Music News

The Brexit Could Actually be Very, Very Good for British Music.

It’s been impossible to escape the fallout from last Thursday’s Brexit vote. So many questions. Whither Scotland? What will happen to the pound and London as a centre of international business? Will the young, shafted in the vote by the old, rebel against the future that’s been laid out for them? And what about music?

It should be OKAY–according to Music Business Worldwide:

The reaction on social media was one of shock, with British artists including Lily Allen, Zayn, Ellie Goulding, Disclosure, Liam Gallagher and Johnny Marr weighing in on the debate.

“Well millennials, we’re really really fucked,” said Allen, while Zayn tweeted: “It’s very sad to see society so fragmented, [especially] in terms of regions, generations and class. We need to pull together now to make it work.”

Goulding was “heartbroken to hear the news,” continuing: “I truly believe this is one of the most devastating things to happen during my lifetime. I felt a fear I’ve never felt this morning.”

Despite the disappointing outcome, a number of music trade associations have issued statements reiterating their commitment to negotiating with the British Government to ensure “unimpeded access” to the EU markets for UK artists and companies, and highlighting the importance of working together to ensure the strength of the British music business internationally is not diminished.

The whole article can be found here.

It’ll be GOOD–at least according to Forbes.

The traditional music business (meaning record labels) is run by a crafty street-wise bunch that know how to roll with the punches, and that’s why I think they’ll find a way to come of this with a net gain when all is said and done.

Most of the analysis of the situation that I’ve read so far centers on the fact that doing business in both the UK and Europe will be more expensive because of the escalated operating costs associated with keeping offices either in London or in Europe. Travel, labor, and finances will all take a hit as costs rise because of the increased paperwork involved.

It’s a fair premise that will likely play out that way, but remember that the industry has a talent for turning lemons into lemonade (although usually that doesn’t apply to the artists).

For example, back in the ‘60s, all record producers were just staff personnel of the record label, and paid as such. After Sir George Martin had huge success after huge success with The Beatles that netted EMI hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, he didn’t get as much as a Christmas bonus, let alone a raise, in appreciation for his efforts. As a result, Sir George bolted and became what amounted to the first independent record producer, demanding his own royalty on the records that he produced in the process. Of course, an exodus of successful record producers followed, and it looked like the major labels had a huge new cost on their hands.

Read the rest here.

It could be AWESOME. Michael texted me this yesterday, clipping it from an unknown source:

The last time the British economy really went into the tank, the UK produced the Clash, Joy Division, the Pogues, the Buzzcocks, the Smiths, the Cure, Happy Mondays, Stone Roes, New Order, XTC, the Jam, Psychedelic Furs, Madness, the Specials, the Beat, Simply Red, Gang of Four and Public Image, Ltd.

It’s not all that bad.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38336 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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