Manchester music venues Deaf Institute and Gorilla to close
(Credit: Alani Cruz)

New study claims that a third of musicians could leave the industry due to coronavirus

A third of musicians could be forced to leave the industry due to the vast financial losses brought on because of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report has claimed.

The research comes from the Musicians’ Union, a collective who are calling on the UK government to provide greater assistance to those affected within the industry. The union previously revealed in April that 19% of their members were considering quitting a career in music due to a lack of government support during the lockdown. Now, however, the latest research carried out by the association has seen that number increase dramatically.

The new research states that 34% of musicians are considering abandoning the industry due to losses made during the pandemic, while nearly half of its members already being forced to seek alternative work and 70% are currently doing less than a quarter of their regular work.

The report then goes on to state that a staggering 87% of musicians believe they will financially struggle once Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme ends next month. The opinion on the government’s handling of the situation makes bleak reading for Sunak with 88% believing that the UK government hasn’t done enough to support the music industry through the pandemic.

As the furlough scheme comes to an end shortly, the Musicians’ Union is now calling on the government to implement a seat-matching scheme and provide tailored support for those unable to get back to work due to the ongoing restrictions.

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge told NME: “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.”

“We appreciate all the Government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now,” Trubridge added. “With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30% of usual capacity. 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.”

He added: “Getting musicians back to work is the priority. However, this is simply not realistic for so many of our members while social distancing remains in place. We strongly urge the Government to recognise the unique situation that our members are in and to provide sector-specific financial support for musicians.”

See the full study, below.

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