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.

Too Much Mozart: towards a truly diverse and inclusive classical repertoire.

Growing up as a mixed race teenager in Hertfordshire, a talented and promising pianist and clarinettist, Elizabeth de Brito, felt completely disengaged from the world of classical music as it was being presented to her: “surrounded by nothing but white men.” Feeling marginalised and ignored, she spent 12 years completely away from classical music until she started to find the hidden composers with whom she could identify, composers like Cécile Chaminade, William Grant Still, Chen Yi, Florence Price, Tania León, Mari Iijima, Galina Ustvolskaya, Ruth Gipps, Maria Szymanowska, Karen Tanaka and Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

It was, she told the Music Works podcast, the moment when she grew up. She also knew she had to do something to address this glaring imbalance.

“I went out searching for all these female composers and black composers, and all these people, that I’d never heard of… [ and I thought] I’m in a position to create change now.”

By then Elizabeth had a background in radio and so creating a radio show was the obvious next step. The Daffodil Perspective was born with the declared mission to give a platform to all those brilliant overlooked composers who had been effectively written out of the repertoire.

She knew that she had to move beyond the kind of tokenism that saw the occasional performance or broadcast satisfying what programmers and promoters saw as new pressures to increase diversity. Her avowed aim was to bring those composers into the mainstream, challenging the very idea of what constitutes the perceived “core repertoire.”

“If you play Beethoven 100 times over the course of the year and you’re playing one black female composer, there’s something not right there…It’s not about just fitting it in and bringing people to the table, it’s creating a different table where there is space for all these different people and all these different voices.”

The logic is straightforward: if you add in all these female, black, Asian and other ethnic minority composers, that immediately expands access to the range of music out there. And by making this music more accessible that gives more people more of a choice to be interested in classical music.

It should be a win-win, but challenging prevailing attitudes can be hard. Promoters often have fixed ideas about what their audiences like or will tolerate and fight shy of anything that seems unknown or new. There’s also the prejudice against contemporary or modern music as hard to listen to, atonal and difficult to engage with as well as a general lack of knowledge and understanding out there.

To combat this, Elizabeth also offers repertoire consultancy to help anyone who wants to make their programming more inclusive, but doesn’t know where to begin.

As she says: “[if] you’re not serving the whole population…who are you serving?”

You can find out more about Elizabeth’s work here:, and also listen to The Daffodil Perspective by following the link below. We guarantee you’ll be blown away by the resources she offers and come away with a whole new and enriched perception of the music that is out there. These composers are only overlooked and unheard if we don’t see them or listen to their music, and, thanks to Elizabeth de Brito, we now have no excuse for that.

If you enjoy this conversation, please subscribe, check out our other great episodes, and even better leave us a review. You can also follow us on social media and sign up to our mailing list at  for updates and news about Music Works and Polyphony Arts.

You can find Music Works and this episode here on the website: or you can listen on all the usual podcast channels.

Claiming your music royalties – a personal “how to” guide from PRS for Music.

“We need to recognise the true value of music, and the work that goes into its creation and performance, whether that’s to a live audience or online.”

Harriet Wybor, PRS for Music

This is the philosophy behind PRS for Music as Harriet Wybor explains to Katie Beardsworth in the latest episode of the Polyphony Arts Music Works podcast.

After a highly successful first season in which saw our new podcast garner over 1200 listens with over 2000 views of the video editions, we kick off the New Year with a look at what for many creatives is the thorny issue of royalties, what they are and how to claim them.

Performing rights apply when music is performed or played in public in concerts, shops, online via radio and TV broadcasts; mechanical rights refer to the reproduction of music when music is copied into CDs, DVDs and also online and via radio and TV broadcasts (these last three examples involve a combination of both performing and mechanical rights).

Which may sound simple, but this is definitely a situation where knowledge is power. But the knowledge, as Harriet explains, can be complex and tricky to navigate, hence PRS for Music.

Katie hits the basic problem square on the head:

“For any composers out there who think that all other composers understand how all this works, they definitely don’t!”

The good news is: you only need to understand enough and then hand over to Harriet who has a masterful command of everything anyone could possibly need to know about music royalties and then some.

Over the course of half an hour Harriet walks us through the thinking behind royalties, acknowledges why they are important and sets out with dazzling clarity the work PRS for Music does, not only to recover royalties on behalf of their members, but also to support the work of new composers and those suffering financial hardship.

The service they offer is impressive.

“I have helped composers in the past who say things like, ‘Oh, it’s really taken a weight off my shoulders getting something sorted out’” which is a feeling we can all identify with.

It’s reassuring to hear her calm and factual approach. She encourages anyone with a question, whether a member or not to give her a call. There are, she says, no silly questions and there is never, ever any judgement.

Even if you are not a composer, but have an interest or an involvement in the classical music industry, this episode is a fascinating listening.

You can find Music Works and this episode here on the website or you can listen on all the usual podcast channels.