United Kingdom (January 6, 2021) — UK Music, a trade organization representing a broad swath of the country’s music industry—studios, live music sector, artists, publishers, labels, managers and others—has released a new report, Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer, that highlights the damage done to the live music industry by the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers recommendations on how to mitigate and recover from those setbacks.
“We were a growing and thriving industry before the pandemic hit, and with the right support, we can be that successful and self-reliant industry again,” says UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin in the report.
Live music is key to the UK economy, according to UK Music, stating that the live sector made up £1.3 billion of the UK’s £5.8 billion music industry in 2019. However, the pandemic brought that momentum to a halt, with a 90.2% drop in revenue for festivals last year, and up to 50% of the festival workforce laid off by year’s end. Facing similar challenges, “Grassroots Music Venues” saw a 75.2% drop in revenue with an adjoining 60.4% workforce layoff. All those closures worked their way back upstream to the artists themselves, who, the report says, lost up to 80% of their income due to the shuttering of the live sector.
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Rather than wring hands, however, the report looks at how the industry can move towards recovery before the pandemic subsides due to vaccinations. “The best way to support and protect the live music sector is to get it back on its feet and enable it to start generating income again,” says the report, going on to suggest methods for reducing risk of transmission at live music events, and exploring how to “operate in the current landscape in a way that is financially viable.” Methods suggested include adoption of rapid testing and industry-led proof-of-concept events; supporting use of improved ventilation and pathogen reduction systems in venues; and more.
While the report places much of the expectation of enacting these proposals on the industry itself, it also looks to the UK government for support and guidance, and requests a set date for full-capacity restart, a government-backed reinsurance scheme, targeted financial support, extension to the VAT rate reduction on tickets, rollover of the paid 2020 local authority license fees, and extension to business rates relief.
The full Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer report can be downloaded for free.
UK Music • https://www.ukmusic.org