Brexit has had an impact on UK musicians income, although the Covid pandemic and economic changes added to the load.
A recent article in the Herald stated that Scottish musicians are being forced to miss meals, through the cost of living crisis and falling revenue.
An industry survey of musicians found that a quarter had reached the point of hunger and over half taken a second job to survive. Scotland was the hardest hit in the UK, although bookings were lower in all regions.
Young performers and pop musicians in particular were struggling but all sectors had suffered, from session artists, to orchestra members. The reasons behind this are quite complex and have been building for a while.
A number of musicians interviewed gave similar stories, of accumulated issues, rather than one problem they could work around.
Leaving the EU was a starting point, with many UK artists regularly performing in Europe. Confidence and relationship loss had an effect and the added travel costs in recent years made touring less viable.
This more or less coincided with Covid, where most venues shut down overnight and took a long time to return to normal. Some did not and a proportion of musicians who took other jobs have not returned to the profession.
The reduction in numbers has a domino effect, as independent performers may work with a number of bands, or freelance in orchestras, or studios.
To top this cocktail off, inflation came along. Individual costs increased, personal and corporate spending reduced. Customer loss apart, venues need to find more money for heating and lighting, the amount they can spend on performers goes down.
Finding A Solution
As a company who works closely with the media and creative industries, we truly do sympathise with musicians in the UK and elsewhere. You want to be able to focus on what you do best and bring pleasure to people.
The reality is that being a musician is also a business and circumstance has brought a need to focus more on that aspect. We appreciate that the market is tight and not all will succeed but those who plan have a far better chance.
Music is what you are and the will to perform is strong but there is no purpose in a business sense if this is at a loss. There could be a need to bypass some work, or ask for increased payment, clients may understand.
Planning itineraries with cost reduction in mind can help, rather than accepting what comes along because the job seems worthwhile. We know this is pretty boring stuff compared to making music but can be valuable.
Travelling To Europe
Despite Brexit, there is still a demand for UK music and musicians in many parts of the EU. The best way to ensure your equipment has a hassle free journey is to use an ATA carnet for temporary export and return.
Carnets have a cost and for a one off visit, can eat into profitability. If this is the case for you, make use of an ATA carnet advantage, where this can be reused as many times as you wish over 12 months.
An itinerary outline will be needed but brings the benefit of making planning your year ahead important. Thinking of your ATA carnet as a passport for goods, which you will reuse to negate costs.
Whilst we are happy to supply as many carnets as are needed, there could be an opportunity to share with others travelling to the same venue. No need to be shy in asking, both parties will save money.
Our team are also there to support clients and offer advice, whether you are a global media company, or a sole performer. Both have a part to play in bringing joy to their audience and should be able to do so.