More than a third of workers in the UK music industry lost their jobs last year – 69,000 in total – as theaters closed, festivals were cut, tours halted and the pandemic wiped out billions of dollars of the value of the sector.
UK Music, the umbrella organization representing the commercial music industry, artists and record labels to the live music sector, said the industry’s value almost halved last year due to the crippling financial impact of the Covid crisis.
The music industry’s contribution to the wider UK economy, ranging from music sales and licensing to stadium tours, concert hall concerts and merchandise, has fallen from a record 5 , £ 8bn in 2019 to £ 3.1bn last year.
With hundreds of festivals and live music events canceled and no insurance plans in place to allow them to reschedule, there has been a wave of job losses. As three-quarters of workers in the music industry were self-employed, many fell through the cracks of eligibility for government support programs, forcing tens of thousands of workers to seek employment. new jobs to survive the pandemic.
UK Music’s annual report This is Music 2021 estimates that employment in the sector has plunged 35%, from an all-time high of 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 last year.
“The past 18 months have been exceptionally difficult for the UK music industry, with billions of dollars wiped out in the value of the industry, but we are determined to look ahead and focus on the recovery,” said Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Managing Director of UK. Music.
The sector hardest hit has been the UK music scene, which has seen revenues plummet by around 90% to a few hundred million pounds, while the value of UK music exported overseas, for example via international tours, fell 23% to £ 2.3 billion.
Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said: “The total loss of live work for over a year and the fact that the financial aid offered by the government has left so many people in the cold, resulted in a huge loss of jobs and talent.
“With the live performance industry now facing the appalling impact of Brexit on the mobility of artists, the time has come for this government to step in and provide realistic and effective support to an industry that once did the job. envy of the world and who is now in trouble. to survive. “
Tom Watson, UK Music chairman and former shadow culture secretary, said ‘more needs to be done to remove barriers to touring in the EU, boost UK music exports and provide more funding for music in the EU. education, “adding that it was” critical “that the music industry receive the support it needs from government to fully recover” and protect a pool of talent that is the envy of the world “.
Rebecca Lucy Taylor, better known by her stage name Self Esteem, said: “Without these changes, and changes coming soon, the UK music industry will be even more of an arena for the privileged than it already is.
“Art made by those who don’t need to earn a living. A very niche perspective, a deeply arid sound and lyrical landscape. There’s a place for everyone’s voice, but take away the opportunity to make money from sales, streams, and then take away the ability to tour? This means that no one without a comfortable financial situation can survive.
The UK music industry was not helped by long delays in launching a government-backed Covid cancellation insurance scheme, which was finally unveiled in August, more than a year after the industry film and television production had access to a similar regime. It was too late for many events and festivals that had to cancel for a second consecutive summer.
“We have listened carefully to UK Music’s arguments regarding a market failure regarding event insurance,” said Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary. “The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I am committed to the government continuing to support it every step of the way. “
Njoku-Goodwin called for measures including tax incentives, the removal of transport restrictions and work permits affecting the ability of musicians to tour in certain states of the European Union, and a permanent reduction in VAT on concert tickets.
The annual report doesn’t present numbers on the industry’s only bright spot during the pandemic – the streaming boom.
In the UK, music streaming jumped 22% last year to a record 139.3 billion streams as global music sales rose for the sixth year in a row to $ 21.6 billion , with streaming service subscriptions skyrocketing as fans went digital to ease the boredom of the lockdown.
The world’s largest streaming platform, Spotify, added a record 31 million new paid subscribers last year. Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music subscribers are expected to total 550 million by the end of this year, up from 86 million in 2015.