Brexit impact on music industry detailed in new study

brexit impact on music
© iStock/Kristina Kokhanova

A report compiled by three universities has highlighted concerns over the impact of Brexit on live music in the UK.

The ‘Birmingham live music and Brexit’ report is the first in a series of studies into live music in the UK’s second largest city, conducted jointly by researchers from Aston University, Birmingham City University and Newcastle University. It compiles the concerns of live music stakeholders over the impact of Brexit on the live music industry, documented at a workshop at Aston in May 2019.

Dr Craig Hamilton, Research Fellow at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, said: “Crucial to exploring the problems, questions and opportunities related to Brexit will be the mapping exercise we have built into our research plans. With so many complex, interrelated parts and relationships to map we will rely on partnerships with local stakeholders to help us gather useful and reliable data. The event that helped generate this report demonstrates the willingness of stakeholders to work with us on this exercise and reveals the potential for growing further key partnerships in the UK.”

The stakeholders expressed concern over an array of potential challenges posed by Brexit to the UK’s live music and entertainment sectors. Several respondents drawing attention to the impact of the removal of freedom of movement occasioned by the UK’s leaving the EU, which is likely to mean a decrease both in the number of artists and productions visiting the UK from Europe and in ‘music tourism’, whereby EU residents visit the UK specifically to attend live music events.

Birmingham Music Coalition founder Lyle Bignon, said: “Birmingham’s music community – from a long and vibrant music heritage right through to the exciting contemporary scenes producing global stars such as Jorja Smith, Lady Leshurr, Chris Lorenzo, and Jaykae – is built on the very principle of freedom of movement; artistically, economically and socially…[w]e urge the music industry and academia regionally and nationally, local and central government, and supporters and fans of music everywhere to come together to support this important research and identify opportunities to develop and progress, in order to safeguard a hugely valuable element of society.”

The stakeholders who contributed to the report highlighted a number of additional concerns over Brexit’s impact on music in the UK, including:

  • The increased cost of the administrative side of touring in EU Member States may deter smaller music artists from playing outside the UK;
  • Production companies providing concert equipment, lighting, staging and tour management may see significant losses, with jobs potentially moved to EU Member States to save money; and
  • The UK’s summer festival scene is expected to face rising costs and ‘heavy’ financial losses in 2020, due to the disruption Brexit will cause to supply chains and artist movement.

Dr Patrycja Rozbicka, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University who led the report, said: “By bringing a variety of stakeholders together, we aimed to explore the way Brexit is likely to impact everything from the thousands of people who follow and support the live music industry, through to the musicians themselves and the regional authorities that legislate and administrate for cultural economies. This report is the first step in a bigger project which aims to provide much needed creative solutions and recommendations to secure the future of the music industry as we know it pre-Brexit.”

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