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Live music to suffer ‘thousands of job losses’ without urgent government support

UK music industry leaders warn that the coronavirus pandemic will have a 'catastrophic' impact on live music

UK music industry leaders have warned that the coronavirus pandemic will have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on live music unless the government takes action to provide financial support.

According to the UK Live Music Group, the collective voice of promoters, festivals, agents, venues and production services, the impact of coronavirus means that without Government help the live music industry faces a reduction of £900 million from the expected £1.1 billion of income from live music, thousands of job losses forcing the permanent closure of hundreds of businesses and a risk of immediate closure for more than 550 grassroots music venues (82% of the total).

A  survey by the Association of Independent Festivals found 92% of its members face collapse. Three quarters of the industry’s workforce is furloughed, and will need support until live music returns.

The UK Live Music Group is calling on the Government to implement several key measures to help the industry including ongoing support measures, tax breaks on ticket sales, and clear guidance about when venues can reopen while ensuring public health remains the top priority.

‘The sector may never recover’

UK Live Music Group chair Greg Parmley said:

‘The live music industry has collapsed as a result of coronavirus and it will be one of the last sectors to emerge from this crisis. Removing existing support – such as the furlough scheme and help for self-employed – before live music resumes will trigger thousands of redundancies, and without additional support, the sector may never recover.

‘Live music powers a huge eco-system of managers, artists, agents, technicians and suppliers, who have no income when there is no live music. The effects of this crisis are faced by the entire music industry – labels, publishers, composers and more don’t function without live performance.’

A vital part of our economy, culture and social fabric

Lucy Noble, chair of the National Arenas Association and artistic and commercial director of the Royal Albert Hall, said:

‘The Government must not abandon the music industry which is such a vital part of our economy, culture and social fabric.

‘The support for our world-leading industry must continue until we have a chance to get back on our feet.’

Tom Watson, chair of UK Music, said:

‘The music industry is really hurting. Parts of the sector are effectively on life support and will need a sustained package of help from the Government to survive.

‘As the world slowly emerges from the international lockdown, the UK cannot afford to leave behind its economy-boosting music industry. We’ll need more support from Government to survive and remain a long term contributor to the economy.

‘If we are to nurture the next generation of British stars like Adele, Stormzy and Ed Sheeran, we need the Government to listen and act to ensure our music industry remains the envy of the world.’