Anonymous Musician – ISM / MU

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The following testimonial is part of the ‘Professionally Paralysed’ report, a series of case studies from musicians on the subject of European touring, gathered by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the Musicians Union.

From our recording standpoint, ease of work and travel in the EU has hit the buffers. And actually, very few people
understand what we have to go through in the event of recording teams, such as ourselves, being able to work
in Europe. I have two outstanding projects in the EU that were in the books, subject to Covid restrictions ending, the conclusion of a recording started a couple of years ago in Lille and the other a new project in Portugal. As things stand, neither can now go ahead. In both cases, the budgets were agreed in advance but now we would have to factor in trade carnets and costs of work visas and neither client is prepared to wear these, so the work will transfer to indigenous recording teams.

Similarly, there has always been an influx of EU artists coming to make recordings in this country and the situation
here is just as confusing…So the present situation restricts both UK artists working abroad and also visiting artists
working with UK recording teams.

You only need to mention the Proms as a major casualty of this. Sadly, the people in power probably do not realise
what level of cooperation we have been accustomed to as culture has been way down the list of governmental
priorities for many years – both on the left and the right.

The practical solution to this is to return to what we once had – i.e. artistic freedom of movement/employment
throughout the EU bloc. But I can’t see this being viewed as anything other than “remoaner speak”. It has to be
said that our sector has been completely ignored in Brexit negotiations and this has led to the current situation.
Of course, it’s all impossible anyway just at the moment due to Covid, but UK orchestras have relied on foreign
touring as a major source of their revenue as they are not adequately funded by government. This Brexit/Covid
double whammy completely exposes this. Surely the current “downtime” is the ideal moment to put the situation
to rights so that when things can happen again, there is a clear way forward?

Lastly, in answer to our job vacancy for which we’re holding interviews today, the most qualified applicant is from
Austria. We cannot consider this lady without paying to be a licensed sponsor – the application fee for this is nonrefundable. This is unsustainable and potentially limits us employing the best person for the job.