I was messaging an old friend yesterday evening who happens to be a professional musician. He’d be the first to admit he’s not exactly in the first flush of youth although he’s not eligible for the knackers yard or for his old age pension just yet. He’s a working musician who earns a living mainly by playing live shows and selling merchandise at the gigs. Some of his most lucrative work – and I am speaking in relative terms here – is in Europe. And he fears for the future. Here’s why.
Elderly rocker and hard Brexiteer Roger ‘My Generation’ Daltrey got all arsey when he was asked about the negative effect Brexit would have on touring musicians and their crew, but as a typical ‘I’m-all-right-Jack’ millionaire the effects wouldn’t be too hard on him. But your average Joe will need a Tier 5 visa (costing £244 a head) and proof of at least £1000 in savings 90 days before applying for the visa.
Ah yes, but at least the musician can sell her/his merchandise at gigs. That won’t change, will it? Well, yes it will, actually. Quite a lot, actually. Tax/import/export duties will apply to every single piece of merch they take with them. And these tax/import/export duties will apply in every single country in which they play.
Relics like Daltrey and his fellow hard Brexiter Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson may lose out to the tune of a few thousand Euros, or more, but when you are playing large arenas and stadia, it’s probably a drop in the ocean and they could always bung a couple of Euros on the merch to maintain profits. The likes of Daltrey and Dickinson are either thick if they don’t realise the disastrous effects the loss of free movement will have on ordinary musicians or, in true Thatcherite tradition, they just don’t care.
Older musicians who make a living as touring musicians and younger ones who are trying their make their way into a business where no one actually wants to pay for music are the ones who will be most disadvantaged. But as with every other aspect of Brexit, the rich will do okay and the less rich will lose out. It’s the same in music where Daltrey only gives a toss about his generation, the old people who have inflicted a damaging Brexit on their children and grandchildren. I wish he’d just f-f-f-fade away.