Arts & Culture

Freelancers optimistic about future but say change still needed

Featured Image: Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

More than 60% of freelancers in the UK live music sector are “optimistic about the next 12 months” but wary that positive changes are still needed, according to a new survey.

The study was conducted by Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment (LIVE), which represents 16 live music industry organisations, in partnership with Handle Freelance Solutions, The Back Lounge, and UK Live Event Freelancers Forum.

It was contributed to by 1,281 live music freelancers with 87% stating that freelance work provided their primary income.

A total of 73% felt that live music was a great industry for freelancers to work in, with six in 10 stating their optimism for the coming year.

However, the report also highlighted areas where respondents feel changes are required to improve the experience of freelancers.

These include financial security, better pay, flexibility and work-life balance, which are said to be factors that are becoming increasingly important to those working in live music.

In terms of recruitment and securing work, 59% of respondents said that enough freelance jobs were available but 56% said they found it difficult to access or secure these roles.

A key concern was the cancellation of work by event organisers at short notice, with 48% of respondents having experienced this with less than one week’s notice.

“The research mirrors the conversations that we have daily,” said Handle Freelance Solutions managing director Darren Woolnough.

“It highlights a significant concern where late payments and a lack of formal contracts can often be normalised within the freelance community. Instead of pointing fingers, our commitment is to provide the guidance and solutions to help companies understand how they can deliver an exceptional freelancer experience and this research is invaluable to helping us do exactly that.”

LIVE chief executive Jon Collins took the positives from the report, and said:  “Much in the report is great to see, not least the resoundingly positive response from people when asked if ours is a great industry to be in.

“Of course, reports like this will always highlight opportunities for improvement and we will be taking all of these learnings and funnelling them into the work of our Live Workforce group, where industry experts alongside ED&I and workforce specialists work towards objectives that positively impact the current and future workforce of our industry.”