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Majority of U.K. Record Labels Opposed to 'Brexit' Referendum, Study Finds

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British record labels have come out in support of the United Kingdom remaining part of the European Union ahead of a national referendum.

On June 23, British citizens will vote on whether the U.K. will exit the European Union or stay as one its 28 member countries. In the run-up to polling day, supporters of both camps -- remain, led by Prime Minister David Cameron and leave, led by former London mayor Boris Johnson -- have been hitting the campaign trail to outline their arguments for and against with the majority of pollsters predicting a tightly fought contest.

Earlier this month, Paloma Faith, Jessie Ware and Universal U.K. Chief Executive David Joseph were among almost 300 signatories from across the arts, entertainment and music industries who pledged their backing to the U.K. remaining in the E.U.. Now, label trade body BPI has published the findings of its own members’ survey, with a two-thirds majority saying that they too wish to see a continuation of the status quo.

According to the BPI, one of the key concerns for British label execs is retaining influence over how music is protected, with 90 percent believing that it is important to remain part of the ongoing process around reforming E.U. copyright rules. The survey also confirmed that almost all (95 percent) of the 142 BPI members quizzed generate music commercially available in E.U. markets, with 47 percent saying that a quarter or more of their earnings outside the U.K. come from the E.U..

As a result, more than two-thirds (70 percent) of those surveyed said that they were worried that the U.K.’s withdrawal from the E.U. could have a negative impact on their business with over half (59 percent) believing that a British exit (dubbed Brexit by the U.K. press) could make it more difficult to successfully promote British music and artists in Europe.  

Last year, British artists accounted for over 17 percent of album sales in the six largest E.U. markets after the U.K. -- Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands and Spain, the BPI states. On a global level, home-grown acts accounted for nearly one in every artist albums sold worldwide.

“This success helps to create jobs in the U.K. and fund exceptionally high levels of investment by British labels into new music,” said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor, citing a “strong majority” of U.K. labels who believe that remaining in the E.U. is “critical to their business and that leaving would risk harming their future prospects.”

“Given the importance of exports to Europe to our business, we believe that the prospects for British music are brighter if the U.K. remains within the European Union,” surmised Taylor.


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