An influential cross-party group of MPs and peers issued a major report on 18 July calling on the Government to tear down the barriers facing UK musicians touring the EU.
The move follows a crescendo of calls from across the music industry about the soaring costs and red tape involved in touring the EU post-Brexit and the devastating impact on the sector’s vital talent pipeline.
APPG on Music Report
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music (APPG on Music), which numbers more than 100 MPs and Peers, published the Let the Music Move - A New Deal for Touring report, which outlines the urgent action the Government should take to help UK musicians and crew tour Europe more easily.
The report warns that UK music workers are “facing more costs, more complications and getting fewer opportunities” since the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020.
The key issues include complex post-Brexit restrictions on short-term working in the EU for UK music workers and the inability to use UK trucks for British musicians touring Europe.
Touring Tsar and recommendations
The APPG on Music report concludes that more UK Government action is urgently needed to tackle issues around visas, as well as the movement of kit and merchandise.
The report’s key recommendations to the Government to help remove the barriers to touring the EU and continue the sector’s recovery include:
• The appointment of a “Touring Tsar” to co-ordinate the response of Government and other stakeholders to the issues facing touring cultural workers.
• The creation of a Transitional Support Fund to help UK music exporters deal with increased costs of trading in Europe post-Brexit.
• The establishment of a new Music Exports Office and a new ‘one-stop’ website to help British music firms exporting to the EU.
• The Government should work with EU nations to set up a Cultural Touring Agreement to cut red tape and costs involved in EU touring.
• The expansion of the BPI-administered Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) and the PRS Foundation-administered International Showcase Fund (ISF).
• An overhaul of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to exempt music workers supporting cultural performances along with changes to get ensure all EU states allow musicians to work up to 90 day days in each 180-day period.
• An expansion of the number of border points where documents such as carnets and Music Instrument Certificates can be checked.
In 2019, before the impact of COVID-19, the international touring sector contributed towards the £2.9 billion generated in export revenue, as British talent was showcased across the globe.
Kevin Brennan, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, said:
“We have heard evidence from right across the UK music industry about some of the horrendous problems musicians and crew face touring the EU.
“It’s over two years since Brexit, yet there is still a mountain of red tape and extra costs that musicians and crew have to deal with before they can play to fans in many EU states.
“Our recommendations include the appointment of a Touring Tsar by the Government who could work across government departments to get rid of restrictions that are hampering the growth of the music industry and creation of new jobs.
“Without urgent action there is a very real risk that the talent pipeline on which the UK music industry relies will be badly damaged for years to come.”
MU in action
Dave Webster, MU Head of International said of the news:
“The MU welcomes this comprehensive report from the UK Music All Party Parliamentary Group for Music on the issues faced by musicians and the wider creative industries working in the EU. We were pleased to be able to contribute to it and fully support the list of recommendations within”.
Visit our Working Overseas page for more information and advice on touring, or contact your Regional Office directly for any specific enquiries.