Live & Touring

BREXIT VOTE TODAY: How A UK Exit From European Union Would Affect Global Music Industry

UK flagToday we should learn if the UK will leave the European Union. Recent polls show the vote could go either way. But how would a Brexit affect the music industry? We look at the impacts from touring artists to fans travelling to gigs and much more. READ AND JOIN THE DISCUSSION:


How will a UK exit from the global music industry?

The major aspects of the music and events industries which could be affected by Britain leaving the EU include: working visas, tax paid on records and merchandise, the touring ability of smaller acts, travel costs, and British fans being able to attend concerts in Europe.

The research looked at each:

  • eu flagWorking Visas: At the moment, artists travelling to the UK require a work permit. However, UK bands don't currently need a working visa to perform in an EU country, as EU membership gives us all the right to work in any country within the EU. If Brexit happens, this could all change and touring Europe could require a working visa.
  • Tax: The cost of buying records 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, you don't have to pay VAT or customs duty on imports and exports within the EU, but Brexit may change this.
  • Digital downloads could be affected too. Artists currently selling downloads don't have to register for VAT in every EU country.
  • Developing acts: The people who would be affected the most by Brexit are smaller acts who rely on touring Europe or heading to European festivals to gain exposure. Bands will only be able to tour if a promoter makes them an offer to perform, and with the additional paperwork, European promoters may be less inclined to bother with smaller acts. For artists who are not in the EU, a Schengen visa costs €60 per person (£45 to £50 depending on the current exchange rate). Four band members, a driver and tour manager puts an extra £300 on the cost of a tour.
  • Travel costs: The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has already warned that Brexit could be a disaster for the travel industry, both for tourists and business travel. The knock-on effects for the music industry – where fans travel as tourists and bands travel as businesses – could be significant. Thanks to Britain’s current membership in the EU, it enjoys the EU-US open skies regulations, which mean flights between EU countries and the US are cheaper, more regular, and can be done to and from far more destinations. However, this could change if Britain leaves the EU.
  • Fans travelling abroad for concerts: In 2015, 75% of ticket sales through Ticketbis were for events outside of the UK and in 2014 80% of sales were for events outside of the UK. These sales figures show how popular travelling abroad to see your favourite artists is with music fans in the UK.

“It is difficult to say until the votes are in and new agreements are made, but Brexit could have a huge impact on the music industry in the UK and on music fans across the globe," says Jaime de Miguel from Ticketbis. “Over half (54%) of ticket sales through Ticketbis for events in the UK in 2016 have been from international fans that travel to the UK to attend music events. If the UK was to leave the EU these figures could be seriously affected and opportunities for fans to see their favourite artists live could be slashed.”

Related articles

Key Spotify Exec Exits
Apple Beats Deal Gets EU Commission Approval
Protests Against EU Border Closures in Germany & Italy
Apple's New Streaming Service May Be Facing A Rough Start In Europe
Did Spotify Leak Their Own Sony Contract?
REWIND: The New Music Industry's Week In Review
Brit Awards 205 – A Full List Of Winners
Lucian Grainge To Helm Universal Music Thru "at least 2020" – Full Text Of Announcement

Share on:


  1. So in the “old days” not having EU was affecting the music industry. Does this mean if we had had EU in the 60′ the Beatles, Rolling Stones etc would be much bigger than they are.
    This is such a bullshit. Of course, leaving EU will have some impact to start with but in the long run it is best for everyone in the UK.

  2. I whole heartedly agree.
    There will be short term pain, but following that our music industry will become more unique. Exiting will pay dividends later on for our music industry, short term pain, long term gain.

  3. I’d love to hear you guys explain to me how as a two piece outfit touring Europe for 6 months a year I will find I benefit from us leaving the UK. I can’t see any benefit at all so would be really interested to know what it is. Lots of pals in the same situation including EU musicians living and playing in UK.

  4. Don’t forget we will still have the same deals for 2 years following a brexit, should it happen. This would give everybody involved a chance to make new deals etc, sometimes better than what we have already got now. The Germans and French and others still want us to visit their countries otherwise their fragile economies would struggle even more than they are now. Spain and Greece practically live off the back of tourism, so why would these countries make it difficult for us to travel and spend our money to prop them up.

  5. Apparently you don’t know the difference between “affect” and “effect”!

  6. Hate to state the obvious, but the world has changed somewhat in the last 56 years. That’s two generations. The internet wasn’t a thing in 1960. Small independent bands having the opportunity to tour Europe wasn’t much of a thing either. Technology has brought the world closer together and trying to argue that we’re better off alone is laughable. No, you’re right, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones probably couldn’t have got any ‘bigger’ in any event. But that band your mate from down the road started in his garage might have done. They might have scraped the money together to tour Europe and find their audience (as so many of my own friends’ bands have recently).

  7. In the old days people bought records. You have to tour Europe now.
    Source: 7 years of touring. 10 years in industry. Industry consultant.

  8. Sorry, but the German and French economies are far from ‘fragile.’ They are both stronger economies than the UK, especially Germany which is the strongest in the EU. The UK isn’t far behind, but studies show that the gap will widen if we leave the EU. The EU has taken years to get to this point. In the first two years of leaving, they’re not going to make much progress in the way negotiating artist visas, tourism etc. Most initial negotiations will be centred around trade, and trying to minimise the inevitable damage to our economy – which will take much longer than two years to rebuild.

  9. Do you really think that the Europeans will give us a deal anywhere near as good as we have now? Even if they wanted to they couldn’t or everyone will be queuing to leave. I used to drive goods from Paris to UK before we joined the EEC. The queues at Dover were crazy then to get paperwork done. the amount of traffic across the channel is far, far higher now. This alone would add huge costs to both our imports and exports.
    Touring Europe would be more of a bureaucratic nightmare than touring US is now.

  10. If you were a smaller band pre EU it was a nightmare!! with the Carnet system etc. Only bigger wealthier acts could afford to tour in europe. Things have moved on AJ, it will affect the industry, probably not Mr Cowell and his cronies but hardworking bands who rely on european touring to develop their acts. I’m a promoter in Spain and used to tour as a musician pre EU and I know what I’m talking about first hand.

  11. Aj….for your knowledge The Beatles played and start their career in Germany before be successful in UK and then around the world 😉

  12. We already have stronger rules about material allowed to be played over our airwaves than europe. Artists already do 2 versions of the songs 1 for Europe 1 for Brritain, so leaving isnt going to make any difference.

Comments are closed.