A major government initiative has begun to pay grants to thousands of live music venues, museums, theatres and other cultural organisations as part of a drive to protect the arts from the current circumstances.
The Culture Recovery Fund, worth £1.57bn in total, has earmarked £257m of this fund for protecting local cultural, arts and music venues from closure.
This will help, among other venues, the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Lighthouse in Poole and Salisbury Arts Centre as well as many other venues.
However, an independent report on the live music industry, UK live music: At a cliff edge, has stated that more needs to be done to prevent up to 170,000 jobs in live music from being lost before the end of the year.
Protecting An Ecosystem
Live music is a vital part of how the music industry thrives. Playing new tracks and limited releases to a receptive audience is vital for dance music promotion, and many artists rely to a significant degree on touring for their revenue.
Due to the community spirit of live music, however, the industry was among the first to close when restrictions were put in place in March to stop the spread of Covid-19. Currently, 76 per cent of live music employees are furloughed, on a scheme that is set to end at the end of the month.
However, the scheme set to replace furlough, the Jobs Support Scheme, has excluded the events industry, as it only supports staff working fewer hours rather than being legally unable to work at all.
Without further government intervention, and new government regulations making it unlikely for the industry to reopen on a wide basis in the short term, Live Music Industry Venues and Entertainment (LIVE), have suggested that half of permanent roles and nearly all temporary and freelance roles will be lost by the end of the year.
These numbers do not factor in other sectors that work with the events industry such as hotels and hospitality.
The culture recovery fund is set to save 10,000 jobs, and the first two rounds of funding are set to award £88m to the music industry, which has helped several organisations.
Small venues and music groups are unfortunately unable to meet the criteria for funding, and certain sectors such as clubs and electronic music organisations have struggled to find funding.
Continued funding needs to be focused not only at events venues and larger organisations but also the innovative grassroots, who contribute the most to an incredible music scene but are set to receive the least support.
If specialists with their expertise, knowledge and insight are forced to leave the sector, and smaller but exceptionally innovative and influential venues are forced to close their doors, it will become increasingly difficult for the industry to fully recover from what is set to be a very challenging year.
The government have the power to protect music, which is a vital part of people’s lives and has become ever more important to us in difficult moments, and their decisions in the next weeks and months will become crucial.