The Incorporated Society of Musicians comment on the urgent need to… Jump to main content

The Incorporated Society of Musicians comment on the urgent need to make a deal and keep musicians touring after Brexit

Commenting on the urgent need for the government to make a deal and keep musicians touring after Brexit, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

‘We welcome confirmation that the government is negotiating reciprocal arrangements with the EU which will enable musicians to travel easily to Europe so that they can tour and perform. The music sector has been devastated by COVID-19 and many musicians have not worked since March. It is vital that the music sector is not hit by a double whammy of COVID-19 and a no deal Brexit. Post the transition period musicians must be able to tour with ease and without being subject to unwieldy bureaucracy as we begin the economic recovery from Coronavirus. The loosening of political ties as we leave the EU should have no bearing on cultural ones.

‘Research by the ISM shows that Europe is one of the most important marketplaces for touring and other professional work, with nearly 45 per cent of musicians earning up to half of their earnings in the European Union. With musicians livelihoods on the line, we are calling on the UK government to go full steam ahead and not to be deflected in securing a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU. A no deal Brexit would cause significant disruption to the music industry, which contributes £5.2 billion to the economy and plays a crucial role in the UK’s worldwide influence.’

Notes to Editors

  • In the House of Lords yesterday (10 September), the Government confirmed that they ‘aim to negotiate reciprocal arrangements which will facilitate businesses, including musicians and groups of musicians, to deliver their services within the EU.’
  • Read our Parliamentary Briefing (including our recommendations for government).
  • In May, the ISM released a report on the impact of Brexit, which highlighted the dual threat faced by the music industry from Brexit and Coronavirus. Europe is one of the most important marketplaces for touring and other professional work. Our research found that:

    o 44% of respondents earn up to half of their earnings in the EU/EEA (54% in 2016)
    o 43% travelled to the EU more than five times a year (39% in 2018)
    o 32% spend more than 30 days in the EU for work (41% in 2018)
  • Our survey also found that over half the music workforce have identified Brexit as having a negative impact on their professional work – a year-on-year increase since 2016. There is now a trend in no longer engaging UK passport holders in Europe because it is now too uncertain.
  • In July, the ISM responded to the government’s post-Brexit immigration plan.
  • The UK music industry is a global success story, contributing £5.2 billion to the economy, generating £2.7 billion in export revenue and sustaining over 191,000 full-time jobs. Music plays a vital role in the UK’s second-place ranking in the Portland Soft Power 30 Index.
  • The Office for National Statistics found that the arts, entertainment & recreation is the sector worst affected by coronavirus. Music, performing and visual arts are projected to lose £11 billion in revenue (-54%) and 57% of jobs (178,000).

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession. We support over 10,000 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

For media enquiries, please contact [email protected] or 0207 313 9312