News December 12, 2018

UK music biz calls for an alternative to Brexit

Staff Writer
UK music biz calls for an alternative to Brexit

A number of artists, music associations and executives have signed a letter expressing “real concern” over Brexit and calling on the UK government to find an alternative.

It follows the postponement of the House of Commons vote on the government’s proposed transition deal with the European Union.

There has long been argued that aspects as the restriction of movement by British acts and executives, the costly red tape of touring that would affect especially emerging acts, as well as uncertainty over keeping copyright protections in place, threatens the industry.

The fear is that in an era of global connection, Brexit will see the British industry become more isolated.

Signatories to the letter, drafted by Music4EU included musicians such as Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Paloma Faith, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Billy Bragg, Dave Rowntree of Blur, Jamie Cullum, Enter Shikari, Nadine Shah, Fran Healy of Travis, Carl Barat of The Libertines and film composer David Arnold.

Also throwing their support were the managers of Ed Sheeran, The Chemical Brothers, At The Drive-In and Bullet For My Valentine.

Associations included The Musicians Union, The Association of Independent Music, Music Managers Forum, the FastForward conference, British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors and the Music Producers Guild.

The letter pointed out that “In the post-Brexit UK, there is a clear risk that reaching consumers and fans will be more expensive, and international markets will be harder to access.”

It emphasised: “Brexit represents a significant threat to the UK’s music industry.

“Leaving the EU’s customs union, single market, VAT area and regulatory framework (in whole or part) could devastate our global market leadership, and damage our freedom to trade, tour and to promote our artists and our works.

“The music industry contributes £4.5 billion (AU$7.8 billion) to the UK economy, and our world-beating artists helped to create exports of over £2.5 billion ($4.3 billion), which is growing fast in a global digital music business.

“Live music is at the heart of every artist’s business and contributed around £1bn to the UK economy, and freedom of movement is core to an artist’s ability to tour and promote their art.”

It asks the government “to examine alternative options to maintain our current influence and freedom to trade.”

Paul Pacifico, CEO of AIM, said: “In a moment when we need balance most, Brexit seems to play to the most divisive and negative instincts of our representatives across the political spectrum.

“In this atmosphere of hardening dogma, we must not sacrifice the future of our creative economy and the people and small businesses that are its lifeblood.

“We can too easily take for granted that British music has a special place in the world and for several decades it has punched above its weight.”

Sammy Andrews, CEO of Deviate Digital, and co-organiser of Music4EU, observed, “Rarely do so many factions within the music industry unite on any subject, but Music4EU’s signatory list so far is a clear indication of the level of concern over the current mess, and how widely it impacts every corner of this sector.

“Brexit is an unmitigated disaster for Britain’s world-leading music industry.”

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