News: Musicians’ Union Poll Shows Third Of British Artists May Abandon Industry Due To Pandemic

With furlough schemes coming to an end, 87% of musicians who were covered by the schemes say they will be facing financial hardship, and a third (33%) didn’t even qualify for any of the support available. As a result, nine in 10 (88%) believe the Government has not done enough to support musicians during the pandemic.

Horace Trubridge
General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union

The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the music industry across the world, and it feels as though the situation continues to get worse. Sadly mincing words here would simply make this report untrue.

We’ve seen a devastating effect on the sector as many live music venues and nightclubs have been forced to shut their doors, and with the majority of live music events being postponed or outright cancelled – everyone from event organisers and those in marketing, to sound engineers and technicians have been left struggling without work: and of course – musicians, especially those who are smaller artists earning the majority of their incoming from touring or playing live have been left in financial purgatory.

In a new survey conducted by the Musicians’ Union, in which 2,000 members took part: the results have shown that a third of British musicians are considering leaving the music industry entirely, due to the financial strain the pandemic has placed upon them and the failure of those in power to provide assistance as the furlough schemes provided are coming to an end.

Sharing the news on their official website, the Musicians’ Union have stated:

A third (34%) of musicians are considering abandoning the industry completely, due to financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Results from our latest impact poll reveal that nearly half (47%) of our members have already been forced to seek work outside of the industry, with seven in 10 (70%) unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work.

In a response to the alarming poll results, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, Horace Trubridge shared:

These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5bn music industry with their talent. One artist’s gig will create a domino effect of jobs – from lighting technicians to ticket sellers. If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too.

While Trubridge shares that all funding from the Government is appreciated, they “cannot abandon musicians now”. 

9 out of 10 participants in the poll stated they do not believe the government has done enough for musicians, which is quite evident if one has followed the government’s financial response to the arts and culture sector over the past months.

We are calling on the Government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues’ potential revenue to 60%, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry.

Getting musicians back to work is the priority…

…We strongly urge the Government to recognise the unique situation that our members are in and to provide sector specific financial support for musicians.

Horace Trubridge

The Musicians’ Union is calling on the public to take action and write to their MPs in order to preserve the UK’s music industry. There is a template linked on their official website available for all in order to make the process accessible, so everyone’s voice is heard in parliament.

Please visit the Musicians’ Union website for more information and write to your local MPs to add your voice as an urgent call to action.

The livelihoods of those in the industry and the survival of the entire sector we love needs your help. If we work together to help one another, there is always a possibility for positive change.

Feature Image: Andrew Teoh via Unsplash

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