A third of musicians could leave the industry due to the financial losses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a report cited by NME says. The research was carried out by the Musicians’ Union, who are calling on the UK government to provide greater assistance to those affected in the industry.
By Romanita Oprea
The new study finds that 34 percent of musicians are considering abandoning the industry due to losses incurred during the pandemic, while nearly half of its members are already being forced to seek alternative work and 70 percent are currently doing less than a quarter of their regular work. In this context, the Musicians’ Union urged the government to implement a seat-matching scheme and provide tailored support for those who are unable to get back to work due to coronavirus restrictions. According to the same source, in July, more than 1,500 artists and industry figures came together to ask the government to stop the “catastrophic damage” to live music as part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign. After months of campaigning from fans and people in the music world, the government stepped in with an unprecedented cash injection to help the arts, culture, and heritage industries “weather the impact of the coronavirus” – providing music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres, and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans. And even though that was good news for institutions, organisations, halls, and music venues, a question still remained about the financial support needed by the workforce in the industry – musicians, road crews, technicians, etc. The #WeMakeEvents Red Alert campaign was also recently launched, with hundreds of crew members marching on the streets of Manchester.
In the US, in September, the Live Events Industry of Oregon (LEIO) released the results of a survey that asked business owners how much longer they could carry on. “Close to a thousand people responded. More than 20 percent expected to go out of business by the end of October. That number jumps to over 70 percent by January.” Moreover, a recent report by Denver Arts & Venues, quoted by wsws.org, reveals that the city’s creative industries “have taken a massive hit since the beginning of the pandemic.” The study shows that Denver “has lost an estimated 29,840 creative-industry jobs, as well as USD 1.4 billion in sales revenue, between April 1 and July 31.” Colorado’s music industry as a whole lost “an estimated 8,327 jobs, which amounts to a 51 percent loss. The study showed that Denver alone accounted for 4,525 of those jobs, as well as USD 213.7 million in lost sales revenue.”
According to the publication Pollstar, the concert industry could lose up to USD 9 billion in 2020 alone and that figure, as Variety points out, “doesn’t include the income lost by musicians, technicians, dancers, and others in its sprawling supply chain.”
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