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Newsletter Editorial #124: Brexit – We Need To Talk About Europe – MusicTank

Newsletter Editorial #124: Brexit - We Need To Talk About Europe

01 Feb 2016

Credits: geralt@pixabay
Please spend a few minutes of your time updating us with your views about the EU and the UK music industry…

With the Europe ‘In’ or ‘Out’ debate rarely off the news agenda, and with a forthcoming referendum that could take place as early as June, it’s somewhat surprising there hasn’t been more open dialogue across the music business about the implications of a result favouring Britain’s exit from the EU.

At first glance, the fact that the music and creative industries aren’t in the critical list of sectors recently identified as most likely to be adversely affected by a Brexit 1 might be justification enough for this to not be too high on the businesses’ agenda.

Indeed, a recent and unscientific MusicTank straw poll of music industry trade bodies and leading organisations reveals only that formal positions have either yet to be agreed, orpublicly declared.

It would be fair to assume that that a Brexit would undermine the EU Commission’s on-going copyright review as affects rightsholders, and perhaps reason enough to conclude that as an industry, we’re better off ‘in’; not to mention the de-stabilising effect on infrastructure projects that seek pan-European agreement, such as the European Digital Single Market, and other initiatives aimed at reducing the friction in cross-border licensing and trade.

Conversely, the fact that there is currently an absence of complete harmonisation of copyright across the Union illustrates that EU membership is hardly a panacea for all that ails, either.  Our Private Copying debate last year, highlighted stark differences in approach between some fellow member states (further highlighted in our blog post series), regardless of the common bond of EU membership.

As if dealing with the rigour of the US Visa application isn’t hard enough for UK touring artists, that this could be replicated across EU member states in what might partly amount to retaliatory behaviour by our European neighbours, not to mention the added regulatory burden facing the UK music export market frankly doesn’t bear thinking about.  As UK Music’s Jo Dipple reminds us in a recent CBI report – the UK is a net global exporter of music; 60 per cent of which is exported to Europe and the US.

There are potentially unintended consequences of a Brexit, too.  Almost certainly, incoming visa applications from Europeans would require proof of work – a disincentive for those in industries with low job security, such as the arts, with additional risks of diluting the talent pool in a sector that has particularly benefited from a vibrant cross-cultural mix of creatives.

The EU is far from perfect; current irregularities concerning withholding tax on monies earned in other member states peculiar only to the UK and Sweden, to the detriment of rightsholders and collection societies, is just another example of further reforms required of an EU in need of urgent reform.

Over the coming weeks, we hope to be able to facilitate some debate on this topic via the ‘Comment’ link below; equally we’d be pleased to receive any and all comments.

1 for the curious… chemicals, automotive, financial services and mechanical engineering, more…


Editorial by Jonathan Robinson




Please spend a few minutes of your time updating us with your views about the EU and the UK music industry…

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