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New Order use SXSW appearance to back #LetTheMusicMove campaign on US visa fee proposals

By | Published on Friday 17 March 2023

New Order #LetTheMusicMove

New Order have formally backed the latest iteration of the #LetTheMusicMove campaign after performing and keynoting at South By South West in Austin, Texas earlier this week, urging the US government to rethink plans to hike the price of performer visas.

The US Department Of Homeland Security announced plans earlier this year to significantly increase the price of applying for the kinds of visas used by performers when they gig and tour in the US. Given surging production costs are already making it harder for all but the biggest artists to tour in a commercially viable way, the additional visa costs could make it impossible for many UK acts to play American shows.

The UK’s Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition originally launched the #LetTheMusicMove campaign in a bid to tackle the extra bureaucracy British artists face when touring Europe post-Brexit. They then reignited the campaign with a focus on the US visa fee increases earlier this year.

At the time they explained: “The US visa office has proposed a huge increase to P&O visa fees – the short and long term work visas for creative professionals. The proposed increase to the current … fee is from $460 to $1,655 (260%) for a regularly processed ‘O’ visa and $460 to $1615 (251%) for a regularly processed ‘P’ visa. The increase in fees will apply to all foreign performers/creative workers seeking to enter the US, not just British”.

“Under these proposals, the cost of artists visas would increase by more than 250%”, they added. “In the midst of the ongoing cost of living crisis and with the live sector still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, it would make performing in the world’s biggest music market unaffordable for many emerging and mid-level artists”.

New Order played a gig at this year’s SXSW on Monday and then took part in a keynote interview on Wednesday. They are also backing the new Beyond The Music event being staged in Manchester later this year, which was also formally launched in Austin this week.

Confirming their support for the #LetTheMusicMove campaign, the band say in a statement: “The influence of New York club culture has been pivotal to the evolution of New Order, from our initial shows at legendary long-lost venues like Tier 3, Hurrah and the Peppermint Lounge to our recent arena tour with the Pet Shop Boys. Being able to perform to North American audiences has been absolutely crucial to us as a band”.

And that, they add, is why they “share the concerns of musicians around the world with these proposed visa increases for international artists. For a new band, a 250% increase in visa costs, on top of all the other financial pressures facing artists right now, might be the final nail in the coffin for touring. Through our support of the #LetTheMusicMove campaign, we want the US government to rethink these policy changes and look to alternative measures that encourage greater musical exchange, not less”.

New Order join the likes of Rina Sawayama, Howard Jones, Hot Chip, Idles, Steam Down and Primal Scream in backing the latest #LetTheMusicMove campaign. Welcoming that backing, MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick and FAC CEO David Martin say: “We are hugely grateful to New Order for their backing of the #LetTheMusicMove campaign to stop these hugely damaging proposals”.

“That they have done so at SXSW is particularly pertinent”, the add. “Excluding American acts, Britain has the biggest delegation of artists performing at official SXSW showcases. It is precisely these kinds of artists that will be forced to cancel their US touring plans if the DHS proposals come into effect”.