UK musicians write second open letter calling for Brexit alternative

(Image credit: Neil Godwin/Total Guitar Magazine - Getty)

In October, musicians from across the UK wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, warning of the dangers of Brexit to the country’s music industry.

They cautioned in the document that a rethink to the country leaving the European Union in March next year was needed, otherwise the UK could become a “self-built cultural jail.”

And in a new open letter, musicians including Nick Mason, Marillion, Enter Shikari, Chrissie Hynde and Public Service Broadcasting have addressed May and Westminster MPs to think of a workable alternative to the current Brexit plans.

In the document, they say that leaving the customs union, the single market, VAT area and the regulatory framework could “devastate our global market leadership and damage our freedom to trade, tour and to promote our artists and our works.”

The full letter reads: 

We, the signatories of this letter, represent artists, producers, managers, businesses, and platforms from across the Music Industry in the UK and are writing to express our real concerns over Brexit and the current direction of the UK’s proposed departure from the EU.

Brexit represents a significant threat to the UK’s Music Industry. Leaving the EU’s customs union, single market, VAT area and regulatory framework – in whole or part – could devastate our global market leadership, and damage our freedom to trade, tour and to promote our artists and our works.

The music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the UK economy, and our world-beating artists helped to create exports of over £2.5b which is growing fast in a global digital music business.

No one voted for this situation, whether they voted Leave or Remain. It is critical to find a way out of this mess

Live music is at the heart of every artist’s business and contributed around £1b to the UK economy, and freedom of movement is core to an artist’s ability to tour and promote their art.

The EU’s proposed reforms to the Digital Single Market, many of which were submitted by the UK, are intended to help consumers and technology businesses grow the market yet further, and the proposals for the EU Copyright Directive are designed to help protect the value of our industry’s output on major technology platforms. 

The UK music industry could be at a significant disadvantage to our peers in the countries remaining in the EU without these protections.

According to a survey conducted by UK Music on the Music Industry’s views on Brexit, only 2% thought Brexit would have a positive impact on their chances of work.

In the Post-Brexit UK, there is a clear risk that reaching consumers and fans will be more expensive, and international markets will be harder to access. Live events will run the danger of being delayed or even cancelled, which would undermine the financial and cultural benefits that this vibrant sector brings to UK PLC.

No one voted for this situation, whether they voted Leave or Remain. It is critical to find a way out of this mess, and therefore we ask you to examine alternative options to maintain our current influence and freedom to trade.

Earlier this week, May postponed a House Of Commons vote on her Brexit deal at the 11th hour to seek “further assurances” from European leaders – specifically about plans for the Northern Irish border.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, with King Crimson previously reporting that next year’s 50th anniversary tour won’t include Europe due to “technicalities and bureaucracy of arranging visas” for the band and crew.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.