Post-Brexit drop in music tourism could cost the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds - report


A significant drop in music tourism and an exodus of firms vital to infrastructure are amongst a number of Brexit-related concerns voiced by the music industries sector, according to a new report available to read here.

The Birmingham Live Music Project report, authored by researchers at Aston University, Birmingham City University and Newcastle University, reveals Brexit-related concerns voiced by policymakers, academics, industry figures and media representatives during a one-day event held in Birmingham earlier this year.

One of the main issues raised was the way that Brexit could lead to fewer artists and productions travelling to the UK from Europe, which in turn could mean a marked decrease in the number of ‘music tourists’ visiting the country and region specifically for live music experiences.

Other key issues raised in the report include:

-       Concerns that the summer festival season of 2020 would be negatively impacted by Brexit. It’s feared that the potential costs of running big events could spiral and lead to heavy losses due to disrupted supply chains.

-       Brexit is likely to generate a massive administrative cost for UK-based artists. While larger acts will have labels, promoters and investors to support them, smaller acts will not be able to afford such costs to build up their presence on the Continent through touring and cultural exchanges.

-       The future of a high number of production-companies located in the UK, which provide lighting, staging and tour management, are also clouded by Brexit, with a large number of jobs possibly moved elsewhere to minimise disruption and maximise sales.

Dr Patrycja Rozbicka, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University who led the report, said: “By bringing a variety of stakeholders together, we aimed to explore the way Brexit is likely to impact everything from the thousands of people who follow and support the live music industry, through to the musicians themselves and the regional authorities that legislate and administrate for cultural economies..

“This report is the first step in a bigger project which aims to provide much needed creative solutions and recommendations to secure the future of the music industry as we know it pre-Brexit.”

Dr Craig Hamilton, Research Fellow at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, said: “Crucial to exploring the problems, questions and opportunities related to Brexit will be the mapping exercise we have built into our research plans.

“The event that helped generate this report demonstrates the willingness of stakeholders to work with us on this exercise, and reveals the potential for growing further key partnerships in the UK.” 

Birmingham city-region organisations who contributed to the report include Aston University, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City University, Birmingham Music Archive, Birmingham Music Coalition, Hare & Hounds Birmingham and Leftfoot Venues, Musician’s Union, Newcastle University, Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham, West Midlands Combined Authority.

Lyle Bignon, founder of Birmingham Music Coalition highlighted the city-region’s long-standing international relationships currently under threat, saying, “Birmingham’s music community – from a long and vibrant music heritage right through to the exciting contemporary scenes producing global stars such as Jorja Smith, Lady Leshurr, Chris Lorenzo, and Jaykae – is built on the very principle of freedom of movement; artistically, economically and socially.”

“We urge the music industry and academia regionally and nationally, local and central government and supporters and fans of music everywhere to come together to support this important research and identify opportunities to develop and progress, in order to safeguard a hugely valuable element of society.”

Image: Jason Sheldon/Junction 10 Photography

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