Navigating brexit

Musicians everywhere are trying to work out what Brexit means for them. Unfortunately, it is not straightforward.

After attending the brilliant Navigating Brexit webinar hosted on 28 January by the Music Publishers Association, we wanted to share with you some of the key advice and resources that were given.

What to do if you’re a UK national living in the uk and have paid work in Europe

When accepting paid work in Europe, you might need a visa (which may have to be paid for) and/or a work permit (which are often free).

The Musicians’ Union are pushing consistency of approach from all European states, however, if this isn’t possible, they will try to get deals with the individual states which are as straight forward as possible.

Here is a list of the 27 European governments’ websites, where the current travel rules are detailed for each country.

UK Music are currently putting together a resource where one will be able to look up all the travel rules in one place, and the Music Publisher Association will share this as soon as it’s available.


There’s currently a petition for visa free travel for artists & technicians. It’s still open for signature.

 As a result of this petition, today (Thursday 4 February) MPs will hear from a range of artists and other sector professionals about arrangements for UK touring professionals and artists in the EU. Watch the session live from 2.30pm

You can find out more about the session here.

Parliament will debate this on Monday 8th February 2021. You can watch the debate here.

What is still ongoing

The Musicians Union are currently trying to get advice together regarding touring, as a lot of points are not clear in the current Brexit agreement. 

Current potential hurdles include:
– needing a carnet if you’re bringing a truck of instruments into Europe (NB this paperwork lasts a year and costs £325) 
– the issue of cabotage (whereby UK lorries can only make 2 stops in Europe before returning to the UK, the MU are currently lobbying for a cultural exemption)
– needing a cites certificate for instruments that are made with endangered materials, for example ivory or rosewood (NB this paperwork takes 5-10 minutes to apply for and is free)
– needing an EORI number for merchandise you are bringing into Europe to sell

Further guidance

The MU have put together a guide to working within Europe with the current information available: 

•    The UK government is not planning on implementing the Copyright Directive whereas Europe is (by the 7th June 2021 all EU states will be following it). This will affect digital service providers in the relevant EU member states, however it’s not entirely clear as to how it will affect UK performers and creators yet. 

•    The General Secretary of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is currently forming a group which will structure the way politicians hear about the issues the music industry is facing and help push things forward. 

•    The MPA have put together this excellent Business Advice, Support and Guidance Flowchart on Brexit.

This was the first of 3 sessions that will be hosted by the MPA this year on navigating Brexit. For further information on when the next sessions will take place and how to book your (free) ticket, visit the MPA’s events page.

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