Up to 170,000 live music industry jobs could be lost before 2021, new report warns

Naomi Ackerman
·2-min read
Nigel Howard
Nigel Howard

Up to 170,000 jobs in the live music industry are at risk after an 80% fall in sector revenues, a new report has warned.

The report, commissioned by campaign group LIVE and carried out by Media Insight Consulting, found that over 26,000 permanent jobs will be lost before 2021 without continued Government support, and stated that a further 144,000 self-employed and freelance roles in the sector "will have effectively ceased to exist by the end of 2020".

A-Listers set to give London gigs at the O2 and Wembley this year, including Taylor Swift and Elton John, have cancelled their tours.

The knock-on impact of cancellations and restrictions on venues and performances has left the live music sector and its workers on a "cliff edge", the report found.

The Culture Secretary has put in place a £500 million fund to support the arts (AFP via Getty Images)
The Culture Secretary has put in place a £500 million fund to support the arts (AFP via Getty Images)

Economist Chris Carey of Media Insight Consulting said: “From the artists on stage, to the venues, and the many specialist roles and occupations that make live music happen, this research shows clearly that the entire ecosystem is being decimated.”

The report found 76% of workers in the sector were utilising the furlough scheme as of August 31, with many at risk of redundancy.

It also suggested the Treasury's Culture Recovery Fund is protecting at least 10,000 at-risk employees.

The Culture Recovery Fund is a £500m grant programme aimed at saving venues and institutions that had been financially stable before the pandemic.

The first tranche, awarded last week, saw £257 million given to 1,385 venues across England.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that the “record investment” of grants prove that the government is “here for culture”, but industry representatives are calling for further support for freelancers in the sector while it largely remains shuttered.

Venues which missed out on the fund may benefit from further Government grants to be announced in the coming weeks. The Treasury is also offering a £270 million loan scheme, and the Bounce Back Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan schemes to the sector.

There are also grants available through the Theatres Trust.

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