The EU referendum has dominated the headlines for what seems like forever but the decision has been made clear and the people of the UK have voted to leave the EU. The initial confusion and disorder has shown the pound has already dropped to a 30-year low and the Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned, with a new leader set to be appointed by October.
But the question we are raising is what effects will this have on the music industry?
British acts can currently freely tour and sell their records in a market of 500 million people. The EU pours more than £1 billion pounds of funding into the creative industries and there are endless EU programs that benefit them with UK applications having a 46 percent success rate. The UK’s music industry is one of the largest and most influential in Europe, outperforming the rest of the British economy by five percent last year, with British artists accounting for over 17 percent of album sales in the six largest European markets after the UK—Germany, Sweden, France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.
According to the BPI, the trade body that represents much of the UK’s recorded music, one in four albums that was sold in Europe over the last year was by a British artist, while more than half of the UK’s labels see at least a quarter of their sales come from Europe.
According to a recent British Phonographic survey, 68 percent of British record labels wished to see the UK remain in the EU. “British music accounts for a quarter of the total market in Europe for recorded music,” said chief executive Geoff Taylor. “This success helps to create jobs in the UK and fund exceptionally high levels of investment by British labels into new music.” He added: we are confident that British music will remain hugely popular across Europe and we will work hard to make sure UK labels are able to capitalise on that demand.”
For British touring bands and DJs, the ability to hop on a train or jump in a van across Europe and play a show is relatively problem-free. This is because being in the EU has allowed them to have the freedom to move around the Schengen (the area including 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders).
However, Brexit could put an end to this meaning that a European tour would require artists to get visas and permits to play in the Schengen Area. This wouldn’t just be an administrative burden for bands but it would raise the total cost of touring too.On top of this artists would be required to get a ‘carnet’ (A document allowing the importation of certain goods to countries without paying customs.) Unless a band has the backing of a large label it’s easy to imagine the extra costs that will make it incur and make it harder for small bands to tour in Europe. This could make a huge difference on the decision on whether or not a small act can afford to tour or not.
Culture secretary John Whittingdale said;
“We are the most extraordinarily creative nation on the planet,” he told a mix of music biz executives and politicians at a UK Music reception at the House Of Commons last week, “And that has nothing to do with whether or not we are in the European Union. The world may or may not be different [after the result]. But the one thing which I’m absolutely certain about is that British music will go on continuing to thrive.”
What do you think the future holds for the music industry?