U.K. VOTES "LEAVE"; MUSIC BIZ RESPONDS

Here in Blighty, we've been left in a state of utter confusion this morning as the U.K. votes to leave the EU. The Prime Minister has resigned, the pound has plummeted and, from the reaction we’ve gleaned over social media, the mood at Glastonbury is considerably dampened.

To add insult to injury, Donald Trump is in the country.

Nearly half of the British public—48%—voted “Remain,” but it wasn’t enough to sway a majority with 52% voting “Leave.” The music industry stood firm in its belief that the U.K. is better in, with UMG U.K. ruler David Joseph and Beggars chief Martin Mills writing a joint open letter to explain why. Mills tells us today he’s “in shock” digesting the news. But “Beggars is and will remain an international company.”

Chrysalis Chair Chris Wright said the country is “now officially in meltdown,” blaming the scaremongering tactics of Conservative tabloids The Sun and Daily Mail, and former London Mayor and MP Boris Johnson for causing “millions of people to lose their jobs, all for the sake of the one job you want.” There’s a chance Johnson will replace Cameron, who will leave his presidency by October. Grime star Stormzy is also in the running, according to his Twitter campaign. Stranger things have happened.

“In six months the country with the most booming economy in the world will be the one with the biggest recession. British voters, well done!” Wright said.

Speaking on behalf of the major record labels, Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive, BPI and BRIT Awards, reassured the industry over the future of their businesses. The BPI will be pressing “the Government to swiftly negotiate trade deals that will ensure unimpeded access to EU markets for our music and our touring artists,” he said.

“Our Government will also now have the opportunity to legislate for stronger domestic copyright rules that encourage investment here in the U.K. and which will protect U.K. creators from piracy and from tech platforms siphoning off value through copyright loopholes.

“We are confident that British music will remain hugely popular across Europe and we will work hard to make sure U.K. labels are able to capitalise on that demand.”

Sony/ATV A&R Daniel Lloyd Jones blamed selfish tactics from Cameron, who “knew he could only get a second term if he allowed an EU referendum. He dressed it up as democracy but really it was opportunistic careerism. Now he’s paying the ultimate price.”

Caius Pawson at XL imprint Young Turks, meanwhile, called the news “truly devastating,” while A&R at Universal Publishing, Pete Simmons, simply tweeted “ashamed to be British this morning.”

IFPI CEO Frances Moore had hoped the decision would be to remain. "The decision of the U.K. to leave the EU creates a great deal of uncertainty which could last for a considerable time. In this difficult period, IFPI will continue to work hard to ensure that our members' interests are best represented on all the issues we deal with."

Alison Wenham, CEO of the Association of Independent Music (AIM), said the organisation “will liaise closely with our members, other trade bodies and colleagues across the music industry to ensure that the strength and standing of the independent music community in the international marketplace is not diminished by these events.”

Extracting from the EU is said to be a long process that could take more than two years, and how people’s lives will be affected remains to be seen. This British writer remains confused and fearful over what the future holds.

“Will the last sane person in the U.K. switch off the lights before leaving?” questioned VP of A&R Recorded Music Publishing at Global, Angus Blair. Indeed.

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