The European Music Council began in 1972 as the European regional group of the International Music Council, itself founded in 1949 upon the request of the Director General of UNESCO, as a non-governmental advisory body to the agency on musical matters. Since then the EMC has grown to become a major European network of networks for music, with 74 members from 29 countries across the continent. In line with the International Music Council Five Music Rights, the EMC’s actions honour human and cultural rights by promoting support activities in the fields of music education, creation, performance, participation, production and heritage.
1949 – The International Music Council is founded by UNESCO
1972 – The "European regional group of IMC/UNESCO" is formed
1992 – The group is renamed "European Music Council", and the secretariat is located in Aarau, Switzerland
2000 – The Secretariat moves to Bonn, Germany
2003 – The EMC is registered under German law a non-profit organisation
2004 – Launch of EMC's first EU-funded project, European Forum on Music and Training.
2005 – EMC collaborates with IMC to hold the first World Forum on Music in Los Angeles, USA. Also that year, EMC sets up Xchange Traditions (ExTra!), a three-year Culture 2000 project
2006 –EMC publishes the first edition of annual print publication for cultural professionals, Sounds in Europe
2010 – The first European Forum on Music takes place, in Vienna, Austria
2012 – Talks begin on the European Agenda for Music
2013 – The "40+10" Jubilee celebrating commemorating 40 years of serving as the IMC's regional group for Europe, and 10 years as an independent association in its own right
2018 – Launch of the European Agenda for Music in Brussels, Belgium, in the presence of European Commission representatives and cultural professionals from across Europe
2019 – 70th anniversary celebration of the head organisation, IMC, in Paris, France, jointly organised with EMC.