Brexit. Everybody’s least favourite word, turned into a viral soundbite for most of the last year. With the June snap election looming, many are wondering what the music industry is going to look like.
The fallout from the vote itself was instantaneous. With the pound dropping and prices increasing for music downloads, equipment and potentially even live event tickets. This hits not only artists, but the general public as well. The UK music industry has had an interesting time in the last decade. Having to constantly adapt to new technological advances and new methods of consumption. So it is understandable that many are worried about what impact leaving the EU will have on the industry. While nothing is completely certain as of yet, there are mixed opinions.
What does this mean for the industry?
The music industry in the UK has generated billions of pounds in recent years and is one of the biggest exporters of new music in the world. If the talks of Brexit bringing more freedom to British laws are to be believed. Then this could be protected and encouraged. We will have to wait and see on that front, though. The UK music industry currently makes up a quarter of the European market. The uk can definitely hold its own, It has always been more of a global industry. Demand for top British artists like Adele and Ed Sheeran staying as high as ever. Maybe with more investment from our government, we could see even more home grown acts explode and perform. As well as the others over the world, keeping the industry thriving.
One clear downside to Brexit will be in the form of Vinyl and CD sales. A lot of those are produced outside of the UK. Britain could even be faced with increased tariffs on musical goods coming in, depending on what kind of trade deal we can negotiate. This could have a knock on effect with digital sales, as well. The weaker currency may cause services like iTunes to increase their prices. Driving more and more people towards streaming and away from actually buying music. On that point, even paid streaming subscriptions could go up, so more people may stick to the ‘freemium’ packages, where possible.
Industry wise, a lot of people employed within the UK music industry come from other countries, and a lot from Europe. Hopefully we will know sooner rather than later, but if they aren’t protected and are forced to go home, that will cause a fluctuation of music industry talent to leave the country. It may even drive some European companies with UK offices to close and move abroad.
One thing that may change is with music licensing, as if countries are licensing something for use in the entire European territory, they may now have to do another separate license for the UK. When it comes to royalties, Britain does have its own collection societies, with the main one being PRS for music. It works with other agencies across Europe, so Brexit may not limit the royalty collection process much, which is a strong source of income for UK musicians.
Brexit is certainly taking Britain and the UK music industry into uncharted waters, but as it is such a strong and global industry, it is likely to continue to thrive, despite potential future hardships. There really is no way to know until we hear more about Theresa May’s negotiations with the EU, but I am sure that many are hoping that it remains as strong as ever, and we see another generation of incredible UK talent emerge.