Artists and leading music bodies sign open letter to scrap Brexit deal

"We need to make sure we don’t isolate ourselves from our wider cultural family"

A lengthy list of UK artists and leading music music bodies have signed an open letter calling for the current Brexit deal to be scrapped in a bid to prevent serious damage to the industry.

With parliament currently in a state of great disarray after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was met with mass opposition, she now returns to European leaders to ‘clarify’ some of the more contentious issues.

However, artists including Annie Lennox, Enter Shikari, The LibertinesCarl Barat, Nadine Shah, Billy Bragg and Blur‘s Dave Rowntree have spoken out, lending their names and voices to an open letter along with leading music bodies such as The Musicians Union, The Association of Independent Music, Music Managers Forum, British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors and the Music Producers Guild, and management companies that represent the likes of At The Drive-In, Ed Sheeran and many more.

In the letter, they argue that “Brexit represents a significant threat to the UK’s Music Industry” and that “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” and that “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.”

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Read the letter in full below:

“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 £2.5 billion, which is growing fast in a global digital music business. Live music is at the heart of every artist’s business and contributed around £1bn 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 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 canceled, 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.”

Get Cape.Wear Cape.Fly

“Rarely do so many factions within the music industry unite on any subject, but Music4EU’s signatory list so far is a clear indication of the level of concern over the current mess, and how widely it impacts every corner of this sector,” said Commenting, Sammy Andrews, CEO of Deviate Digital, and co-organiser of Music4EU. “Brexit is an unmitigated disaster for Britain’s world-leading music industry.”

Meanwhile, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s Sam Duckworth added: “It’s a connected age, where diminishing rights and barriers to trade should be a thing of the past. We need to make sure we don’t isolate ourselves from our wider cultural family. Be it sharing a stage, a marketplace or as part of a team, Brexit is causing mass uncertainty.

“Music is a big part of the economy and is the front line of the warm British welcome. It is essential that we are given clear guidelines, promises and safeguards for this to continue.”

See the full list of signatories below:

Paloma Faith
Alan McGee
Annie Lennox
Nick Mason – Pink Floyd
Chrissie Hynde
Carl Barat – The Libertines
Nadine Shah
Stuart Camp – Grumpy Old Management
Dave Rowntree – Blur
Association of Independent Music (AIM)
Beggars Group
Billy Bragg
Music Managers Forum (MMF)
Public Service Broadcasting
Enter Shikari
David Arnold
Jamie Cullum
Musicians Union (MU)
Music Producers Guild (MPG)
Featured Artist Coalition (FAC)
Fran Healy – Travis
Broadwick Live
Kilimanjaro Live
Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
Coda
Boomtown Festival
Nitin Sawhney
Fleet River Management
Solo Agency
British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA)
Blood Red Shoes
British Sea Power
Get Cape Wear Cape Fly
Ben Robinson – From The Fields – Blue Dot / Kendal Calling
Ed Harcourt
Cll Jon Tolley – Banquet Records
Lightning Seeds
Stephen Budd
The Subways
Red Grape music
Peggy Seeger
David Manders – Liquid management
Beach Riot
Ralph Lawson – 20/20 vision recordings
Craig Jennings – Raw Power
Danny Goffey – Supergrass
Revered And The Makers
Mark Davyd
Sammy Andrews – Deviate Digital
Cliff Fluet
Emma Greengrass
Simon Esplen
Alistair Norbury
Paloma Faith
Marillion
Emmy The Great
Danielle Perry – Miss Perry Presents Ltd
Cannibal Hymns
Tigercub
Stephen Taverner – East City Management
Carwyn Ellis – Pretenders
Band Of Skulls
Chris Carey – Media Insight Consulting and FastForward
Ros Earls – 104db management
Jonathan Wood – Ooosh! Tours Ltd
Peter Quicke – Ninja Tune
Laurence Bell – Domino Recording Company
John Giddings – Solo Agency
Amy Bee Sting- Oh My God! It’s The Church
Bill Ryder-Jones
Ellie Giles – Step Music Management
Kevin Fleming – Warp Records
Andy Edwards
Mick Patterson
Kat Kennedy – Big Life Management

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Earlier this year, Damon Albarn, Rita Ora, Jarvis Cocker and Ed Sheeran are among the UK music names to have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May in protest of Brexit – arguing that it will turn Britain into a ‘cultural jail‘. The letter was drafted by Sir Bob Geldof and also signed by the likes of  Brian Eno, Bobby Gillespie, Johnny Marr, Nick Mason, Alan McGee, William Orbit, Neil Tennant, Roger Taylor, Paul Simon and Sting.

This comes after September saw a similar warning from British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The BPI said that a “strong” agreement with the EU is needed to ensure that the financial impact of  music imports and exports is not negatively impacted by Britain’s EU exit.

This is after the BPI revealed record exports for 2017 – an eighteen year high of £408m.  When broken down, the figures show that one in eight albums purchased across the globe in 2017 was by a UK artist.

Stressing the importance of a strong Brexit deal, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “Our music not only enriches the lives of fans around the world, it makes a major contribution to the UK economy through overseas sales and by attracting numerous visitors to the UK.”

The CEO of UK Music has also said that Brexit threatens to deliver a “hammer blow to the development of future, world-leading talent“.