UK music business remains bullish over international relations following Brexit outcome

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The UK music business remains bullish about working to continue the success of British music internationally following the shock EU referendum outcome on Friday.

52% of the British public voted to leave the European Union, and Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intentions to step down from October.

The music business has been firmly in the remain camp, with Universal Music U.K. boss David Joseph and Beggars Group chief Martin Mills issuing a joint statement on Tuesday reminding employees, artists and fellow execs of the economic, political, social and cultural benefits of the UK staying within the EU.

On Thursday, a cross section of top execs from Secretly Group, Absolute Label Services, Play It Again Sam, WIN, INgrooves, MPA/IMPEL, Cooking Vinyl Group, Official Charts Company, Imagem, Cherry Red and Bella Union told MBW they’d all be voting against Brexit.

However, on Friday the majority of the British population voted against the UK remaining a member of the EU.

The reaction on social media was one of shock, with British artists including Lily Allen, Zayn, Ellie Goulding, Disclosure, Liam Gallagher and Johnny Marr weighing in on the debate.

“Well millennials, we’re really really fucked,” said Allen, while Zayn tweeted: “It’s very sad to see society so fragmented, [especially] in terms of regions, generations and class. We need to pull together now to make it work.”

Goulding was “heartbroken to hear the news,” continuing: “I truly believe this is one of the most devastating things to happen during my lifetime. I felt a fear I’ve never felt this morning.”

Despite the disappointing outcome, a number of music trade associations have issued statements reiterating their commitment to negotiating with the British Government to ensure “unimpeded access” to the EU markets for UK artists and companies, and highlighting the importance of working together to ensure the strength of the British music business internationally is not diminished.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said that while Brexit could result in short-term pain, it could eventually mean “stronger domestic copyright rules” that encourage investment, clamp down harder on piracy and straighten out “copyright loopholes” used by the likes of YouTube.

“Once the short-term political and macro-economic consequences have played out, this decision will mean new priorities for the music industry in our work with Government,” said Taylor.

GeoffOur Government will now have the opportunity to legislate for stronger domestic copyright rules that encourage investment here in the UK, which will protect UK creators from piracy and from tech platforms siphoning off value through copyright loopholes.”

geoff taylor, bpi

“We will, of course, press the Government to swiftly negotiate trade deals that will ensure unimpeded access to EU markets for our music and our touring artists.

“Our Government will also now have the opportunity to legislate for stronger domestic copyright rules that encourage investment here in the UK, which will protect UK creators from piracy and from tech platforms siphoning off value through copyright loopholes.

“We are confident that British music will remain hugely popular across Europe and we will work hard to make sure UK labels are able to capitalise on that demand.”

Alison Wenham, outgoing CEO of AIM and WIN Chief Executive, remains positive about the independent music community’s international footprint.

Alison Wenham“AIM will liaise closely with our members, other trade bodies and colleagues across the music industry to ensure that the strength and standing of the independent music community in the international marketplace is not diminished by these events.”

Alison wenham, aim/win

She said: “Following [the] result on Brexit, AIM will liaise closely with our members, other trade bodies and colleagues across the music industry to ensure that the strength and standing of the independent music community in the international marketplace is not diminished by these events.”

European independent music trade body IMPALA, meanwhile, said AIM’s role within the organisation will “remain key”.

Reads their statement: “Change is on the way that’s for sure, but one thing is clear. The UK music sector will remain a fundamental player in Europe, which of course goes beyond the EU and we will continue to work hard to ensure that Brexit doesn’t interfere with the ability of European citizens to continue to enjoy UK music and vice versa.

“Breaking borders is what our labels do with their artists on a daily basis and that will continue.

“We are all Europeans and AIM’s role within IMPALA will remain key – we have so much to achieve together. We are the European Music Union and we will work hard to make it flourish.”

Andy Heath, Chairman of campaigning and lobbying group UK Music, discussed the “positive opportunity” leaving the EU could present.

“Politics aside, a decision has now been made and it is important to minimise divisions amongst us. We are in a new world and we must move forward positively,” said Heath.

“British music is strong and successful and will remain an essential part of a rich and diverse European culture. We should not be scared by change, we should see it as a positive opportunity.”

andy heath, UK music 

“British music is strong and successful and will remain an essential part of a rich and diverse European culture. We should not be scared by change, we should see it as a positive opportunity.

“We are an export led business and consumers around the world want our music, artists and products. This will not change after [Friday’s] decision.

“UK Music will continue to protect and promote our members, creators and businesses to ensure they are best represented to continue achieving this global success.”

Jo Dipple, UK Music CEO, added: “Clearly there are lots of very important decisions that will be made over the next few weeks.

“We will have a new Prime Minister in the autumn, there will be a new Government and UK Music will work very hard with the new administration to ensure the music industry continues to be well served by the British Government.

“We need a united business voice to ensure that when renegotiations take place, markets continue to serve the music industry. In John Whittingdale, we have a politician who understands the creative and music sectors and will have our best interests at heart.”

jo dipple, uk music

“We need a united business voice to ensure that when renegotiations take place, markets continue to serve the music industry. In [Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport] John Whittingdale, we have a politician who understands the creative and music sectors and will have our best interests at heart.”

Music Business Worldwide

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  • Juan Lauda

    “unimpeded access” to the EU markets

    Good luck with that.