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Must be Brexit

“Breaking” America has been the goal of young British musicians since the days of Beatlemania, but that dream is being dashed. Hundreds of emerging artists could be affected by plans to hike visa fees by 250% – and music industry executives have criticised ministers for failing to act.

The US immigration service wants to raise visa costs from $460 (£385) to $1,615 (£1,352) alongside other changes that artists and their managers say would make it almost impossible for anyone but the biggest stars to perform in the US.

Artists already struggling with Brexit red tape and the impact of the pandemic lockdowns are also being affected by inflation, with a 40% rise in the cost of touring, according to the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists Coalition (Fac).

The MMF and Fac have relaunched Let the Music Move (#LetTheMusicMove), a campaign that began in 2021 to fight the effects of post-Brexit trade arrangements, which are still hampering musicians. Trucking firms that transport music equipment have had to register as EU companies, and crew cannot work in the EU for more than 90 days out of every 180. Many firms left the industry during the pandemic.

Annabella Coldrick, the MMF’s chief executive, said a survey of her members last week revealed that 84% had acts planning to tour the US. Of those, 70% would be unable to do so with the proposed fee increase, while 20% said they would delay.

Isn’t it lovely how they imply that Brexit is causing these American problems?

7 thoughts on “Must be Brexit”

  1. No, no no. No-one does this now.

    Old and Busted: bands go to the USA, play some gigs, do some radio and TV while they are there to promote an album. The money comes from the albums. U2 got big in America by basically touring for a year.

    New Hotness: bands promote themselves via various forms of social media while sat in Abingdon, Cinderford, wherever. Lots of people download and love the music, which makes them a few quid from Spotify. Then, the money maker is going and playing the gigs, once you’re already established.

    You don’t need to tour to get known abroad and to do so would be a huge expense compared to playing a local gig, making a video and sticking it on YouTube.

  2. Can’t they use Zoom? Play in Daventry, appear on a screen at the Hollywood Bowl.

    Californian groupies could then talk dirty to the band while they sit at home with a spliff.

  3. So 70% won’t be able to tour if the visa fee goes up by £1K per person? Given all the other costs associated, a grand will tip them over the edge? Hmmmm.

  4. I was in the supermarket the other day with vile popcrap on the tannoy. On came the Beatles, or a cover thereof, playing From Me to You.Ttedious bloody song but a lovely closing chord. I suppose that puts it in the top 1% of all pop music ever recorded.

  5. If 1200 a head for your hand is the difference between making money and not – you probably shouldn’t be considering a foreign tour at this point in your career.

    Completely separate from whether I think there should be any fee at all or not.

  6. What BoM4 sez…

    Besides.. Making it Big in the US is a thing from Last Century. As an up and coming band/act you want the mainland european event/club scene at the moment. South America is becoming a major Place to Grow as well.
    And if you manage to hit the right spot in Asia, you’re pretty much set for stable income.

    It’s funny how almost no-one wants to tour the UK….

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