The Musicians’ Union (MU) has reaffirmed its support for Britain remaining part of the European Union (EU).
For musicians, the benefits of Britain staying in the EU are numerous.
Open borders make touring both easier and less expensive, EU health and safety legislation has meant that the job of being a musician has become safer and workers’ rights legislation in general has improved the working life of musicians in the UK. The Working Time Directive, for instance, redefined the definition of a worker for the purposes of working time, and meant that for the first time we were able to claim holiday pay for part-time instrumental teachers.
Perhaps most importantly, at least three European Copyright Directives have been responsible for protecting the intellectual property rights of our members and ensuring that they receive remuneration for the use of their work. Whilst the copyright regime in this country is far from perfect, and further adjustments are urgently needed, the MU is confident that the situation for musicians would be far worse were it not for the EU Directives.
The effect that Brexit would have on musicians in Britain is not entirely clear and would depend on the terms negotiated.
We could, however, expect touring to become more difficult and potentially see British musicians having to apply for visas in order to travel within Europe. Given the cost and difficulty many musicians face in obtaining visas for work in countries such as the U.S, this would be very unwelcome.
It is also likely that European legislation which has protected musicians in the areas of copyright, health and safety and workers’ rights would be watered down or removed entirely if Britain were to leave the EU.