Will The Music Industry Be The Same After Covid-19?

a 3D image of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Photo: Getty

The recent pandemic known as the Coronavirus or Covid-19 has taken hold of many industries like never before, stopping businesses from running and causing people in all sectors of work to lose their jobs. One of the industries sustaining the most damage is the music and events industry, with mass gatherings being made illegal under new social distancing guidelines in order to stop the spread of the virus, musicians, venues and events companies are finding themselves unable to make a living with a reported £13.9 million pounds of musician’s earnings being lost due to the virus. (The Stage, 2020)

I have had almost all of my performances for 2020 cancelled which has caused me to lose a large portion of my income for the year. Thankfully due to the fact that I am still at University I am able to receive a student loan which has enabled me to continue living pretty much as I am and I am also still able to teach my piano students online via Skype and Facetime. Many of my friends who work as full-time musicians or events specialists aren’t so lucky.

Jonathan Synn performs in Guangzhou. Photo: Handout

Alongside the impact for the music industry alone, there needs to be a mention of the gross loss this has caused the U.K economy. According to Forbes, the music industry brings in a total of £111.7 billion a year which is a total of £13 million an hour! Further, according to gov.uk the creative industries have been reported to be growing faster than the national economy!

Despite this, industry professionals are saying that the U.K Government are not doing enough to help claiming that the new scheme to help self-employed workers in the U.K during the pandemic would leave some creatives with less than a quarter of their normal income. (Innews, 2020) There are of course other “normal” jobs available with companies classified as “key work” such as supermarkets crying out for more staff to cope with the growing demand for food and other necessary supplies amid the panic buying we are seeing up and down the country. However, some argue that they shouldn’t have to put themselves at risk in order to make a living when those that are employed by companies are eligible to receive 80% of their yearly wage. This is something I slightly agree with but that’s a whole different article within itself.

There have been schemes devised by the Musician’s Union and other charities whereby they are offering grants to help supplement lost earnings but they of course aren’t able to offer thousands of pounds. I would advise that those that haven’t applied for a grant definitely do so — It will by no means solve all of your problems but it will make things a lot easier for you. The Musician’s Union grant can be found HERE but please be aware you need to be a member in order to have access to this grant.

With some pubs and live music venues set to be shut for the rest of the year and some having to close their doors altogether due to the financial strain, many of us are wondering if the industry we work so hard for and love so much will ever be the same again. I personally think there will be some definite changes coming and when we are out of this lockdown one of two things will happen: the British public will realise how much they have missed live music and venues will be packed to the rafters OR people will come to the conclusion that they were fine without paying out the expense to small time bands and the industry will just continue to suffer. Also, with the ongoing trend of virtual gigs via Facebook live streams, maybe concert-goers will discover they would rather save money on travel and other expenses and pay a smaller fee for a concert within the comfort of their own home, I wonder how we as performers will adjust to that!

I remain optimistic and think we will come out stronger in the end. To my industry colleagues who are struggling with the loss of income, stay strong… it will get better over time and I am here if any of you need to chat or rant about how rubbish things are for us right now. To the public, thank you for supporting live music when you were able to and I hope to see the usual suspects in the crowd at a gig soon!

Lastly, thank you to all of those classified as key workers, in the medical field or otherwise, it is all of you that are helping to keep this great country afloat! Stay safe and well everybody, thanks for reading!

References

The Stage.(2020) Research reveals musicians have lost £13.9 million in earnings as hardship fund launched. [online} available at: https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-research-reveals-musicians-have-lost-139-million-in-earnings-as-hardship-fund-launched

Forbes. (2020) The heartbreaking cost for musicians are Covid-19 stops the music. {online} available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/oisinlunny/2020/03/24/the-heartbreaking-cost-for-musicians-as-covid-19-stops-the-music/#27fc66f17a97

Gov.uk. (2020) UK’s creative industries contributes almost £13 billion to the UK economy every hour. (online) available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uks-creative-industries-contributes-almost-13-million-to-the-uk-economy-every-hour

Innews. (2020) It’s getting pretty desperate. (online) available at: https://inews.co.uk/news/health/musicians-income-government-support-coronavirus-pandemic-2526923

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