As Prime Minister Theresa May heads back to Brussels to seek more concessions over the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union, a group of artists and music-industry bodies has come out strongly against Brexit’s potential impact on British musicians.
Paloma Faith, Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Jamie Cullum, Nadine Shah, Blur’s Dave Rowntree, Nitin Sawhney and Billy Bragg are among the artists signing a letter calling on the British government to find an ‘alternative to Brexit’.
Music companies including Beggars Group and Kilimanjaro Live have also signed the letter, alongside industry bodies including AIM, the MMF, the Musicians Union, the Featured Artists Coalition and the Music Producers Guild.
The letter was drafted by the pro-Europe group Music4EU, which is inviting other artists, companies and industry bodies to back its call.
“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,” it claims.
“The music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the UK economy, and our world-beating artists helped to create exports of over £2.5 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.”
The BPI and umbrella organisation UK Music are not currently among its signatories, although BPI boss Geoff Taylor recently called for “a strong Brexit deal that enables artists to tour freely, robustly protects music rights, and prevents physical music products being impeded in transit” – an implicit warning against a deal (or a ‘no-deal’ scenario) that does not deliver these aims.
The full text of the Music4EU letter, and the list of signatories, is below:
“We, the signatories of this letter, represent artists, producers, managers, businesses, and platforms from across the Music Industry in the UK and are writing to express our real concerns over Brexit and the current direction of the UK’s proposed departure from the EU.
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 to the UK economy, and our world-beating artists helped to create exports of over £2.5 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.
The EU’s proposed reforms to the Digital Single Market, many of which were submitted by the UK, are intended help consumers and technology businesses grow the market yet further, and the proposals for the EU Copyright Directive are designed to help protect the value of our industry’s output on major technology platforms. The UK music industry could be at a significant disadvantage to our peers in the countries remaining in the EU without these protections.
According to a survey conducted by UK Music on the Music Industry’s views on Brexit, only 2% thought Brexit would have a positive impact on their chances of work.
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. Live events will run the danger of being delayed or even canceled, which would undermine the financial and cultural benefits that this vibrant sector brings to UK PLC.
No-one voted for this situation, whether they voted Leave or Remain. It is critical to find a way out of this mess, and therefore we ask you to examine alternative options to maintain our current influence and freedom to trade.
Nick Mason – Pink Floyd
Carl Barat – The Libertines
Stuart Camp – Grumpy Old Management
Dave Rowntree – Blur
Association of Independent Music (AIM)
Music Managers Forum (MMF)
Public Service Broadcasting
Musicians Union (MU)
Music Producers Guild (MPG)
Featured Artist Coalition (FAC)
Fran Healy – Travis
Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
Fleet River Management
British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA)
Blood Red Shoes
British Sea Power
Get Cape Wear Cape Fly
Ben Robinson – From The Fields – Blue Dot / Kendal Calling
Cll Jon Tolley – Banquet Records
Red Grape music
David Manders – Liquid management
Ralph Lawson – 20/20 vision recordings
Craig Jennings – Raw Power
Danny Goffey – Supergrass
Reverend And The Makers
Sammy Andrews – Deviate Digital
Emmy The Great
Danielle Perry – Miss Perry Presents Ltd
Stephen Taverner – East City Management
Carwyn Ellis – Pretenders
Band Of Skulls
Chris Carey – Media Insight Consulting and FastForward
Ros Earls – 104db management
Jonathan Wood – Ooosh! Tours Ltd
Peter Quicke – Ninja Tune
Laurence Bell – Domino Recording Company
John Giddings – Solo Agency
Amy Bee Sting- Oh My God! It’s The Church
Ellie Giles – Step Music Management
Kevin Fleming – Warp Records
Kat Kennedy – Big Life Management