Four of the six members of the Ministry of Culture's music committee have ties to the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians (Eesti Interpreetide Liit), which has produced a biased environment, music industry representatives said. Music advisor for the Ministry of Culture Ivo Lille said that both the composition of the commission and the criteria for awarding grants are under review.
In recent years, the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians has won the most Ministry of Culture grants for music collectives and event promoters. Ivo Lille, the music advisor for the Ministry of Culture, said that the subsidies to the association have not escalated during the time of the current music committee, but agrees that the situation has to change.
"I think it certainly makes a better impression when you have a broader committee, and in reality, some of the committee members found it difficult to make decisions in their positions; they stayed outside the meeting room the most of the time, because they thought they had a conflict of interest," Lille said.
In an appeal to the then-Minister of Culture in February of this year, classical music performers, led by cellist Aare Tammesalu, criticized the bias of the music commission. As the situation had not changed, a new proposal for the formation of evaluation committees was submitted to the Minister of Culture, signed by the Estonian Authors' Association (EAÜ), Estonian Association of the Phonogram Producers (EFÜ), Estonian Traditional Music Center, Jazz Estonia (Eesti Jazzliit) and Music Estonia.
"The state supports the diversity of the music industry with public funds, so I would say that the makeup of any committee must reflect the diversity of genres in the music sector," Helen Sildna, founding member of Music Estonia, said.
The Ministry of Culture has initiated the formation of a new commission.
"We are trying to staff these committees with as many diverse specialists as possible, who are familiar with the genres and collectives that usually apply for funding to us," Lille said. In addition to reviewing the commission's composition, he said that the grant-awarding criteria would be also reevaluated.
Editor: Kristina Kersa