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UK Live Music Group says government support must be expanded and extended to ensure survival of British live music sector

By | Published on Monday 11 May 2020

UK Music

The UK Live Music Group – the committee within cross-sector trade group UK Music that brings together all the various strands of the British live music industry – has said that thousands of jobs will be axed and £900 million in economic value lost as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown unless there is urgent government action to support the sector.

Among the depressing stats shared by the group were that thousands of jobs are likely to be lost in the live music business, while £900 million could be wiped from the £1.1 billion of value that live music usually brings to the UK economy. The Association Of Independent Festivals adds that 92% of its members face collapse as a result of this year’s summer festival season being cancelled, while 550 grassroots music venues could permanently close.

Those stats were published as the UK government reviewed its COVID-19 response, both in terms of the lockdown measures currently in place and the economic measures that were launched to support those businesses and workers negatively impacted by shutdown.

Amid fears that government support for businesses and workers was set to be downsized, the UK Live Music Group called for that support to actually be extended and expanded to ensure that the live sector can resume once social distancing rules are sufficiently altered to allow venues to reopen and shows to take place. It also sought clarity on when lockdown may be sufficiently relaxed to allow live entertainment to start up again.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson provided a kind of update on the next phase of Britain’s lockdown on TV last night. Though that didn’t really help the live sector. And what was announced was somewhat confusing. Plus half of it only applies in England anyway, with different rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As the UK Live Music Group called for specific support and guidance for the live music industry last week, its Chair Greg Parmley said: “The live music industry has collapsed as a result of coronavirus and it will be one of the last sectors to emerge from this crisis. Removing existing support – such as the furlough scheme and help for self-employed – before live music resumes will trigger thousands of redundancies, and without additional support, the sector may never recover”.

“Live music powers a huge ecosystem of managers, artists, agents, technicians and suppliers, who have no income when there is no live music”, he added. “The effects of this crisis are [also] faced by the entire music industry – labels, publishers, composers and more don’t function without live performance”.