How the Brexit Will Affect the Music Industry

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week you will be well aware that the country, and indeed the rest of the world, is still reeling from the shock of the Brexit. Whether you were a diehard remainer or an enthusiastic leaver, no one expected the result and even less knew what the hell to do when they heard it. Like it or not each one of us will be affected personally, for good or for bad.

Just like every industry that keeps the country running, the music industry is bound to undergo some significant change, perhaps more than some due to it’s reliance on international sales, tours and business. It is also one of the largest and most influential, with 1 in 4 records being sold in Europe being British.

With every political and cultural pundit, along with every member of the powers that be desperately trying to predict what will happen next, we believe it’s time to start listening to the experts again. Here’s what they predict for the future of our beloved music industry.

“consumers around the world want our music, artists and products, and this will not change after the decision.”

Andy Heath, chairman of UK Music group, which lobbies in Westminster on behalf of the British music industry has a positive outlook. He claims that we are in a strong position as a world renowned export led industry, and have nothing to fear from change. “British music is strong and successful and will remain an essential part of a rich and diverse European culture…consumers around the world want our music, artists and products, and this will not change after the decision.

John Whittingdale MP, Cultural Secretary and the man responsible for overseeing the music industry has exclaimed that he will stand to protect the prosperity of the British music industry. In a statement he said “DCMS will work closely with all of our sectors to make sure they have a voice as we now prepare for a negotiation to exit the EU. Our sectors are amongst some of the strongest and fastest growing, contributing 16% of total Gross Value Added to the UK economy. We will support our sectors in seeking new arrangements which will maintain our trade relations and encourage them to look for new opportunities across the world.” This statement however didn’t inspire hope in everyone in the music industry, Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai took to social media to express his how unconvincing this was by calling Whittingdale a “fucking moron”.

The main concern amongst those who depend on the music industry for their livelihoods is that touring will become more time consuming, more difficult, and more expensive. Currently Britain has US – EU open skies regulation, meaning cheap and regular flights to the United States and across Europe. Musicians also have the benefit of working anywhere without a work permit, this may all change as we distance ourself from the continent.

“EU give £1billion a year towards arts funding, and Britain has a 46% success rate for funding applications”

Metronomy’s Joseph Mount says: “If a band goes to America or Russia or South America, you have to get lots of documents, lots of visas, lots of paperwork; moving equipment in and out of the country is a pain in the arse,” Research suggest a Schengen visa would cost around £60, for a 5 piece band and a tour manager this is a significant overhead and one that will prevent many upcoming bands with limited touring budgets from doing so.

Gigging within the UK may also be affected, as the EU give £1billion a year towards arts funding, and Britain has a 46% success rate for funding applications. Many venues and projects could be hit by the cut to funding, as an industry that is increasingly reliant on live music sales the effects could be far reaching.

Of course live music is the key concern for musicians, but music equipment and record sales will likely be affected just as much. Import duties are still up in the air, the trade agreements have yet to be agreed between the countries where we do most business. However the recent soaring of vinyl sales, the majority of which are printed in the EU, will likely be negatively hit.

It is worth bearing in mind however, that the music industry as a whole has undergone earth-shattering changes many times before. From the advent of Music television and the shift to more visual production in the late 80’s and 90’s, to the digital revolution that has moulded the industry we know today. Through significant changes spanning many decades, all of which were predicted to kill the industry off, the savvy British industry pro’s have always come out on top.