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69k industry jobs lost to Covid, report reveals

Music industry employment plummeted by 35% from an all-time high of 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, according to This Is Music report

By James Hanley on 19 Oct 2021

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin

UK Music’s annual This Is Music report has revealed the impact of Covid-19 wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs – one in three of the total workforce.

Employment plummeted by 35% from an all-time high of 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, according to the 2021 report, while the industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn to £3.1bn year-on-year. Music exports also dropped 23% from £2.9bn to £2.3bn in the same period.

Launching the report, UK Music has called on the government to introduce tax incentives and other employment-boosting measures to help the sector rebuild. It also calling for urgent action to resolve the problems facing musicians and crew touring the EU.

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: “The past 18 months have been exceptionally challenging for the UK music industry, with billions wiped off the value of the sector – but we are determined to look to the future and focus on recovery.

“Music matters to us all. And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it’s more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry.”

“In our Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan we identify the policy interventions required and set out a clear action plan to get the industry back up on its feet.”

With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery

UK Music, which carried out the flagship study with its members since 2013, is now urging the government to implement tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs, and to take action to remove the barriers to touring the EU.

In addition, it is calling for a permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets, more funding and support for music exports, and an increase in funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline.

“With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery,” adds Njoku-Goodwin. “This Is Music sets out the positive role the music industry can play in our country’s future, and the steps that need to be taken to achieve that.

“Music is a key national asset, part of our history and our heritage. More than that, it’s part of our future. And we can’t value it highly enough.”

UK Music has also commissioned Public First to survey the views of the general public on the music industry. Among the findings were that 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage, 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas and 74% say music is important to their quality of life.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries adds: “I know how difficult the last year and a half has been – with venues closed, stages dark, and artists prevented from doing what they love. The whole industry has shown great strength, patience and resilience during these hard times, pulling together to help the whole country get through the Covid-19 crisis.

“Our £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund has been a vital lifeline, helping music organisations across the UK to survive one of the worst peacetime crises on record. As doors reopened, our Events Research Programme has enabled music events to return safely.

“We have also listened carefully to UK Music’s arguments about a market failure regarding events insurance, and introduced the Government-backed £700 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme to ensure future events can be planned with certainty.

“Until now, our focus has been rescue and reopening. Now the priority is to ensure a strong recovery. The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I give my commitment that the Government will continue to back it every step of the way.”


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