How Does The E.U Affect The Music Business?

By Sumit Rehal

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On June 23, the fate of Britain’s economy and society lays in the hands of millions of Brits that will vote whether to stay in the European Union or leave during the E.U. Referendum

Hundreds of industries could be shaken up if the Brexit happens, we examine how the music universe will be affected as a result.

1. Artist Visas

With the current law of freedom of movement for work in all E.U. states, U.K. musicians and staff don’t need to apply for visas if they are popping to Paris for the weekend to play a gig or heading to Amsterdam to produce a track. This would be subject to change depending on what sort of deal Britain gets if they opt out this summer. This could mean that working Visas may be needed for each trip to Europe.

2. Fan Visas

Just as they case for the artist, fans may need a visa for each country that they travel to in Europe for when they see their favourite artists throughout the years. At the moment, there is no confirmation on what deal citizens will get if Britain is not part of the E.U.

3. New Acts

For most young and upcoming acts, touring is the most effective way to build a brand. The ease of country hopping in Europe without the need of extra documentation as made it simple for bands to build a name on the continent. Musicians on both sides of the channel may find it harder to trade with the change of laws brought about in future. For workers who are not in the EU, a Schengen visa costs €60 per person. Four band members, a driver and tour manager puts an extra £300 on the cost of a tour.

4. Tax

The price of buying tracks and merchandise online could also increase for both people in the UK buying from Europe, and people in Europe buying from the UK. At the moment, consumers don’t have to pay VAT or customs duty on imports and exports within the EU, but leaving the E.U. may change this. Digital downloads could be affected too. Artists currently selling downloads don’t have to register for VAT in every EU country.

5. Travel Costs

The single aviation area gives airlines freedom to fly across and since its introduction passengers have seen fares fall by around 40 per cent and routes increase by 180 per cent. Should a Brexit occur, today’s affordable trips to the Continent might well be unsustainable. The effect on airfares will depend on how, and to what extent, a post-EU Britain chooses to replicate its existing access to the EU single aviation market.

It remains to be seen exactly how the laws will pan out if Britain decides to leave, however it’s undoubted that there will be a lot to think about amongst the policy makers of both the U.K. and Europe going forward.

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