ISM releases fourth report on the impact of Brexit on the music profession


The Incorporated Society of Musicians have published their fourth report into the effects of Brexit on the music profession, titled Impact of Brexit on Musicians. This unique research, conducted in February 2019, builds on previous surveys of musicians and reveals the concerns of more than 2,000 musicians in areas such as future work, mobility and visas, transportation of instruments and equipment, and health and social security…

The headlines from the report include:

  • Almost 50% of respondents identified an impact on their professional work since the EU referendum result in 2016 – 95% of whom said it was negative (from 19% in 2016, to 26% in 2017, to 40% in 2018, and to 50% in 2019)
  • 63% of respondents cited difficulty in securing future work in EU27/EEA countries as the biggest issue they face due to Brexit – and more than 1 in 10 respondents reported that offers of work have been withdrawn or cancelled with Brexit given as a reason.
  • 85% of survey respondents visit the EU27/EEA for work at least once a year, 22% visit the EU27/EEA more than 11 times per year and more than a third (35%) spend at least a month per year working in EU27/EEA countries.
  • One in seven musicians have less than a week’s notice between being offered work and having to take it.
  • 64% of survey respondents said a two-year, multi-entry visa would allay their concerns about their future ability to work in the EU27/EEA if freedom of movement rights were lost
  • 95% of respondents preferred the two-year, multi-entry visa over an ‘extension of the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visa.
  • 83% of respondents said it would be beneficial for a government department (e.g. BEIS) to provide a dedicated hotline for musicians to offer guidance on mobility issues
  • More than half of respondents (58%) reported that they were concerned about the transportation of instruments and/or equipment in the EU27 & EEA in the future.

You can read and download the full report here:

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

‘Impact of Brexit on Musicians demonstrates how much the music workforce depends on EU27/EEA countries for professional work, and reveals a profession who are deeply concerned about the future as the UK prepares to leave the EU. 

Musicians’ livelihoods depend on the ability to travel easily and cheaply around multiple countries for work in a short period of time. If freedom of movement is to end, the Government must ensure that free movement rights are maintained for musicians, or introduce a two-year multi-entry visa for British musicians working in the EU27 – which 95% of respondents preferred over the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE). PPE is not the answer.

This report also demonstrates how much the music workforce relies on UK-EU mechanisms – for example, the EHIC scheme and A1 certificate – to support and enable them to work in the EU27/EEA. 

At a time of great uncertainty, musicians need to know their jobs in EU27/EEA will be secure once the UK leaves the EU. Therefore we call for the Government to take action, using the recommendations outlined in this report, to protect musicians’ livelihood and the all important music and wider creative industries.’

A musician responding to the survey discussed the impact of Brexit on their current work:

‘I’ve had ensembles questioning me as to whether it’s feasible for them to employ me post-Brexit. They’re turning to me for guidance and there is nothing I can offer them. I’m about to pull out of a project starting on the 1 April because it is a recording and if we discover there are problems, it’ll be difficult to replace me at short notice.’

Here’s a useful video from the ISM which explains their #SaveMusic campaign: