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MMF survey: Covid-19 to cost artists, managers over £68m

A Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition survey highlights the cost of show cancellations for artists and managers, with £3.1m already lost in commission

By Anna Grace on 27 Mar 2020

MMF: Covid-19 to cost artists, managers over £68m

MMF CEO Annabella COldrick

The UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has today highlighted the impact of the coronavirus live music shutdown, with over £50m already lost to the wider music economy, including £3.1m in lost management commission.

The MMF and FAC project that loss of income if all shows are cancelled for the next six months will surpass £61.4m, with a projected loss of £7.1m from merchandise sales, record sales and other related sales.

The findings are drawn from survey responses from more than 150 music managers and artists, detailing the impact of more than 2,100 cancelled shows, delayed campaigns and lost earnings.

Aside from an immediate loss of cash-flow, the findings raise concerns for the commercial music sector’s longer-term sustainability. The organisations call for greater assistance from the UK’s largest music businesses and organisations, given that the government’s recently announced support measures for the self-employed will not pay out until June.

The MMF and FAC welcome the creation of emergency funding initiatives, such as Arts Council England’s £160 million package for cultural organisations, freelancers and individual artists; Help Musicians’ £5m coronavirus financial hardship fund, which today received an additional £500,000 from the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain; the Musicians’ Union’s £1m coronavirus hardship fund, the PRS for Music emergency relief fund and Spotify’s Covid-19 music relief fund.

“Artists and music makers are faced with a short term crisis and a longer-term catastrophe”

However, the organisations point to measures put in place in other countries, such as the German music licensing society’s (GEMA) €40m crisis fund for its songwriter members, the Swedish government’s €45m cultural response fund and the Norwegian government’s earmarking of €25m funding for the cultural sector, and state more must be done by large UK music businesses “particularly in the recorded sector”.

MMF and FAC propose that major labels, major music publishers and “others who can afford it” offer artists and songwriters a “recoupment holiday”; direct contributions to emergency support funds for artists and their teams; a diversion of “unattributable” royalty collections into an emergency hardship fund; and advances on performer and composer royalties as loans against future payments.

“Artists and music makers are faced with a short term crisis and a longer-term catastrophe,” comments MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick. “This MMF and FAC survey is only a snapshot, but it highlights that millions of pounds have already been lost through cancelled shows and campaigns.

“With government support for freelancers not kicking in until June we need the biggest record labels, music publishers and licensing organisations to act. We need them to do more, and we need them to do so now.”

FAC general manager David Martin adds: “We need all parts of the global music community to do their bit to support those that are most in need, and those with the greatest resource must do their fair share to provide this support.”


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