British music will rule the world, whether we’re in the EU or not.
In that respect, John Whittingdale is correct. We turned out world-beating artists long before we joined the Common Market, and we’ll still be turning them out long after this referendum campaign – which took a shocking turn with the death of pro-Remain MP Jo Cox – is over.
That incident, of course, puts any music business concerns into the starkest perspective.
But for the Culture Secretary to suggest that the music business would remain completely unaffected by the UK’s exit from Europe seems disingenuous at best.
True, no one knows exactly what would happen if we do decide to sever ties with the EU, and the truth probably lies somewhere between the Brexit brigade’s “everything will be fine” and the potential doomsday scenarios suggested by some of the Remain camp.
But what seems clear is that any changes that do occur will impact most on those who can withstand them the least: the independent and emerging artists who don’t have the financial or organisational resources to cope with any additional expense or bureaucracy.
True, it seems unlikely that the slogan ‘Vote Remain so some indie band you’ve never heard of can play in Luxembourg’ will sway many floating voters. And, to be honest, after a lot of trying, we’ve failed to unearth a single, high profile pro-Brexit figure within the music industry anyway.
But anyone in the biz who is still debating which way to go, please use your vote carefully. Future generations of indie bands no one’s ever heard of are depending on you.
Mark Sutherland, Editor