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UK Music Chief Warns Post-Brexit Touring Barriers Threaten Talent Pipeline

UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl warns of the challenges facing musicians and crew touring the EU post-Brexit and the threat to the some of the UK's emerging talent.

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07.12.2023: UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl has warned of the continuing challenges facing musicians and crew touring the EU post-Brexit and the threat to some of the UK’s emerging talent.

In an interview with whynow, he outlined the consequences for the UK’s music industry as a result of limiting freedom of movement within the EU, particularly for those starting out on their careers and trying to build their fanbase.

Tom said: “You’ve got to recognise the fact that when it comes to post-Brexit EU touring, larger players will have the resource to find workarounds, and the smaller bands will find it far more difficult to navigate or just decide not to do that international touring.

“It’s probably quite premature to really assess the impact yet, but if you’re a band and artist at the early stage of your career, you’ll be wanting to tour all the time, and the European market is one you would have previously exploited positively, and built fanbases and learnt your craft.

“Because we’ve only left for two or so years, the legacy issues still need to be worked out, but we’re particularly concerned from the smaller-scale artist’s point of view, and just how potentially difficult it is.”

UK Music is calling for a number of measures to improve the situation including a UK Cultural Touring Agreement to cut red tape, establishment of a Music Export Office to offer bands more logistical support and action over the rule that limits work to 90 days within a 180-day period in The Schengen Area.

Tom said: “Even for more established gigging musicians, you’ve got this 90-in-180-day rule around Brexit, which is a big issue. So if you work with a particular artist, or have a particular relationship with a country, within three months, you’re already hitting the deadline for how long you should be in that country.

“[UK Music is asking] for a settlement or some kind of exemption on that, which takes cultural workers outside of that problem, because that’s a very clear immigration issue. Unfortunately, we’ve been captured within that when really the nature of touring musicians is very different.

“So there are some quite unique characteristics of touring and being a musician that need to be taken into account more. Obviously, it was very regrettable that when they did the [Brexit] deal, it didn’t have a specific agreement in relation to [these] issues.”

You can read more in the full whynow article here.

Read more about UK Music’s EU touring proposals in the Manifesto for Music here.

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