The UK voted yesterday in a historic referendum and made the decision to leave the European Union by 51.9%. Not only is the country still hugely divided in opinion, but the immediate reaction came with the pound dropping to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985, followed by Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his resignation earlier this morning.
What implication does Brexit have on the arts industry?
There is one thing that is certain at this time: the outcome and impact of Brexit is unknown. We have summarised several key points from industry experts (as long as we’ve not “had enough” of them yet) and industry professionals, so that we can begin to evaluate the effect on the arts & culture industry as we begin to move forward.
The Association of British Orchestras released their statement earlier today. They noted that the “prospects for the nation’s public finances are worrying, and may affect the implementation of Orchestra Tax Relief, which has not as yet received Royal Assent, and lead to further reductions in public funding for the arts and local authorities.” As well as finances, the ABO also highlight the problems that could be caused by restrictions to freedom of movement across Europe’s borders, which is an incredibly important issue for many orchestras, ensembles and even solo musicians.
Will UK acts require a visa for each country they want to perform in and, in return, will European acts be able to tour through Britain as they did before? Rob Hallett, CEO of Robomagic states: “Anyone who has ever tried to go from the EU into Russia to perform will be having nightmares about six-hour border crossings with additional, expensive days off between shows in order to allow for possible delays.” (Music Week). As well as touring and performing restrictions, there will be serious implications for copyright protection throughout Europe (Billboard). BPI’s Geoff Taylor previously stated that as the music business is founded on copyright, copyright rules are fundamental to its future success.
Arts and culture businesses will feel the consequences amongst their employees, as they often have a high percentage of European staff. Universal Music and Beggars Group has previously stood up to encourage the remain in the EU and warned that “a victory for Brexit would be economically, politically, socially and culturally disastrous – for all of us” (Music Business Worldwide).
Here at WildKat PR, we are a truly international company. We have offices in London, Berlin and New York. Our team is made up of people from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and the US. Our clients are based all across the world. We are very lucky to enjoy the perks of European travel and a multi-national community. As with many other businesses in the arts & culture industry, we are anxious to hear what will come from this result.
The UK arts & culture industry has responded in the same way as most, with hope yet concerns for the future:
“Referendum result – Royal College of Music remains committed to our global community of talented students and staff” – The Royal College of Music
“We are very, very good at adapting and surviving. I am absolutely convinced that the British music scene will put its best foot forward and come out of this in the best possible state. But that’s not the same thing as saying, ‘It’s all fine for everyone’.” – Stephen Maddock, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
“Within the UK, we will play our part in helping to bridge divides within and between the nations and regions of the country.” – John Kampfner, Creative Industries Federation
“The worst outcome for our members will be additional uncertainty, bureaucracy and expense, allied to a worsening of their financial viability. The ABO’s next step is to build on our existing good relations with the government and engage positively with whichever Ministers take responsibility from here on, to ensure the best possible outcome for our members.” – Association of British Orchestras
Not only the music industry will be affected by Brexit; the entertainment industry is heavily reliant on funds from the EU. Hit series Game Of Thrones relies, amongst others, on an injection of money from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, which is designed to stimulate economic growth across the EU (The Guardian). With these funds cut off, hundreds of jobs created by the series in Northern Ireland are in danger. Game Of Thrones is, of course, only the most popular of a wide range of projects that have until now received funding from the EU in order to keep them running.
With the decision made, the United Kingdom will now face major changes with an unpredictable outcome.
What are the biggest positives and challenges that Brexit will bring? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @WildKatPR.