EU! Outside! Now! Why the Copyright Directive battle is the biz's wake-up call for Brexit

EU

The Copyright Directive victory last week may have showed the value of European Union membership, but no one on this side of the English Channel can allow themselves to get too used to such privileges.

Which is why, as we pack the phrases “Article 13” and “value gap” away in the great dictionary graveyard, the UK music business needs to divert its efforts towards other, less pleasurable European matters.

As the prospect of a cliff-edge Brexit looms, it’s vital that musicians and their representatives don’t wake up on March 30 without a clue how they'll go about their business in the future

Because, like it or not, Brexit is coming. In 193 days (that’s just over six months), the UK will lose the EU comfort blanket and anyone working in the international business of music – and that’s pretty much everyone these days – will have to face up to a whole new world.

Given that the UK government doesn’t yet have a workable deal in place, it’s understandable that music businesses have yet to grasp the nettle. And if the City doesn’t know what’s going on yet, the creative industries may have a long wait for concrete information. But as the prospect of a cliff-edge Brexit looms ever larger, it’s vital that musicians and their representatives don’t wake up on March 30 without a clue how they'll go about their business in the future.

Lobbying government will remain crucial, of course. But music trade bodies need to bring the same laser focus they trained on Article 13 over the last few weeks to a workable plan for music, should the worst-case scenario become a reality.

How will bands tour the continent? How will import/export of physical product function if tariffs are imposed? What will replace EU funding for those music businesses that rely upon it? These, and many other questions, all need answers, and it would be a mistake to rely on Theresa May and her merry band of Brexiteers to provide them.

Article 13 showed that the music biz can win in Europe. It’s going to take an even bigger effort to pull this victory off, so don’t delay: plan your Brexit strategy today…

* Get the new issue of Music Week, out today (September 17) for our analysis of the Copyright Directive vote, and what has to happen next for it to become UK law. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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