One third of musicians in the UK (34 per cent) are considering abandoning the industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the Musicians’ Union.
The poll also revealed that 47 per cent of the union’s members have already sought work outside of the industry due to the financial hardship caused by the pandemic, while 70 per cent of members have found it impossible to work more than a quarter of what they used to.
87 per cent of respondents said that they will face financial hardship once the government’s furlough scheme ends, while 33 per cent said they didn’t even qualify for financial support schemes in the first place. As a result, 88 per cent believe the government has not done enough to support musicians during the pandemic.
“These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good,” said Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union. “In better times, our members drive a £5 billion 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.”
He added: “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. With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30 per cent of usual capacity. We are calling on the government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues’ potential revenue to 60 per cent, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry.”
The Musicians’ Union’s poll was backed up by separate research conducted by Encore Musicians, an online musician booking platform, who surveyed 560 musicians and found that 64 per cent were considering leaving the profession, having lost an average of £11,300 since lockdown began in March. Encore’s research additionally found that young female musicians had 34 per cent fewer gigs booked for 2020 than men.
The Musicians’ Union is encouraging music fans to write to their local MP about safeguarding the future for UK music workers.