UK Live Music Sector Facing 170,000 Job Losses, Study Reveals

The live music sector in the UK, which has effectively been shut down since March and the introduction of lockdown restrictions, is now facing the loss of 170,000 jobs, new research has revealed,  with an 80 per cent decline in revenues expected to be seen in 2020.

The study, carried out on behalf of Live, which represents the live music industry, found that 64 per cent of the 262,000 people working in the sector will find themselves unemployed come Christmas, the Guardian reports.

Some 75 per cent of live music employees were on the original furlough scheme, but those companies that haven’t been able to reopen since the national lockdown in March are now ineligible for the new scheme, due to start in November.

This extended jobs support scheme is intended to protect “viable” jobs, according to chancellor Rishi Sunak, but it only applies to those businesses forced to close as a result of local covid restrictions, not those that are already shut.

The study did find that the £1.57 billion culture recovery fund is thought to have saved 10,000 full-time equivalent roles in the industry, but it also noted that the fund will not prevent hundreds of thousands of jobs from potentially being lost.

Co-author of the report and economist Chris Carey was quoted by the news source as saying: “From the artists on stage to the venues and the many specialist roles and occupations that make live music happen, this research shows clearly that the entire ecosystem is being decimated.”

Chair of the Concert Promoters Association Phil Bowdery commented on the findings, saying that the live music industry was one of the first sectors to shut up shop and it will be one of the last to reopen its doors.

It is currently stuck in a situation where it can’t operate because of official restrictions, but also where it is unable to take advantage of the extended job support scheme once furlough has come to an end.

Live music added an impressive £4.5 billion to the UK economy in 2019, but the future certainly looks bleak for many venues, festivals and concerts, as well as the hundreds of thousands of people working to make the sector so successful.

It is unlikely that businesses in the industry will be able to operate until 2021 at the earliest, so government support is absolutely essential to prevent mass insolvencies, given that there seems to be no immediate end to social distancing measures in sight and there is yet to be an agreement relating to financial support from the government.

The #LetTheMusicPlay campaign has been running since July, highlighting the importance of the sector to the economy. You can show your support by sharing graphics and quotes from big-name artists on social media, using the hashtag and showing just how important live music is to you.

Looking for electronic dance music promoters right now? Get in touch with Whoa Promo today.

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