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CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: What impact will Brexit have on music?

By | Published on Monday 8 May 2017

CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: What impact will Brexit have on music?

In the run up to this year’s CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conference, we are going through the top ten questions we will be answering during this year’s programme. Today: What impact will Brexit have on music?

So, Brexit then. That’s happening. Though, despite Article 50 having now been triggered, we still don’t really know what Brexit will actually look like; except that whatever happens, we can be sure Theresa Mayhem will reduce it to a three word cliché. Brexit means Brexit, remember. Strong and stable, mind. Strong and stable.

However, while we may not yet know what Brexit will look like – and therefore what it will mean in tangible terms for the music industry – we can identify the areas where the UK exiting the European Union could impact on the music business.

The industry’s trade bodies need to do just that, to inform the lobbying they will need to undertake, alongside every other sector. So that, on the off chance Mayhem takes her fingers out of her ears for a few seconds, the music community’s reps in Westminster and Whitehall know what to shout.

Brexit will likely impact on UK copyright law, though probably not in the short term. But, cut free from its obligation to work in harmony with the European copyright regime, UK copyright law could be reformed faster in the future.

That might be a good thing, given how copyright struggles to keep up with the ever-evolving digital world. Though, for the music community, one down side could be that the lobbyists from Google and Facebook – who are arguably stronger in London than they are in Brussels – will be more likely to get things their way.

Brexit could also affect copyright in the rest of Europe. The UK has always been particularly vocal on intellectual property issues within the EU. With that voice absent from the table, and the French and German influence likely to increase as a result, the copyright priorities of European lawmakers could shift.

While the Brexit affect on copyright will likely take sometime to emerge, the UK’s exit from the EU could have a more immediate effect on the movement of physical product between Britain and continental Europe, and – of course – the movement of workers.

This could impact on the CD and vinyl market in the UK, which relies on pressing plants elsewhere in Europe, while music companies which run European operations out of London may look to base themselves elsewhere if hiring European citizens becomes tricky.

For the artist community, perhaps the biggest question is what this will all mean for touring. Will there be new costs and bureaucracy when UK artists tour Europe, and will that affect the ability of middle-level artists to tour at all, or at least to take their British crew and session musicians with them?

At the conclusion of The Export Conference at The Great Escape this month, we will put the spotlight on all things Brexit, considering all of these issues, best and worst case scenarios, and what the music community’s lobbying priorities should be.

Leading the conversation will be the BPI’s Director Of Public Affairs Ian Moss, and he will be joined by Proper Music’s Vangel Vlaski, the Musicians’ Union’s Naomi Pohl, music export expert Anna Hildur and lawyer Luke English.



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