UK Music CEO debates Brexit’s impact on music at MaMA Festival and Convention in Paris

Michael Dugher described Brexit as a very public and complex game of multi-dimensional chess

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19/10/18: UK Music CEO Michael Dugher appeared at MaMA Festival and Convention in Paris on Thursday to debate Brexit’s impact on music.

(L-R) Clementine Bunel (CODA Agency), Isla Angus (ATC Live), Dick Molenaar (All Arts Tax Advisers), Michael Dugher (CEO, UK Music) and Nicholas Madelaine (Les Echos)

He spoke in front of an international audience alongside Annabella Coldrick (CEO, MMF), Isla Angus (ATC Live), Clementine Bunel (CODA Agency) and Dick Molenaar (All Arts Tax Advisers) as part of a panel chaired by Nicholas Madelaine (Les Echos).

With only five months to go until the UK is expected to leave the European Union, the well-timed panel followed key discussions by EU and UK negotiators about extending any transitional phase following Brexit.

UK Music has long argued for the necessity of a transitional phase after Brexit to provide certainty to business and in order for them to make the necessary adjustments.

Michael described Brexit as a very public and complex game of multi-dimensional chess. “Prime Minister Theresa May is not only negotiating with the EU but with her own party and Parliament too” he said.

Specifically on the impact of Brexit on music Michael raised the very practical concerns for international live music touring that will come about through restrictions on freedom of movement following the UK’s departure from the EU. UK Music has long argued for a reciprocal approach to be taken in order to facilitate short term and temporary permissions.

Michael singled out the recent Migration Advisory Committee report into the UK’s future immigration system, arguing “a skills or points based approach for immigration will not work for an industry like music.”

Beyond the live music industry, Michael also highlighted that whilst copyright protections for the UK are strong this is largely due to laws agreed at an EU level and without this backstop the framework is exposed to amendment.

Michael did point out specific opportunities for the music industry following Brexit, notably the ability to cut new free trade deals with other countries like the US and Australia.

The panel followed a presentation delivered by Michael to international delegates at the MaMA convention on the work of UK Music. Michael explained UK Music’s origins, membership, as well as setting out its crucial campaigning, research and skills activities. In particular, Michael explained the challenges facing music venues in the UK which has led to 35% closing in the past decade. He outlined UK Music’s role in achieving agent of change in the new National Planning Policy Framework and how UK Music is succeeding with other campaigns, such as Love Music which is designed to get a fair deal for creators from services like YouTube.

Michael also demonstrated in the presentation how UK Music is engaging positively with new devolved powers to English City Regions to develop local music industries in areas like Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

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