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Live music industry could lose 170,000 jobs by end of 2020, new report warns

Roisin O'Connor
·3-min read
Glastonbury festival in 2019 (Getty Images)
Glastonbury festival in 2019 (Getty Images)

The live music industry is facing the loss of 170,000 jobs before the end of the year if the government withdraws its support, a new report claims.

The report warned that 26,000 permanent jobs and a further 144,000 self-employment and freelance roles could effectively cease to exist.

It found that revenue for the live music sector had plummeted to almost zero since March, while the drop of 81 per cent compared to 2019 is four times the national average.

Independent research conducted by Chris Carey and Tim Chambers for Media Insight Consulting also looked at the positive impact of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

However, the research also reported that 80 per cent of employees are still reliant on the furlough scheme, which ends this month.

The report comes shortly after prime minister Boris Johnson warned that severe restrictions could be in place for a further six months, meaning a full year without live music.

The live music industry contributed £4.5bn to the UK economy last year.

Phil Bowdery, chair of the Concert Promoters Association, said: “We were one of the first sectors to close and we will be one of the last to reopen. We are currently caught in a catch-22 where we are unable to operate due to Government restrictions but are excluded from the Extended Job Support Scheme as the furlough comes to an end.”

He added: “If businesses can’t access that support soon then the majority of our specialist, highly trained workforce will be gone.”

Revellers at the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, one of hundreds of live music venues under threatGetty Images
Revellers at the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, one of hundreds of live music venues under threatGetty Images

The report was commissioned by LIVE, a new umbrella organisation representing the live music industry. Its members include the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), the Music Managers Forum (MMF), and the Music Venue Trust (MVT).

Earlier this week, the MVT announced an 89 per cent success rate for grassroots music venue members who applied for funding from the Culture Recovery Fund.

The total amount awarded to them was £41,352,593 out of an overall distribution of £334,062,243 across the two rounds.

Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust said, “Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes this very effective intervention by The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England into the grassroots music venue sector. As a result of this fund, the challenges facing the sector have been substantially reduced.”

A number of music stars have condemned the government’s response towards the sector, however, among them Liam Gallagher, Tim Burgess and Badly Drawn Boy.

After a vague response from chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak about employment in the arts and the idea of people “retraining” for new jobs should their current jobs be lost, Gallagher tweeted: “So the dopes in gov telling musicians and people in arts to retrain and get another job what and become massive c***s like you nah yer alright c’mon you know LG x.”

He added: “This country would be beyond w*** if it wasn’t for the arts and the music and football show a bit of respect you little TURD cmon you know LG x.”

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