New report reveals one in three music jobs wiped out by Covid

Florence Lockheart
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

UK Music calls on the Government to help rebuild the sector.

UK Music logo
UK Music logo

Released today, UK Music’s This Is Music 2021 annual report reveals the devastating impact of Covid-19. A total of 69,000 jobs were wiped out - one in three of the total workforce.

The pandemic triggered a wave of job losses across the UK music industry, which saw employment fall by 35% from 2019’s all-time high of 197,000 to 128,000 in 2020. This impact was felt right across the industry as festivals were cancelled and studios and venues were forced to close. Musicians and crew were unable to work and, in a sector where three-quarters of workers are self-employed, many were not covered by Government support schemes.

The huge economic contribution that music made to the UK economy in 2019 almost halved as a result of the pandemic - falling by 46% from a record £5.8 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2019 to £3.1 billion in 2020. 

UK Music now calls on the Government to introduce measures, outlined in the report’s Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan, to help the sector rebuild after the pandemic. UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin explains: ‘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. 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.’ The organisation is calling on the government to implement: 

  • Tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs
  • Urgent action to remove barriers to touring the EU
  • A permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets
  • More funding and support for music exports
  • Boosting funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure talent for the future

UK Music also commissioned Public First to survey the views of the general public on the music industry. This survery found: 

  • 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage 
  • 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas
  • 74% say music is important to their quality of life
  • UK listens to 60 billion hours of music a year - the equivalent of 7 million years
  • 1 million people took up a music instrument during lockdown

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries acknowledged the vital role the government will need to play in the music industry’s recovery, saying: ‘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.’ She adds that ‘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.’

You can find out more about UK Music at their website.