'An EU trade deal is the top priority': UK music industry reacts to Boris Johnson's election triumph

'An EU trade deal is the top priority': UK music industry reacts to Boris Johnson's election triumph

The votes have been counted and Conservative leader Boris Johnson has been returned to Downing Street with a large majority.

While the Prime Minister’s pro-Brexit stance has never been popular among the music industry or artists, trade bodies did acknowledge that the clear result would provide business with more certainty. The pound and shares surged upon the result.

Outgoing UK Music CEO Michael Dugher called on the new government to draw up a comprehensive music strategy as a top priority. He outlined the music industry’s key concerns before the Johnson government maps out its legislative plans in the Queen’s Speech, which is expected to take place in the next few weeks.

“Congratulations to the newly elected government,” said Dugher. “Hopefully this will now deliver the stability we need to get things done, including a new and comprehensive strategy to support music.”

He added: “There now needs to be a laser-like focus from the new government on boosting music in education to ensure we can produce creators and stars across every sector of the music business to nurture the talent pipeline on which our industry relies. The Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce an ‘arts premium’ at secondary schools is a welcome step.

“Ministers also need to make good on their pledge to help protect small music venues by delivering on their pre-election promises to cut the soaring business rates bills faced by so many venues.”

“The UK music industry is a fantastic success story both here at home and around the world,” said Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards. “If the relentless creativity and commercial ingenuity of our artists and labels can be backed by the incoming government with some simple but effective support, we can take this success to the next level; growing our international trade, supporting access to music in schools, and boosting the industry’s contribution to employment and the economy by better protecting the valuable IP we create. We congratulate the new administration and we will be actively engaging with them on this agenda.”

MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick called on the government to implement the measures in the Copyright Directive and commit to transparency and fairer remuneration for creators.

“The UK cannot afford to fall behind on these vital reforms,” she said.

There now needs to be a laser-like focus from the new government on boosting music in education

Michael Dugher

Paul Pacifico, CEO of AIM, said: “With a strong majority and the opportunity for a fresh start, we look forward to engaging with the new government across our key issues for creative entrepreneurs in music including copyright and support mechanisms for small business in our sector which is so important to the UK both in terms of commerce and culture.”

Johnson has pledged to meet his Brexit deadline of January 31. But the government then has less than a year to complete an EU trade deal by the end of 2020, unless there is an extension.

“This clear result should help move the country beyond the Brexit impasse and provide the UK with a much-needed period of political stability,” said Taylor. “We hope the government will use this platform to deliver a trade deal with the EU that minimises barriers to trade, including simple travel arrangements for UK performers, and new trade deals with third countries to boost our music exports.”

Coldrick said: “Following the Conservative victory last night, the music industry will want to ensure that British artists‘ immense cultural impact is secured post-Brexit. Changes to our terms of trade with Europe and associated free movement directly impact on our international artists’ livelihoods, as well as their managers based here, many of whom are EU citizens. In future we want to see the most open trade deals possible with our closest neighbours, which address increased costs for touring and support artists to continue to build their relationships with their fans all over the world.”

“It is vital that the Prime Minister makes securing a trade deal with the EU a top priority,” added Dugher. “That deal needs to ensure that artists, creators and everyone involved with the UK music industry can move around the EU to do their jobs. It must also make sure that we have a legal framework to make the UK the world’s best place to make content. Copyright should be protected and enhanced in any new trade deals.”

Pacifico said: “We know from this result that the process towards Brexit will now accelerate. It is AIM’s priority to ensure our members are as prepared as possible. The unfortunate truth is that the grassroots SMEs and entrepreneurs of our economy face the greatest impact on their businesses, so we call on this new government to give our members the support they need to ensure we avoid a Brexit that just suits big business.” 

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: “Among other priorities, including implementing an education policy which guarantees the creation of future musical talent, an all-encompassing deal which will protect every aspect of the musician’s working life post-Brexit must be put in place. This includes everything from a two-year, multi-entry visa to ensuring that musicians can take their instruments easily across the channel to work in the EU.”

The biz’s attention will also turn to the appointment of a new Culture Secretary. Nicky Morgan stepped down as an MP at the election.

“We look forward to the speedy appointment of a new Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport,” said Dugher. “We desperately need some continuity in that post and UK Music stand ready to work with them to ensure our world-leading music industry goes from strength to strength.”

The industry will also hope that music-friendly Nigel Adams remains as Minister Of State for Sport, Media & Creative Industries.

“Post-election we hope that Nigel Adams, who has a strong understanding of the music business, remains in the Department for Culture,” said Coldrick. “MMF will also be pushing the new Government to implement its manifesto commitments to help grassroots venues, and to ensure it is active in ensuring that consumers are protected in ticket resale in light of Viagogo's proposed acquisition of StubHub.”

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