Brexit set to wreck jobbing musicians’ chances of career advancement

Published:  17 Oct at 6 PM
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Brexit is due to make musicians’ lives far harder by restricting freedom of movement.

One profession which requires frequent travelling between countries is about to find its members’ lives and their chances of advancement seriously curtailed by Brexit. Musicians travel the continent of Europe and even the world on a regular basis, no matter what style of music is their thing, with the open borders of the EU a blessing for those determined to gather a following in this tricky profession.

It’s not just boy bands and the like which will be affected, as classical musicians also build their careers on playing with orchestras in many different countries, often becoming expats in order to restrict the necessity of constant travel. Unfortunately, as music is a career for the talented minority, their plights will be largely ignored by governments and immigration officials. Should a miracle occur and an acceptable deal be struck over the next two weeks or so, musicians and singers as well will have a breathing space during the transition period, but are highly likely to be ignored as a special case in further negotiations.

Jobbing musicians, as many are known, make a living by playing all across the continent on a short-term basis, a lifestyle which can be seen as boring but which is necessary to gain experience as well as getting known in this niche marketplace. Freedom of movement is essential in this employment sector Up until now, jobbing musicians have been able to negotiate their own deals unimpeded by the bureaucratic necessities of visas and other impediments, thus allowing their talent and experience to mature without hassle.

After Brexit kicks in, all that will end, with many forced to give up their careers due to the cost and time constraints of having to get work visas for each temporary job. The only alternative for some will be to become permanent expatriates in a friendlier country. Agents and lawyers will need to be used, restricting still further the freelance payments jobbing musicians receive and making their chosen way of life untenable. The UK’s Musicians’ Union fully supports a revocation of article 50 as well as a Peoples’ Vote on Brexit, but it seems now there’s little chance of this happening, nor of jobbing musicians being able to continue their careers.
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