Later today, the UK will get a new Prime Minister: Conservative politician Boris Johnson, whose past roles include Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary. Johnson was also one of the leaders of the ‘Leave’ campaign in the UK’s referendum over whether to ‘Brexit’ from the European Union.
The buck will now stop with him as the UK stumbles towards its 31 October deadline for achieving this while averting economic, political and possibly even social chaos. Supporters are enthused by Johnson’s ‘can-do’ statements, while critics are predicting disaster ahead. But the music industry, too, is gauging what impact Prime Minister Boris may have on its lobbying aims. Brexit is part of that too: concerns about freedom of movement and extra costs / red tape for artists touring in Europe is just one of the industry’s concerns about the potential ‘no deal’ Brexit that is a very real possibility come the end of October.
“You may be happy to leap off the edge of a cliff, but please, please don’t throw the British music industry over there with you,” said UK Music boss Michael Dugher yesterday at the Musicians’ Union conference (as reported on by Billboard) just after Johnson was confirmed as the new PM. Dugher also expressed concern about what a no-deal Brexit might mean for implementation of the new European Copyright Directive in the UK. Which reminds us of a tweet from Johnson in March:
“The EU’s new copyright law is terrible for the internet. It’s a classic EU law to help the rich and powerful, and we should not apply it. It is a good example of how we can take back control,” he wrote then. The music industry, like the British population, faces a bumpy few months ahead.