Music biz must unite for best Brexit deal, experts agree

sam duckworth summer of love

A panel of experts from across the music business have called for industry unity to secure the best deal from the government following Brexit.

Talking on a Summer of Love panel organised by artist Sam Duckworth (aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly), John Mottram, PRS for Music’s head of public affairs, said: ‘Don’t play down the significance of your voice in this.

‘In the debate on the future of the UK once we’ve left the EU, there is no plan B. The government doesn’t know what they want for the music industry in three years’ time. They don’t have those ideas yet – they need us to tell them.’

Sammy Andrews, director of Entertainment Intelligence, added: ‘Collectively, as an industry, we need to be in active conversations with the government. I’d like to see all the trade bodies coming together to decide some sort of structure to how we approach this.’

She went on to explain that Britain’s exit from the EU could potentially take years, leaving much uncertainty for the music business.

‘If we’re going to be in a weird limbo we need assurances from our government that they’re going to do everything within their power to help and support us,’ she added. ‘We should be actively pushing them for that.’

The main concerns expressed by the panel, which also included Rhoda Dakar (The Special AKA), Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust) and Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari), centred around the direct benefits the music industry will lose on Britain’s exit from the EU.

These include EU funding, freedom of movement for touring acts and pending EU legislation on safe harbour, which could potentially transform the relationship between rightsholders and digital service providers.

The safe harbour principle allows certain digital service providers to be exempt from liability for unlawful activity on their service – including the uploading and sharing of music without proper permission.

Mottram explained: ‘The European Commission may be about to address this situation for rightsholders. Now we’re leaving the EU we have to go to our government and tell them to pick up that mantle. We should tell them: “You need to be the leaders in this, you need to tackle the issues – it’s your music industry.”‘

He added: ‘The challenge for the industry is to come together quickly, through a body, pick your three wants and say them. We need to negotiate for our top priorities.’

Elsewhere, Davyd from the Music Venue Trust, called for optimism among the confusion. He said that Brexit could provide a good opportunity for the music industry to get together to address its dysfunctions.

He said: ‘You’re going to have three or four years of uncertainty. I know there’s lots of stuff happening that’s utterly bollocks and at this point, I’d definitely go to government. But before we even do that, let’s sort out our own problems. Let’s get our industry into a position where grassroots artists and venues are thriving and the public are re-engaged. We need to redress the balance in our industry and help the top tier see they must support the grassroots. We can change things.’

The panel took place at the MacBeth pub, Hoxton, London, on 11 July. It’s part of a Summer of Love initiative, which will see similar events taking place in cities and suburbs across the UK over the coming months. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/Summeroflove16/

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MPA CEO tells government after Brexit vote: ‘Be gentle with us’