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A new study says that a third of the musicians could leave the industry due to COVID-19

A third of the musicians could leave the industry due to the financial losses caused by the pandemic, a new report says. The research was done by the Musicians' Union (UK), who are calling on the UK government to provide greater assistance to those affected in the music industry.

In April, the Musicians Union revealed that 19% of their members were considering quitting a career in music due to lack of government support during the corona lockdown. The Musicians' Union Secratary Horace Trubridge voiced fears that the number may be much higher in a follow-up interview with NME.


David Martin, General Manager of the Featured Artists Coalition, told NME;

“As many as 38% of artists have fallen through the gaps between income support schemes and have received nothing for almost four months.  Those that have had support will soon see that lifeline come to an end.  With no date in sight for a full return to live music, most will not be able to work for many more months.  It is imperative that those that have been left out or cannot return to work are supported and that the arts fund extends to supporting the people that make our sector not just the places. What are our venues, festivals, arenas and theatres without artists and performers? Silent.”

The new research states that 34% of musicians are considering abandoning the industry due to losses made during the pandemic. Nearly half of the members is already forced to seek alternative work and 70% is currently doing less than a quarter of their regular work.


When Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme ends next month, 87% of musicians believe they will financially struggle, with a 88% believing that the UK govenment hasn't done enough to support the music industry through the pandemic, according to the report.


Musicians’ Union is calling on the government to implement a seat-matching scheme, and provide tailored support for those unable to get back to work due to coronavirus restrictions, when the furlough scheme comes to an end.


Regarding the new research. Horace Trubridge said:

“These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5bn music industry with their talent. One artist’s gig will create a domino effect of jobs – from lighting technicians to ticket sellers. If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too.
“We appreciate all the Government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now. With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30% of usual capacity. We are calling on the Government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues’ potential revenue to 60%, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry.”

He added:

Getting musicians back to work is the priority. However, this is simply not realistic for so many of our members while social distancing remains in place. We strongly urge the Government to recognise the unique situation that our members are in and to provide sector specific financial support for musicians.”

Trubridge previously told NME that he believes the coronavirus to be the biggest crisis facing the music industry for 100 years.


Music industry figures warned that artists, musicians and crew remain in crisis, amid fears that they will not be protected by the scheme. Despite the government’s £1.57billion bailout for venues and arts spaces.


More that 1500 artists and industry figures have came together to call on the government to stop "catastrophic damage" to live music back in July as part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, which led to the £1.57billion injection to help the arts, culture and heritage industries “weather the impact of coronavirus”.


The #WeMakeEvents Red Alert campaign was also recently launched, with arts spaces across the country lit up red in solidarity, with hundreds of crew members marching on the streets of Manchester.

 

Sources:

  • https://www.nme.com/news/music/a-third-of-musicians-could-leave-industry-due-to-coronavirus-new-study-says-2758172

  • https://www.nme.com/news/music/letthemusicplay-musicians-and-crew-facing-biggest-crisis-since-the-1920s-2705398

  • https://www.nme.com/features/we-make-events-protest-manchester-let-the-music-play-2726356

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