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UK opts for Brexit - could this spell disaster for the music industry?

Daniel Gumble
UK opts for Brexit - could this spell disaster for the music industry?

After months of campaigning on both sides, the people of the UK have voted to leave the EU. And, according to several prominent figures in the MI industry, it could spell disaster.

For what seems like an eternity, the EU referendum has dominated the headlines. On the Remain side, the key message has been one of the UK and the EU being stronger together, with a core focus on the economic risks that would face the nation should we decide to sever ties with our continental neighbours.

The Brexit camp, meanwhile, have been pushing an ideal centred on ‘taking back control’ of, well, just about everything: our borders, our economy, our sovereignty, our democracy. Essentially, the Brexiters believe the EU has been holding us back and that we are more capable on our own two feet.

Well, whichever side of the debate you fall on, the votes have now been counted and, for better or worse, the UK is no longer part of the EU.
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As predicted by financial experts across the board, the pound has already taken a big hit, having dropped to a 30-year low within hours of the results being announced. To add to the initial chaos of the final count, Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned form his post, with a new leader set to be appointed by October this year. Early indications suggest that Boris Johnson is the front runner, with Michael Gove and Theresa May also in the running. Make of that what you will.

And, while it’s still far too early to predict just how things are going to pan out over the coming weeks, months and years, prominent figures from the world of MI retail, distribution and manufacturing have painted a rather bleak picture of what the future may hold for the industry now that it is no longer part of the single market.

The overriding sentiment of many was that an EU exit would pose too many risks for what is already a fragile market that is still feeling the shockwaves of the 2008 financial crash.

According to PMT chief, Simon Gilson, ‘Brexit’ will “result in an immediate and possibly fairly dramatic fall in the pound.” He also predicted, in an exclusive piece for MI Pro, a dramatic rise in inflation and a significant spike in interest rates, all leading towards, as he puts it, “possibly the sixth worst recession ever.”

And Gilson wasn’t the only one to offer such a bleak view on the outcome on a possible departure from the Union. Several others were equally adamant that a Leave vote would be too risky for the market.

Rupert Bradbury of JG Windows told us: “I'm now convinced even more than ever that leaving the EU would be the last thing we need for our business. I want consumer confidence and growth in our economy. Leaving the EU would result in quite the opposite and that is the last thing we need, as another recession is almost guaranteed.”

Rotosound CEO, Jason How, also weighed in on the subject, stating: “One of the problems is we (the British) need European business more than the Europeans need British business. I reckon if we left there would be tariffs on exporting, which for us would not be good.”

Meanwhile, John Simpson of Stylophone distributor Dubreq outlined his view on why it’s vital for Britain to Remain. “The main impact for Dubreq even before the vote is the negative impact it is having on currency exchange rates. It’s costing us more to buy materials overseas and export sales margins are being reduced unless we increase prices. I've no doubt Brexit would only make it worse, with possibly years of uncertainty, whilst new trade agreements are negotiated.”

It’s not just here in the UK market that a departure from the EU is viewed with suspicion, but also on the continent. In a conversation with MI Pro, Stephan Kurzawski, Messe Frankfurt, gave his take on why we are stronger together. “For us as trade-fair organisers, the interests of exhibitors and visitors are paramount. They comprise the market and bring the platform we offer to life. Regardless of the referendum, we firmly believe in the future of the UK market.

“The aim of our governments must be to exploit all opportunities for maintaining the prerequisites for functional and efficient trade relations. After all, free access to the markets is essential for the development of the fair and exhibition business and international economic relations.”

What’s more, the Musicians’ Union, in one of its monthly MI Pro contributions, concluded that musicians will benefit from being part of the EU.

“Open borders make touring both easier and less expensive, EU health and safety legislation has meant that the job of being a musician has become safer and workers’ rights legislation in general has improved the working life of musicians in the UK. The Working Time Directive, for instance, redefined the definition of a worker for the purposes of working time and meant that for the first time we were able to claim holiday pay for part-time instrumental teachers.”

You can read the MU’s statement on the issue in full here.

So, with the outcome now clear, what do you think the future holds for the MI indistry? Despite the stark warnings that things could be about to get a lot worse for the market, do you see a silver lining? Or do you feel that a move away from the EU is just what we need to shake up the industry and get things moving in the right direction? Either way, it cannot be denied that a big gamble has been made by voting to leave and significant changes are on the horizon. Only time will tell whether or no they will be to our benefit our benefit.

Tags: uk , eu , brexit , eu referendum

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