British umbrella organisation UK Music has released its annual This is Music 2021 report which reveals the devastating impact on the music industry due to COVID-19, with one in three jobs lost as venues, festivals, studios and even musicians feel the effect of the pandemic. 

The report also noted that many of those present in the industry at the time were self-employed, meaning they could not qualify for any of the Government support schemes available. 

Iconic British music festival Glastonbury was cancelled along with all other live music events and festivals, while venues and even studios were forced to shut. 

Across the entire sector, which encompasses live music and events, employment plunged by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020. This means that a total of 69,000 people lost their jobs. 

The music industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn ($8bn/€6.8bn) to £3.1bn in 2020 and music exports dropped 23% from £2.9bn in 2019 to £2.3bn in 2020. 

In light of the findings, UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin (pictured) said the report provided the necessary evidence for the UK Government to step in and provide help for the industry –  which can then lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs and offer the industry a helping hand towards post-pandemic growth. 

UK Music is calling on the Government to implement tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs, urgent action to remove barriers to touring in the European Union, a permanent reduction in the VAT rate on live music event tickets, more funding and support for music exports and extra funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline. 

UK Music

Njoku-Goodwin said: “The past 18 months have been exceptionally challenging for the UK music industry, with billions wiped off the value of the sector – but we are determined to look to the future and focus on recovery. 

“Music matters to us all. And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it’s more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry. In our Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan we identify the policy interventions required and set out a clear action plan to get the industry back up on its feet.”

He added: “With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery. This Is Music sets out the positive role the music industry can play in our country’s future, and the steps that need to be taken to achieve that. 

“Music is a key national asset, part of our history and our heritage. More than that, it’s part of our future. And we can’t value it highly enough.”

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the UK Nadine Dorries added: “I know how difficult the last year and a half has been – with venues closed, stages dark, and artists prevented from doing what they love. The whole industry has shown great strength, patience and resilience during these hard times, pulling together to help the whole country get through the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our £2bn Culture Recovery Fund has been a vital lifeline, helping music organisations across the UK to survive one of the worst peacetime crises on record. As doors reopened, our Events Research Programme has enabled music events to return safely.

“We have also listened carefully to UK Music’s arguments about a market failure regarding events insurance, and introduced the Government-backed £700m Live Events Reinsurance Scheme to ensure future events can be planned with certainty.

“Until now, our focus has been rescue and reopening. Now the priority is to ensure a strong recovery. The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I give my commitment that the Government will continue to back it every step of the way.”

Image: UK Music

Image: Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash