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UK Music Makers Call on Government for Urgent European Touring Transition Fund

The call comes following concerns that Brexit border bureaucracy is killing the export of UK music through increased costs and processes, putting the world-class standing of UK music at risk.

Published: 18 March 2021 | 5:12 PM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
A German red train running in hazy dusky light through a field of yellowy green grass.
The UK’s reputation as one of the greatest homes of musical talent, that has toured the world, bringing income to the UK and exerting soft power, is at significant risk. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) – comprising FAC, The Ivors Academy, MMF, MPG and the MU – are calling on Government to urgently implement a specific European touring transition fund to combat drastically increased costs and bureaucracy posed by Brexit, faced by those looking to tour Europe later in 2021 and into 2022 as Covid guidelines allow.

While the CMM welcomes recent support from the Chancellor for music makers and their teams in relation to the devastating impact of the pandemic – with extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, furlough and Culture Recovery Fund – there is a further, immediate crisis for these workers now facing another blow due to Brexit disarray.

This is killing UK music export opportunities and stifling UK music’s global standing, culturally and economically. The UK’s reputation as one of the greatest homes of musical talent, that has toured the world, bringing income to the UK and exerting soft power, is at significant risk.

Not working in Europe will have a knock on effect

While the UK Government must urgently come to terms in negotiating bilateral agreements with individual EU member states, music makers, songwriters, artists, musicians, producers and their managers, face turning down, cancelling and simply not embarking on European touring opportunities due to new visa, work permit and carnet costs, extended processes with time, checks and paperwork, plus restrictions on concert haulage, making usual business endeavours in this area simply unviable.

British artists played over 20,000 dates touring Europe (in 2019, pre-Covid), in turn employing more than 30,000 people (including musicians and crew), cementing our international reputation as leading the world in creating great music.

Not only does live performance create critical revenue for performers and their teams, it also acts to fuel the creation of the music that sits at the core of our recorded industry. We need urgent help now to ensure British talent is not blocked from growing their audiences internationally in the short term which brings long term implications on loss of future revenue.

Music Makers are being forced to turn down opportunities to tour in Europe because of changes posed by Brexit as it stands due to those additional costs. If they cannot work in person in Europe, this has a knock on effect on radio play, streams, merchandise, festival bookings, future earnings – they are not being seen, nor heard, and it is negatively impacting the business across the board.

An urgent transition fund is needed

Will the next Adele, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran or Stormzy not come to light because of these restrictions? Let’s not allow the momentum of this success to diminish. An urgent transition fund is needed for European touring as part of the bigger picture of an industry that has proven growth year-on-year and is worth billions of pounds to the UK economy.

The fishing industry recently received further support to deal with post-Brexit export issues, expanding on a £23m support package. UK music touring employs more than double that of fishing yet has received no equivalent support. None of the other support schemes deal with these issues, we need a new dedicated fund.

For UK music to retain its leading global standing, a post-Brexit European tour support fund is needed now before irreparable damage is done and we lose our talent and economic value in this area of business.

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