Save Music with ISM

Join the Incorporated Society of Musicians and their mission to protect freedom of movement post-Brexit...


Brexit continues to dominate the political agenda but what impact will it have on the music industry? 

Although with everything Brexit, nothing is certain, change could be coming and the political landscape seems constantly volatile. Amid this, our friends at the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) recently launched its new Save Music campaign, calling for freedom of movement to be maintained for musicians post-Brexit or a two-year working visa to be introduced. 

We caught up with the ISM team to find out more about their new initiative and why they believe freedom of movement is essential for the long-term health of our creative industries...  

What was the motivation for launching the Save Music campaign? 

It is absolutely vital for freedom of movement to be maintained for musicians post-Brexit.

For decades our musicians have had the right to travel freely across the EU, performing their music in numerous different countries to countless audiences, and for many musicians this has been of immense value in creating music, establishing their careers and keeping a roof over their heads. As the UK’s professional body for musicians - a not-for-profit organisation totally independent from government - it is our duty to fight for musicians’ rights and protect the profession.

We stand by our mission statement from 1882: ‘The promotion of the art of music and the maintenance of the honour and interests of the music profession.’"

The House of Lords EU Select Committee report, published in July 2018, recognised the importance of freedom of movement for musicians and recommended a multi-entry visa enabling creatives, including musicians, to continue to work freely across the EU post-Brexit. We, along with many other music organisations, believe that a two year visa is what is needed.

Why is freedom of movement important for the music industry and musicians? 

The UK’s musicians regularly travel to the EU to work – and more than one in eight performers have less than seven days’ notice between being offered work and having to take it (as shown by our report Musicians and Brexit which revealed the concerns of more than 1,600 musicians and called for freedom of movement to be protected for musicians post-Brexit).

This type of short-notice work and short-notice travel is simply not compatible with complicated, time-consuming visas. Our research also showed that of those experiencing difficulties, 79 percent of those identified visas as the source of those difficulties. There is also the issue of collaboration.

The ability to travel freely lies at the heart of creating music - music is universal and knows no boundaries. The very best music often comes from musicians from all walks of life coming together to collaborate." 

At the moment government does not seem to be able to differentiate between immigration and life as a touring musician. Instead they are suggesting an extension of the disastrous Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Visitor route (the Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) Visitor route is for individuals invited to come to the UK because of their particular skills or expertise) which prevented so many musicians performing at WOMAD earlier this year.

It cannot be underestimated the damage that will be done to the music we enjoy and the music that is yet to be created if we don’t get the two-year visa.

What other initiatives are the ISM working on?

In relation to Brexit, we are working hard to make sure our members and the wider music industry know exactly what their rights are and how they will be affected by it. In particular, we have just held a webinar with our Public Affairs & Campaigns Manager Robin McGhee on the potential impact of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ on musicians’ career, and our fantastic services team have put together a whole wealth of advice pages which are available in our Advice Centre on our website.

Don’t forget that students can join ISM for only £15 a year and have access to everything you need to navigate the music industry - especially in this period of great change.

Visit the ISM website to find out more.   

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Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email and start your music career today.

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by ICMP staff writer
November 21, 2018
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