Fragile UK music {industry} requires assist amid sluggish restoration | Music {industry}

The multibillion-pound UK music {industry} stays nearly a 3rd smaller than earlier than the pandemic as rampant inflation, hovering prices and Brexit crimson tape threaten to derail its fragile restoration, a report warns.

UK Music, the umbrella physique representing the {industry} from artists and document labels to dwell efficiency, is asking for a bundle of assist together with tax reduction, a VAT lower for struggling venues and a streamlining of restrictions affecting employees and touring between Europe and the UK.

The organisation’s annual Music by Numbers report, which spans matters together with music gross sales and licensing, stadium excursions, gigs in grassroots venues and merchandise, discovered the {industry}’s contribution to the UK economic system rose 26% year-on-year to £4bn in 2021. Nonetheless, this stays 31% down on the document £5.8bn in 2019.

Whereas music streaming boomed and gross sales of CDs and vinyl surged in pandemic situations, the dwell music {industry}, which employs tens of 1000’s of musicians, songwriters, producers and venue homeowners, was badly hit and continues to face a “fragile and precarious” restoration.

Main occasions together with Glastonbury and BST Hyde Park have been cancelled final yr, whereas music venues have been capable of open for simply 4 months, limiting the return of employees and artists.

In 2020 greater than a 3rd of UK music {industry} employees, 69,000 in whole, misplaced their jobs. Their numbers rose 14% to 145,000 final yr, nevertheless this stays 26% fewer than the 197,000 employed in 2019.

“Our workforce has been demoralised and decimated,” mentioned Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music’s chief government. “The truth that tens of 1000’s of them have nonetheless not returned ought to fear policymakers and the general public alike. Our sector nonetheless faces a critical menace from the financial storm that might blow our fragile restoration off target with out pressing authorities assist.”

UK Music is asking for assist together with an extension of the massively profitable tax reduction programmes that the movie, TV and gaming industries get pleasure from, a VAT lower to five% to assist struggling venues and scrapping crimson tape that makes it troublesome to deliver employees in from Europe and considerably extra pricey for acts to tour within the EU.

The restoration is being hammered by hovering prices for venues and musicians, by some estimates up 35% in contrast with 2019, together with highway crews, catering, safety, transportation and extra just lately gas and vitality prices.

“The {industry} has been hit by rocketing prices proper throughout the availability chain, and except venues, studios and different music companies get the assistance they want, there’s a critical threat that they may very well be compelled to shut their doorways for good,” says UK Music.

British music exports, which embrace document gross sales and streams, dwell exhibits by British artists and merchandise gross sales, grew 10% to £2.5bn. Nonetheless, that is nonetheless properly under the £2.9bn in pre-pandemic 2019.

The UK is the second largest exporter of recorded music on the earth after the US, with Adele, Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa releasing three of the highest six bestselling albums of 2021.

“The UK music {industry} is working onerous to get better after the catastrophic affect of Covid, however there may be nonetheless some approach to go to revive the roles and development misplaced in the course of the pandemic,” mentioned Njoku-Goodwin.

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