The Covid-19 outbreak has already cost the UK music industry £50m according to a study by the UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC).
The study quantifies the losses resulting from Covid-19 on 150 British music managers, producers, artists and music engineers. It details the impact of 2,100-plus cancelled shows, delayed campaigns and lost earnings.
The £50m figure includes £3.1m lost by music managers in commissions, with predictions indicating that more than £68m will be lost if shows are cancelled over the next six months.
MMF and FAC said the findings raise concerns for the commercial music sector’s longer-term sustainability, and has called for assistance from the UK’s largest music businesses and organisations. They are asking for increased support measures, such as “recoupment holidays”, crisis funding, emergency advances and repurposing of “black box” revenues.
MMF chief executive Annabella Coldrick said: “Artists and music makers are faced with a short-term crisis and a longer-term catastrophe. This MMF and FAC survey is only a snapshot, but it highlights that millions of pounds have already been lost through cancelled shows and campaigns. With Government support for freelancers not kicking in until June we need the biggest record labels, music publishers and licensing organisations to act. We need them to do more, and we need them to do so now.”
MMF and FAC welcomed the several support initiatives rolled out in recent weeks to support workers in the industry, including those from Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK, the Musicians’ Union, PRS For Music and Spotify. However, the groups have pointed to other European countries and their “far more comprehensive support packages.”
GEMA, the German music licensing society, has launched a €40m crisis fund for its songwriter members, while the federal government will provide a €50bn aid package for the creative and cultural sectors. The Swedish Government has announced a cultural response fund of €45m, while the Norwegian government has also earmarked significant new funding of €25m for their cultural sector.
David Martin, general manager of FAC, said: “It is evident that the artist and creator community is suffering enormously as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While our survey only demonstrates a proportion of the actual losses, the numbers highlight the acute challenge facing artists and the existential threat that this presents to our wider industry.
“We need all parts of the global music community to do their bit to support those that are most in need, and those with the greatest resource must do their fair share to provide this support.”
Elsewhere, GEMA has also released research that highlights the economic effects of Covid-19 on the music sector and calls for further support. It is calling for “rapid state emergency aid” for things such as rent payments and wage costs for small businesses.
GEMA has also predicted that losses in direct sales will amount to €325m for more than 50,000 musicians over the course of six months with the average annual income of just €13,000.
It states: “Fast, governmental, non-repayable emergency aid is now needed to compensate for damage . These should be made available quickly and unbureaucratically and should not depend on restrictive conditions such as direct impact on health policy measures.
“From the point of view of the industry, it is necessary to think about the downstream effects and also to want to counteract them in the long term.”