Live music sector facing 170,000 job losses by Christmas – report

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

The UK’s live music sector faces some 170,000 job losses by Christmas without further Government support, new research indicates.

Research carried out on behalf of LIVE, an umbrella group representing the live music industry, suggests more than 26,000 permanent jobs will be lost as the furlough scheme winds down.

An additional 144,000 full-time equivalent roles, including self-employed and freelance workers, will have effectively ceased to exist by the end of 2020, the report warns.

LIVE said revenue from the sector would also fall by 81% compared with 2019.

The research authors warned of the industry facing a “cliff-edge”.

Early estimates suggest that 10,000 full-time equivalent roles will be saved as a direct result of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

LIVE said its research indicated live music supported 210,000 full-time equivalent roles and contributed £4.5 billion to the UK economy in 2019.

Musician Sir Van Morrison said in a statement: “These figures and potential job losses in our industry will have a devastating impact on people’s lives.

“The sheer scale of the damage being done by this government to the live music industry is frightening and without further intervention to let live music continue safely, these policies will result in the decimation of a sector that employs thousands of people and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands.”

Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association, said: “We were one of the first sectors to close and we will be one of the last to reopen.

“We are currently caught in a catch-22 where we are unable to operate due to Government restrictions but are excluded from the extended Job Support Scheme as the furlough comes to an end.

“If businesses can’t access that support soon then sadly many more people will lose their jobs in the coming months.”

Economist Chris Carey, of Media Insight Consulting, who co-authored the report, 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.

“Without further, urgent Government investment in protecting this industry, the UK will lose its place as a cultural leader in live entertainment.

“Moreover, the skills we lose in this time will significantly hinder the sector’s ability to recover and return to driving economic growth and supplying UK jobs.”

The research, conducted by Mr Carey and Tim Chambers for Media Insight Consulting, referred to a combination of published industry data and primary research.

Research was carried out in collaboration with various UK trade bodies working in live music.

A DCMS spokeswoman said: “We are working flat out to support our world class performing arts sector through these challenging times. Over three-quarters of eligible people in the cultural sectors have benefited from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

“Our unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which builds on £200 million from Arts Council England, is helping to stabilise organisations across the country, protect jobs and ensure work continues to flow to freelancers.”