New data published by the Musicians’ Union (MU) suggest that 87% of those members who have received government support during the Covid-19 crisis face financial hardship when the schemes end.
A poll of 2000 members taken between 7 and 14 of September indicated that a third of members didn’t qualify for government assistance at all, and almost half of the total membership has been forced to seek work outside music. 70% of members have been unable to undertake more than 25% of their usual work due to restrictions and 34% are considering leaving professional music altogether.
The Musicians’ Union is calling on the Government to work with them to support their members. ‘We appreciate all the Government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now,’ says the Union’s General Secretary, Horace Trubridge.
‘With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30% of usual capacity. We are calling on the Government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues’ potential revenue to 60%, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry.’
Trubridge points out that this situation doesn’t impact on the 32,000 members of the union, alone. ‘These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5bn music industry with their talent.
‘One artist’s gig will create a domino effect of jobs – from lighting technicians to ticket sellers. If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too.’