The European music industry is strong enough to survive both coronavirus and Brexit. This is the view of some experts, who argue that the business is simply too big to fail. Their views contrast with stars such as Ed Sheeran, Bob Geldof and Sting, who are not optimistic about the outcome without concerted government action.
Here is a sample of the more positive views put together before negotiators started online talks this week to discuss the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
Jamie Scahill, marketing director of the ticketing platform Skiddle:
Freedom of movement for artists and financial support for emerging talent is key for the future.
The fear is that DJs and bands find it more difficult to come to the U.K., which will have a huge knock on effect on events and festivals. The hope is that the freedom of movement continues and is actively encouraged.
If European funding of music projects is cut and the U.K. government increases this funding, then that could be an advantage.
Max De Lucia, musician and co-founder of the sonic-branding agency DLMdd:
Brexit sees the goalposts move across the political landscape, but with this comes an even greater need for music and sound to act as the world’s universal language. As such, I expect our industries to flourish and prosper.
Britain is one of the world’s standout hotbeds of music and culture.
Commerce today has taken us to a point of complete transactional speed and simplicity. If bureaucracy does emerge, there will no doubt be big business in services that can simplify any convoluted processes.
Vikram Malhotra, founder and CEO of Abundantia Entertainment, producing Amazon Prime shows:
Britain has been an attractive film and entertainment destination, especially for international production houses, not only because of its attractive tax incentives, but the talent and technical pool available from the wider European Union.
I am certain that the industry remains strong and versatile in light of the current situation. If it is to continue to thrive, it will need to openly accept the opportunities available through digital services. The industry will be hit in the short-term, but as demonstrated, will likely remain one of the world’s entertainment hubs for the foreseeable future.
Pete Harris, U.K. head of music at the experiential advertising agency Momentum Worldwide:
There are many unknowns and potential costs for campaigns that are for multiple European markets in light of Brexit affecting the freedom of movement. These limitations will soon have an impact on deals where budgets are tight and contingency funds for significant, and currently unknown additional expenses and complications isn’t available.
Should visas and additional barriers to entry be put in place, brands could play a role in enabling acts to come to countries where they wouldn’t be able to otherwise and become the heroes to the fans there. However, these would be small and piecemeal efforts. If the bands are to be able to build those fan bases in the first place the costs of touring Europe need to be kept as low as possible.
Warren Symonds, director of operations at Gravity Media, a global provider of live broadcast and production services:
Imports from outside of the EU into the U.K. are subjected to more checks and entry declarations. Electronic customs declarations must be submitted, paperwork must be presented to the relevant trade and port health bodies, and payment of import tax and duties must be overseen.
Despite all of this uncertainty, we don’t anticipate there being any major problems that we are unable to overcome, especially with the cushion of the transition period.
Ryan Edwards, founder and CEO of Audoo, a plug-in device to improve royalty distribution:
I hope this presents an opportunity for creatives to gain ownership across the music and entertainment industries. At present, now more than ever, artists now have the tools to own/retain their rights – and we should lead the trend in both the traditional recording process and digital distributions.
Last year, the EU voted to adopt the Copyright Directive to modernise music law. The act provides protection as well as a fair reward for creatives. However, the British government subsequently announced that the directive would not be implemented in the U.K. after Brexit.
Could concert tours or sales become harder, more bureaucratic or expensive? Well, it’s a double-edged sword. Artists are looking to reduce the environmental impact of their tours. For example, Massive Attack is partnering with researchers from Manchester University to map its carbon footprint. This will present an opportunity for British festival organisers to lead the way.
There will be plenty of advantages. The British music industry has always led the charge, with its huge influence over pop, rock, indie, dance and many other genres.
This is the second of two articles about Brexit and the entertainment industry. The first article looked at warnings about freedom of movement.