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Keep Musicians Working in the EU

It’s harder than it’s ever been for musicians working in the EU. Keep the pressure up and hold Government to account.

£5.8bn* value of the music industry 
77%* musicians expect their earnings in Europe to decrease
21%* are considering a change of career

* Source: MU and ISM joint survey

Everyone’s talking about musicians working in the EU

Latest news and features

Musicians Working Overseas: An Update on Brexit and New Resources

MU Head of International Dave Webster updates members on news and report findings surrounding musicians and Brexit, new MU resources and a roundup of recent and upcoming panels, events and showcases he has attended to help promote the MU and its work overseas.

Published: 27 September 2023

Read more about Musicians Working Overseas: An Update on Brexit and New Resources

Wrapping Up MU Delegate Conference 2023: Motions, Updates and Celebrations

MU Delegate Conference wraps up with motions on the Welsh language, future pandemic planning for musicians and the closure of rail ticket offices, with union members using the second day of MU Delegate Conference to vote on a very clear set of policy priorities.

Published: 26 July 2023

Read more about Wrapping Up MU Delegate Conference 2023: Motions, Updates and Celebrations

Your stories

It can be useful to have examples of musicians and their experiences to share. Here are a few case studies from musicians – and where to find more.

I’d probably lose half of my income as a direct result of the loss of freedom of movement due to Brexit. I am established and successful. I shudder to think how anyone is going to be able to earn a decent income who is just starting out. – Catherine

As a 21 year-old cellist, I have been lucky enough to be able to perform around Europe for the last few years participating in festivals and solo recitals. These concerts are vital for creating contacts but due to being at the start of my career, are often not huge pay checks. I have been invited to Spain and Germany for two festivals this summer, this now means two sets of flights, different work permit/visa requirements and an ATA Carnet. I am still trying to work out if I can afford to go. – Maxim

Because of Covid travel restrictions I have given only two live performances within the EU since March 2020. I am extremely concerned that when these restrictions are eventually lifted the practical difficulties (red tape and associated costs) of touring post-Brexit will mean the permanent loss of two-thirds of my income. This would render a formerly viable career unsustainable, even more so when you consider that work at home has been so limited for the past year with no prospect of a return to anything like normal service in the foreseeable future and also that streaming which the public has relied upon to ease them through successive lockdowns is not adequately remunerated. – Sophia

Whatever the case for Brexit, there should be no unintended consequences damaging the cultural and artistic community of the UK, and with hope for recovery for that massively damaged sector, everything must be done to support it as touring abroad thankfully becomes possible again. – Jeremy

Read more stories from musicians and fans on the Musicians’ Passport petition, and in the latest Musicians’ Union-ISM report.


Join the conversation

Patrick Grady MP

Film projector Many musicians & performers in Glasgow North already excluded from UK gov support now left reeling from the Tories' disgraceful refusal to negotiate visa-free EU touring. Scotland's international reputation at risk with #Brexit obsession @WeAreTheMU #WorkingInTheEU #ExcludedUK

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Amelia Womack

Arts and culture have been consistently undermined in the UK, and ending Freedom of Movement is yet another blow to the industry. Touring musicians and the teams who make the shows possible are now facing additional red tape as a result of this government rejecting visa-free tours for musicians.[..]

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Chi-chi Nwanoku

@WeAreTheMU notified us about leaked info today. So difficult to understand & comprehend the government's thinking when they rejected EU Offer of Visa-Free Travel for Touring Musicians. Please sign this petition and let's get this revisited. Thank you.

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Take a moment, if you can, to read this thread. It is worth your time seeing and thinking about things from the musicians perspective. @WeAreTheMU

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Amanda Dal

First leg of Blues Caravan 2020 is done! I've met so many lovely fans and music lovers and got to travel with these brilliant people for the past 5 weeks. Thank you to each and everyone of you. Now time for some well deserved rest 😪

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From around the web

Our industry has been incredibly badly hit by the Covid-19 crisis and if our members are also restricted by additional costs and red tape on touring once things start to go back to normal, we will see a real downturn in what is a unique British success story: music.

Brexit - Horace
Horace TrubridgeMU General Secretary Horace Trubridge's message to the Prime Minister

Guidance and advice

Leading the campaign

Photo of Naomi Pohl

Naomi Pohl

General Secretary

MU Secretariat

Photo of Horace Trubridge

Horace Trubridge

Senior Executive Officer

MU Secretariat

Photo of Isabelle Gutierrez

Isabelle Gutierrez

Head of CGR

MU Communications & Government Relations

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Dave Webster

Head of International

MU National Office