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Brexit Impact: Shocking Report Reveals Nearly 50% Drop in Gigs for United Kingdom Musicians in EU


Almost half of the musicians from the United Kingdom, as well as workers in the music industry, have said that they have had less work in the European Union due to Brexit, a survey has revealed.

According to a survey from the Independent Society of Musicians, 47 per cent of the respondents who participated in it said they had less work in the EU after January 2021 than they did before Brexit.

‘It’s been impossible to be heard/audition in European opera houses since January 1, 2021. European opera companies are reluctant to audition UK singers since the changes,” one of the respondents said.

Moreover, the survey has shown that more than a quarter of the respondents, 27.8 per cent, said that they did not have any work in the EU at all, with some of them leaving the industry altogether.

“Work has come to a halt. The offer of European gigs simply dried up completely. My band simply can’t make any kind of living in the tiny UK market, so we basically have folded as a working band,” the statement of another respondent reads.

In addition, the survey has revealed that just under a fifth of the respondents, 19.5 per cent, had had the same amount of work after Brexit, while only 5.3 per cent of them have seen an increase.

Moreover, the respondents also complained about the restrictions on the total number of days that some can spend in the EU. UK nationals are permitted to spend up to 90 days in a 180-day period in most EU/Schengen Area countries.

Due to this limitation, the amount of work that musicians and other workers in the industry can take on has been significantly impacted, halving the number of days available and confining work and leisure travel.

“Many of my clients and colleagues have fallen foul of the 90 in 180-day travel restrictions. Some have lost out on tens of thousands of pounds in work as a result,” a respondent emphasised.

Around 39 per cent of the respondents said that they had had to turn down work since January 1, 2023, mainly due to the 90-in-1800-days rules and not being able to do last minute jump-ins.

Another 40 per cent had their work in the EU cancelled in the same period, leading to lost income.

Furthermore, another 17 per cent said that they had been refused an audition, resulting in lost work, and several others reported increased costs as a result of Brexit.

“An extra day of travel is required to go in and out of the EU to give enough time for visits to inland border facilities. Delays could be one hour, four hours, or longer. This means the vehicle has to leave a day early for an EU tour, adding an extra day of van hire, an extra day of backline hire, an extra day of wages for all crew and an extra day of wages for all musicians. The same applies on the way back,” one of the respondents emphasised.

Taking into account the hurdles, the Independent Society of Musicians recommended that the authorities negotiate bilateral agreements for work permits, reduce the cost of ATA Carnet, and streamline merchandise paperwork applications, among others.

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