More than 26,000 permanent live music industry jobs will be lost in the UK before the end of the year if government support is withdrawn, according to newly published research.
In addition, 144,000 FTE roles, including self-employed and freelance workers, will have effectively ceased to exist by the end of 2020. Revenue into the industry has been almost zero since March and 2020 with a fall of 81% compared to 2019 – four times the national UK average.
The "cliff edge" findings are part of a report by Chris Carey and Tim Chambers for Media Insight Consulting. The study acknowledges the positive impact of the Culture Recovery Fund, but said this is tempered by 80% of employees still being reliant on the furlough scheme which ends this month.
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
Phil Bowdery, Concert Promoters Association
Concert Promoters Association chair Phil Bowdery 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. If businesses can’t access that support soon then the majority of our specialist, highly trained workforce will be gone.”
Despite the new Tier 2 and 3 restrictions putting further limitations on the sector reopening, it is currently excluded from the Government’s Extended Job Support Scheme.
The research, carried out on behalf of LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment), the new umbrella group representing the live music industry, found:
- In 2019 live music supported 210,000 full-time equivalent roles, as well as tens of thousands of freelancers.
- In 2019, live music contributed £4.5 billion to the UK economy.
- In 2020, revenue in the live music business will fall by 81%, and revenue has been close to zero since March.
- 76% of live music employees were utilising the furlough scheme, as of Aug 31, 2020.
- 50% of permanent roles will be lost by the end of the year (26,100 jobs), while temporary and freelance roles have already been decimated.
- The Culture Recovery Fund has had a significant impact, safeguarding around 10,000 at-risk employees (this is reflected in the headline statistics).
With the recent indication from the Prime Minister that severe restrictions could be in place for a further six months - which would mean a full year with next to no live music or revenues - the industry is calling on the government to ensure that it can benefit from the Extended Job Support Scheme.
Andy Lenthall, general manager of the Production Services Association, said: “Those who have often found themselves overlooked and left behind throughout the last six months are the freelancers and self-employed – the people up and do the country that we rely on to bring us the live experiences we love. Things are becoming increasingly desperate for a great many people in the industry and Government needs to recognise that these crucial individuals need support.”
Economist Chris Carey of Media Insight Consulting, co-author of the report, added: “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.
“The Culture Recovery Fund is a help, especially to grassroots music venues. However, larger companies are going to be hit harder and without ongoing Government investment in protecting this industry, the UK will lose its place as a cultural leader in live entertainment. Moreover, the skills we lose in this time will significantly hinder the sector’s ability to recover and return to driving economic growth and supplying UK jobs.”