With a British exit from the European Union now a reality, the UK music business sets a course for uncharted waters
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The UK could remain in the EU single market – a move that would be welcomed by most in the live biz – following yesterday's shock election result, industries bodies say
By IQ on 09 Jun 2017
The shock result of yesterday’s general election means British prime minister Theresa May has “no clear mandate” for taking the UK out of the European single market, according to a leading creative-industry trade association.
The Creative Industries Federation, a membership organisation for the music, performing arts, and other creative industries, said in a statement this morning that the result of the election – which saw May’s Conservatives emerge as the largest party but fail to secure a majority of seats – could lead to rethink of Brexit.
“Today’s result raises concerns about the political stability of the UK in the short term,” says Federation chief executive John Kampfner. “One thing is beyond doubt, however: Theresa May has seen that there is no clear mandate for the government to negotiate a hard Brexit.
“Federation members were 96% in favour of remaining in the EU when surveyed before the referendum. They saw Brexit is a threat to the continued success of the creative industries, damaging growth and the UK’s global outlook. This general election vote now offers the opportunity to look at the issue again.
“The Federation will push for the UK to remain in the single market and the customs union and against undue restrictions on free movement, which we know will damage the capacity of the creative industries to deliver.”
“Theresa May has seen that there is no clear mandate for the government to negotiate a hard Brexit”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of recorded-industry body BPI, says the result will force any future Conservative government to adopt a “more nuanced position” in the upcoming negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU.
“The general election result creates a political landscape that is considerably more complex,” he comments. “Assuming that the Conservatives form an administration, they will be under some parliamentary pressure to adopt a more nuanced position in the Brexit negotiations, which many in business will welcome.
“However, greater uncertainty over an extended period, with the possibility of a further election before the full parliamentary term, is unlikely to be helpful.”
Taylor says whatever the make-up of the next parliament, lawmakers should make the “creative businesses a priority and ensure a Brexit deal that benefits creative businesses like music by making sure that UK artists can tour freely in EU markets and that UK businesses can access the best talent”.
UK Music, the music-industry umbrella organisation that incorporates the UK Live Music Group, issued a more Brexit-neutral statement restating the importance of putting the music industry at the forefront of negotiations.
“Brexit is clearly the biggest issue facing the country … and we will ensure the interests of our members across the music industry are protected”
“UK Music congratulates all those elected at the general election,” says new CEO – and former Labour MP – Michael Dugher. “Clearly, the dust is settling and the situation will continue to unfold in the coming days, so we await developments.
“But over the coming weeks there will be many discussions about the future direction the country will take. It is paramount that the interests of the music industry are fully considered in those conversations and we look forward to engaging positively and working closely with the new parliament and the next government.
“The political parties each made welcome commitments to build on the successes of creative industries, and music in particular, throughout the election campaign. We will be holding their feet to the fire to ensure that they deliver on those pledges. Brexit is clearly the biggest issue facing the country – and our industry – and we will ensure that the interests of our members across the music industry are protected.”
IQ examined the parties’ manifestoes – and any specific policies affecting the live music business – earlier this week.
“One thing we can take comfort from is that the Conservatives and Labour were very specific in their manifesto commitments to ensure content creators are appropriately rewarded”
Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum (MMF), says the industry can “take comfort” from the fact that both the Conservatives and the opposition Labour party were “very specific in their manifesto commitments to ensure that content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online”.
In addition to lobbying the new government to “tackle the lack of transparency in the digital marketplace”, such as the perceived ‘value gap’ and lack of fair remuneration for artists from streaming, Coldrick says the organisation will continue its fight against secondary ticketing through the FanFair Alliance.
“Following the successful FanFair campaign, both parties have publicly committed to ensure the revised law on ticket touting is now properly enforced, and we look forward to working with the new government and the Consumer and Markets Authority [which is investigating four ticket resale sites] to make sure this happens. With the help of politicians it is imperative that we fix these fundamentals for both the live and recorded business, restoring the connection from audience to artist, to properly reward the creative talent on whose shoulders our entire business sits.”
At the time of writing, May (pictured) had reportedly struck a deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – which opposes a ‘hard’ Brexit that see Britain exit the single market – to form a coalition government.
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