The Association of Independent Music (AIM), the trade body representing the UK’s independent music sector, has called for the UK Government and EU representatives to negotiate improved post-Brexit regulations for touring musicians and crew on the continent.
The move follows a report that Government rejected a Brexit agreement with the EU that would have enabled artists to undertake 90-day visa-free tours of the continent, a decision labelled “utter insanity” by the Music Managers Forum.
The Government issued a statement in response to the allegations denying it turned down a bespoke arrangement from the EU to allow musicians to work and perform in member states: “The UK Government has and always will support ambitious arrangements for performers and artists to be able to work and tour across Europe.
“As suggested by the creative arts sector, the UK proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff, through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors. This would have allowed musicians and support staff to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work permits.
“Unfortunately, the EU repeatedly refused the proposals we made on behalf of the UK’s creative arts sector. We are clear that our door remains open should the EU change its mind. We will endeavour to make it as straightforward as possible for UK artists to travel and work in the EU.”
AIM said, “Both the UK and the EU are now left with arguably the least desirable outcome despite both sides professing the importance of musicians and crew to continue to be able to work and tour easily, post-Brexit. Currently a touring party from the UK working in the EU faces more administrative costs and barriers than others from ‘third countries’, which doesn’t seem to fit the stated intention of close partnership with our nearest neighbours.”
The organisation said it is liaising with the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) to push for a more advantageous outcome for touring artists and crew. It said it is also working with DCMS to produce a country-by-country guide of accurate and practical information to help musicians and crews who travel, work and tour around Europe.
AIM CEO Paul Pacifico added, “Much about Brexit is not as the UK music industry wanted and there are, inevitably, complexities to the UK’s new relationship with the EU. However, it is essential that we focus on real issues where they arise, such as work permits, VAT and data, and work with Government and EU counterparts to fix them. We must remain disciplined and focussed to ensure the music industry makes the most of every opportunity in spite of these problematic areas whilst we continue to push for a better outcome.”