If you are a band in the UK and want to tour Europe, it just got harder and less lucrative to do so. With a no-deal Brexit looming, musicians are going to be hit hard by import duty and VAT on their merchandise. This split between the UK and the EU, if it comes to pass with a no-deal, may make it hard enough for musicians to even give up coming to the mainland.

British guitar

Customs Blues

Those in favour of Brexit don't seem to understand which strata of society a split is going to hurt the most. Doing business outside of the UK will basically become harder and less lucrative – not easier and more sovereign as the Farages and Johnsons of this world are touting. Travelling and touring in the music business, that means doing business, customs control will turn out to be a long, frustrating dance into the EU. 

According to, there is even documentation provided by the UK government explaining how difficult it will be. Here is a snippet:  If you bring goods into or take goods out of the UK in your baggage or a small motor vehicle, and you intend to use them for business, you must declare your goods and pay import duty and VAT before you move them across the border” – GOV.UK

Fun With VAT

Touring musicians will even have to apply for a VAT number and apply for an EORI (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification) number which means, again according to the government's own website, "you may have increased costs and delays." Especially for independent artists, this will virtually destroy the idea of doing a tour of Europe. 

...And They Don't Care

With the news of prime minister Boris Johnson's parliament shutdown, it looks like there isn't much hope to stopping Brexit at all. But for Johnson's government, allowing the little people to make ends meet is definitely not on the menu. They want to take control away from Brussels, because the elite in Britain were never really very good at taking orders from others. 

Making Connections

Connecting all this to e-commerce really isn't very difficult. Viewing an independent artist in music like we view SMEs, we see that small companies will very likely be paying import duties and VAT too. The smaller the business, the harder the no-deal Brexit will be.