With the oncoming vote in the UK, there’s a lot of lies and confusion in any area of policy, but I wanted to see how Brexit would effect bands within the UK and the EU and these are some points where things could change.
Touring – Britain isn’t part of the Schengen Area (1) which allows EU members to travel anywhere in Europe, Britain has a quicker route into the country for anyone with an EU passport – and if we leave the EU this quick route into Europe will disappear, or it may even have a visa, if there’s a cost for this it might cost more for bands with smaller budgets to tour mainland Europe (not great for our culture and arts) and vice versa as the UK might put in place a visa system of it’s own, costing bands more to get in than before – this might effect venues in our cities if bands aren’t playing them, maybe. Also currency fluctuations could means it costs even more to tour within Europe, if the worth of the pound decreases.
Funding – Right now there are 62 available grants for the arts available through the European Union (2) and many of these fund music projects across the UK, including here in the UK – across Europe there is a 1.46 billion euro fund for arts across Europe, which can fund festivals but can also fund music and with leaving the EU, that money is then not available to access not just to musicians in this country but to anyone creating something in this country – British Government has cut arts funding and EU funding may be an alternative that would be cut off (3) (4).
Copyright – Any country that wants to be in the EU has to sign a Copyright Agreement that goes back to 1886, The Berne Agreement has to be signed to be able to ascend into the European Union. Every country within the EU has to have the same laws when it comes to protecting people’s work that if Britain leaves will have to be protected – something that the UK hasn’t often quickly complied with (5). It’s a dull area, but an important one in the protection of people’s work, including music and something like it’s protected rights would need to be in place here if there was a British exit.
Sales – In the last year 25.9% of records sold in the EU were made here in the UK according to the BPI (6) and Brexit combined with others issues for example touring could impact on the ability of British artists being able to have success on the continent and access to the single market, which allows their music to be sold. British red tape could lead to smaller margins of profit for musicians and labels and costs passed on to suppliers and of course customers (Not to the mention many migrants work in jobs in for example warehouses that might have to leave, impacting on sales).
Festivals – Festivals in the UK are incredible from Download to Reading and Leeds, thus we have an incredible amount of music tourism in this country that makes for Britain 3.1 billion pounds for the UK economy in 2014 and some of that comes from the 39% rise in foreign visitors going to them (7). If visas and paperwork are needed to come into the country combined with cheaper ticket prices for festivals in the Schengen Area, these numbers could easily disappear. (You can see a five day festival with camping in Budapest for £166, headlined by Muse, see Sziget) (8).
Of course, no one truly know the impact of Britain leaving the EU, that has been made clear by the politicians in the UK, however it is clear that the impact could send shockwaves through the European music industry as we know it.
(4) Arts Cuts Deaden Our Regions, Guardian, December 2015.