What does the EU do for musicians? The Musicians' Union explains...

Blog by Musicians' Union under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live, Media, Music Publishing, Music Training & Careers, Record Labels, Recording & Production, Selling & Distributing Your Music

Musicians are better off in a Britain that’s part of the European Union (EU). That’s why we’re calling on all MU members to vote to remain in the EU.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had debates, flotillas and angry jibes traded over what makes Britain stronger and safer. For us as the Musicians’ Union it’s about what protects you as musicians, and the life you work hard to make.

Thanks to the EU:

-       European Copyright Directives protect your intellectual property rights, and your

-       Open borders make touring easier and cheaper

-       Health and safety legislation keeps you safe wherever you work

-       The Working Time Directive means part time instrumental teachers can get holiday pay and sick pay

And many have felt the benefits of these rights, as working musicians and citizens of Europe.

“As anyone who's ever seen us play live will agree, we love it. We play with passion and energy. We're also lucky enough to have toured throughout Europe. One of the benefits of being in the EU is being able to load up the van, drive down to the Channel Tunnel and voila, hello mainland Europe. The only costs are our travelling expenses and, more importantly, no visas or work permits. We then have access to more venues and potential new fans. Genius.

“As confirmed by the MU, if the UK were to leave the EU, most musicians would effectively have to say goodbye to playing Europe. As a band who do everything on a shoestring budget, this would put European shows out of our reach.

“I normally shy away from political stuff, however this is too important for my band and career to ignore. So that's why I will be voting to stay in Europe.” – Ms Dead

The European Union also allows us to work on transnational issues that affect you.

Together, we’re fighting for legislation to make it easier for you to travel with instruments on planes. We are working with other musicians’ unions across Europe to get legislation implemented at the European level that would force airlines to act.

“Being able to work and travel within the EU has made it possible for myself and many of my musician friends to carve out interesting and diverse careers in music. There are many British bands that have ‘made it’ and continue to flourish thanks to the arrangements we currently have in place. As musicians, we are in the dark as to whether Brexit will have any effect on things like royalty collections etc. Do we really trust this government enough to champion our cause?!” – Jack

We do not believe the EU is perfect.

We still lobby hard to make copyrights stronger, touring easier, and health and safety work better for you. But without the EU we have to question whether these rights would be protected at all, and if so then how strong would those rights and protections be.

That’s why we’re calling on all musicians to vote for Britain to remain in the European Union.

“In the various European countries I have visited, when I have performed, the local communities have been nothing but welcoming and supportive. Their openness to listen to young UK musicians, engage with our culture, and support further our musical ventures has been invaluable to me, both on a professional and personal level. I intend to continue my work as a composer and performer within a Europe which welcomes diversity and fosters creativity. A break from Europe, with all its centres of culture and creativity, and with its strong willingness to support artists from the UK, is for me unfeasible.” – Henry

Please vote to remain on Thursday 23 June.

The MU represents over 30,000 professional and student musicians across the UK. Find out more via


why the musicians union think bands and artists should vote to stay in the EU


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