They are the fruit of a joint effort by the European Commission and the European music industry.[1]

“These awards are a testimony to the diversity of European music and to the way it brings people together, especially young people”, underlines Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, on this occasion. “They are an encouragement to what is the main focus of our cultural policy, namely the mobility of artists and works, by bringing together the various links of the musical chain: writers, composers, performers, publishers, independent producers or majors, and the media”.

In this third year, EBBA will be awarded on 22 January to the European artists or groups and their record companies, their writers and publishers who have achieved the highest sales of a debut album in the European Union outside their country of production in 2005. The prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in the Palais des Festivals de Cannes on Sunday afternoon.

Winners have been selected on the basis of statistics provided by the Billboard Information Group, particularly the following criteria:

  • original debut album of artists or groups from an EU Member State;
  • sales in EU Member States outside the country of production;
  • sales between 01/09/2004 and 31/08/2005.

This year, the Border Breakers prizes have been awarded to:

  • KT Tunstall (United Kingdom), for “Eye To The Telescope” (Relentless)
  • Juli (Germany), for “Es ist Juli” (Universal)
  • Hush (Denmark), for “A lifetime” (Universal)
  • Amel Bent (France), for “Un Jour d'été” (Jive)

- Bebe (Spain), for “Pafuera Telaranas” (Virgin)

  • Arash (Sweden), for “Boro Boro” (WEA)
  • Sarah Bettens (Belgium), for “Scream” (Flow)
  • HAL (Ireland), for “Hal” (Rough Trade)

A special “European Breakthrough” prize will also be awarded to the Hungarian Group Heaven Street Seven.

The winners will be able to apply for financial support from the European Union to organize a tour, provided that it includes at least four Member States of the Union.

MIDEM will also provide an opportunity for an informal meeting between Ministers of Culture of the European Union and European professionals of the music industry on 22 January, at the initiative of Ján Figel’ and Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the French Minister for Culture. This meeting should make it possible to exchange views on topics relating to the cultural sector, the mobility of artists and copyright.

The European Union supports many cooperation projects in the area of music (support for tours, organisation of concerts and festivals, promotion of European music in the Union and elsewhere in the world), especially through the Culture 2000 Programme.
For further information:
Special site on the “European Border Breakers Awards”:

[1] EMO (European Music Office), GESAC (European grouping of societies of writers and composers), German Sounds (Office promoting exports of German music), ICMP/CIEM (international confederation of music publishers), IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), Impala (Independent Music Companies Association), MTV Networks Europe, SACEM (society of writers, composers and publishers of music).

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