You will know that Theresa May has signed, sealed and delivered the letter for the UK to leave the EU (Triggered Article 50). What does this actually mean for the UK music scene and for aspiring artists?
Under current EU law, and specifically the principle of free movement of people, UK residents are free to travel, work and reside in any other EU country. EU membership also confers many automatic rights and protections, such as access to health services, cancelled flight compensation and the right to be paid at the same rate as local DJs. If a UK citizen gets a DJ gig in Europe, you don’t need a visa or a permit, you don’t need to prove you’re a performer, crossing national borders is simple, you’ll receive medical care if needed and you can drive a car in Europe if you’ve passed your test.
Luckily, the government has addressed this concern and have reassured the music scene that this is something that will be part of their negotiations. Hopefully, we will be able to secure agreements with main EU members so that our rights to work without a visa in their countries remain.
On the topic of work, travel may become a little more expensive. Not to go into too much detail but flights around Europe are currently relatively cheap because we are part of the EU. Once we leave, prices for flights around the EU may increase due to air transport regulations and border control fees. This can obviously impact the travel budgets of bands and DJs.
Trading with other EU members is free right now because we are all part of one trading block. Being able to sell physical albums in France, Spain, etc is free for all musicians. As we leave the EU, the trading agreements with other member states may change. One of the biggest challenges for the UK government is ensuring that trading with the EU continues to be stable. Depending on how negotiations work out, this could impact the costs of album distribution across the EU.
Nothing is set in stone as of yet and though we have signed to leave the EU, we will have to go through years of negotiation before it becomes effective. This means that we will not actually see much of a difference for at least the next two years.