New regulations since leaving the European Union (EU) on 31 December 2020 (end of transition period) have made it increasingly difficult for British musicians to tour Europe. Musicians now need visas to tour Europe for work purposes which come at an additional cost. Carnets are also now required at an additional cost. Carnets are temporary passports for goods which are to be temporarily exported. It acts as a 27 nation transit document which then allows the goods to be moved around the EU without the need for further clearance. For musicians, carnets are now needed to move all their professional equipment.
The additional costs have made touring Europe unaffordable for many British musicians. The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) say that 44% of British musicians earn half their income from touring in Europe which highlights the potential negative consequences of Brexit on musicians.
It was estimated that the United Kingdom (UK) music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 which was up from the £5.2 billion in 2018.
The UK government has suggested that musicians use their “star power” to lobby the EU over the visa issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also damaged the music industry since live events have been ceased. Many musicians can only afford to stay in the industry if they play live concerts. Many cannot survive on the small amount of money they receive from royalties and streaming services such as Spotify.