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Nearly one in three music industry jobs lost because of Covid

·3 min read

Almost one in three jobs in the music industry were lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

The trade body UK Music said 69,000 jobs were wiped out as the sector struggled with the “devastating impact” of Covid-19.

Employment in the sector fell by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, according to the organisation’s report, This Is Music 2021.

Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Day 3
(Yui Mok/PA)

“The music creators and live music sectors experienced the greatest decline – the majority of those working in the industry are self-employed, and they
have been hit especially hard by Covid-19,” it said.

The report added that while some were able to access Government support, “many were not eligible”.

“This has resulted in thousands of music creators, crew and others leaving the industry for other sectors,” according to the report.

“Many are still committed to a career in music, but necessity has meant finding alternative sources of income.”

Last year venues repeatedly had to close amid a series of lockdowns, while many big events including Glastonbury were cancelled.

Capital FM Monster Mash Up with Voxi by Vodafone – London
(Matt Crossick/PA)

The music industry’s contribution to the economy fell by 46% from £5.8 billion in 2019 to £3.1 billion in 2020, the report states.

The value of UK music exports also fell by 23% from £2.9 billion in 2019 to £2.3 billion last year.

UK Music has called on the Government to introduce measures including tax incentives to help the industry.

Its chief executive, Jamie 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.”

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.”

Regional cabinet meeting – Bristol
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries (Steve Parsons/PA)

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries wrote an introduction to the report that acknowledged how difficult 2020 was for the music sector.

She said: “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 £2 billion 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 £700 million 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.”

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