Categorizing Cultural & Creative Sectors: An Impossible Task?

It is one of our most fundamental cognitive abilities to identify shared features or similarities of objects, events, or ideas and then to group (“categorise”) these to make sense of the world. Without categorisation, learning, language, memory, and decision making (to name a few only) would be impossible. The production of cultural statistics also depends on categorisation, distinguishing what is to be measured and what is not.

Categorization is a fundamental cognitive skill, crucial for learning, language, memory, and decision-making. In the context of creative businesses in Europe, the lack of statistical coverage in music and film poses challenges for compliance and participation in initiatives like the European Green Deal.

Traditional categorizations, designed for larger enterprises, prove inadequate for small creative businesses, often microenterprises. There exists a need for different data collection and statistical procedures to support small enterprises in music or film, proposing flexible categorization processes. Many limitations of current categorizations in the music and film industry exist, as entities are small, engage in mixed activities, and often hire atypically qualified individuals. The creative industries, dominated by microenterprises, lack formal structures, making traditional categorizations unfit. In that regard, it is important that we are aligning representative creative organizations with statistical processes to achieve relevant indicators.

Another aspect is the shift from sample surveying to accessing administrative data, such as royalty accounts, for more accurate and efficient information retrieval. UNECE and Eurostat are recognized for their efforts in tapping into privately held registers, such as copyright management societies’ royalty accounts, providing precise data on musicians. The ongoing process in Slovakia aims to align official data collection with a private register, offering advantages in speed, cost, precision, and mapping to relevant categorizations. This alignment ensures sufficient data for quality-controlled statistical indicators, enabling music businesses to professionalize their planning processes and participate in initiatives like the European Green Deal.


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