After years of negotiation, a trade deal was struck at the eleventh hour, which is good news.
The biggest issues for the sector post Brexit include touring, employment restrictions on EU nationals and trading arrangements for physical music, as well as of course influencing EU decisions that will continue to have an impact.
Together with IAO, IMPALA recently released a proposal for a GECAT Pass (for Geographical European Cultural Area Touring), with the idea to get small and medium sized music tours back on the road quickly and efficiently. The approach involves creating a new cultural area with a single touring permit, instead of treating Europe as a number of distinct blocs and countries.
In parallel, IMPALA continues to work alongside AIM to support labels in the UK, and of course continental European companies in their relations with their UK partners. IMPALA and AIM have issued a joint call on UK and EU officials to get back to negotiating table and ensure visa-free touring across Europe. It cannot be that UK musicians and crews touring in Europe face more burdens than even some “third country” nationals. IMPALA will keep pushing hard for an outcome that recognises the contribution of touring musicians and their crews to European culture and allows them to continue to tour all across Europe seamlessly.
IMPALA’s position is that the European music market is not defined by the EU and includes the whole of the UK. This is just like Europe for football or athletics – they are not organised around the EU. IMPALA worked hard with AIM to ensure that independent voices – both in the UK and the EU – are heard. Back in October 2018, IMPALA supported a set of recommendations to ensure that the cultural and creative sectors don’t lose out from Brexit. Although a trade deal is in place, we still have to work hard to minimise disruption to the cultural and creative sectors, whether it’s music, design, audiovisual, visual arts, performing arts, or publishing. There are many issues: legal, touring, staff, mobility, funding, copyright, competition, as well as trade of course, with VAT and customs declarations for example, proving complex.
A real sector-specific approach when it comes to music, is important to allow the European music market to operate without being constrained by the membership or non-membership to the EU.
European independent labels often work with multiple organisations and artists outside of their home country: a publisher here, a distributor there, session musicians elsewhere, etc. It’s a very good example of how we contribute to make Europe’s cultural diversity so unique. Any limitation of movement of people and goods, notably via trade barriers, will impact that. It’s good news that a trade deal was struck at the eleventh hour, but limitations on workers remain an issue, as does the question of access to EU-funded programmes.
Copyright is also an issue. The 2019 directive won’t be implemented in the UK despite the country voting in favour of the directive, at member state level and in the European Parliament. Many UK members fought extremely hard for more than three years, they took risks to make sure the copyright directive would be approved. And now, it’s unlikely creators from their own country will be able to benefit from it. With such strong cultural sectors, however, there is a strong incentive for the UK to update its laws in line with the directive.
We have also recorded a podcast episode on this topic with Jane Golding, IMPALA’s regulatory lawyer and Mark Kitcatt from Everlasting Records, Spain – listen to it here.
IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association
Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM
+32 2 503 31 38