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Article 50: Botching Brexit means “return to punk”

As Theresa May prepares to deliver the letter that will end the UK's EU membership, industry group UK Music says it's crunch time for the British music biz

By IQ on 29 Mar 2017

Brexit, UK flag, EU flag, UK Music

image © Alexas Fotos

British prime minister Theresa May will today trigger article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, setting in motion the process of Britain’s exit from the EU.

Industry figures and associations, both in the UK and internationally, quizzed by IQ in the run-up to last June’s referendum overwhelmingly expressed a wish to remain in the union, but most were sanguine on British music’s prospects following the 52–48 vote to leave.

Jo Dipple, the chief executive of industry group UK Music, today underlined the importance of putting the music and creative industries first in the two years of negotiation that will follow the triggering of article 50, saying Britain’s new-found independence could be positive for music if negotiators get a good deal for the UK.

“Navigating towards our EU exit in April 2019 will be hard, and government must use its strongest hand to steer,” she comments. “Globally successful, British music offers potent soft power and a ready-made diplomatic language.

“Getting the post EU-framework right for music means more jobs, … bigger export strength, more diplomatic power and more tax revenue”

“Because the UK is the best at music per head, we define our country as being the best too. Ed Sheeran broke the Spotify streaming record; Adele’s 25 sold more copies in just its first week than the other best-selling album of 2015, Taylor Swift’s 1989, sold all year in the US; Stormzy’s album Gang Signs & Prayer was self-released but still managed to hit №1 on the official UK chart.

“The PM committed to offering a unique sector deal to the creative industries. This is the right approach for a sector growing at three times the rate of the rest of the economy [and] which supports one in 11 jobs. We are the future now.

“Ministers need to listen to the creative sector when it talks of the opportunities and challenges ahead. Leaving the EU can’t make our music any less good. It might, though, make the framework for its success a lot stronger. Some of the specifics we highlighted in our own industrial strategy included maintaining and strengthening the current copyright structure, and ensuring ease of movement for musicians and crews when touring Europe.

“Getting the post EU-framework right for music means more jobs, more young people in apprenticeships, bigger export strength, more diplomatic power and more tax revenue flowing in from every city, nation and region. Getting it wrong probably means a return to punk rock.”


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