The French Music Industry Will Plunge 43 Percent In 2020 Due to COVID-19, Study Says

Paris, France. Photo Credit: Isaiah Bekkers

A new report is shedding light upon the depth of the losses that France’s music community has suffered as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Conducted and published by France’s Tous Pour La Musique, an association of artists, producers, music managers, and others, the analysis paints a decidedly bleak picture of the French music industry, including both its ongoing losses and road to recovery.

At its outset, the 30-page-long study indicates that France’s music revenue will drop 43 percent (year over year) by 2020’s end, representing a loss of over $5 billion (€4.5 billion). Admittedly, the figure appears suspect – the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) states in its annual report that global recorded music industry revenue came in at about $20 billion in 2019 – but it provides telling context concerning the outlook of the domestic music market.

The Tous Pour La Musique notes that the total revenue drop-off marks an unprecedented fall from France’s pre-COVID-19 music industry income, with the downturn’s fiscal difficulties expected to span well beyond 2020. Additionally, losses in recorded music (20 percent), live performances (83 percent), and other industry areas are indicative of the pandemic’s far-reaching effects on earnings.

In coordination with social distancing measures, fewer public outings, and the widely reported general economic downturn, these music-specific revenue decreases will bring about a 23 percent (€250 million/$280.91 million) fall in SACEM’s 2020 collections, according to Tous Pour La Musique. This number (the $280.91 million loss, that is; the percentage appears to be an estimate) is roughly in line with SACEM’s previously reported annual collections.

Plus, the study pinpoints a 36 percent year-over-year revenue decrease in “related markets” including streaming, musical instrument manufacturing, audio equipment manufacturing, and more.

From there, the detail-oriented analysis highlights French music industry losses between March (during the domestic onset of the COVID-19 crisis) and May specifically, French copyright losses stemming from the coronavirus (23 percent year over year), and employee layoffs and firings.

France is hardly the only nation to experience heavy music industry losses due to the novel coronavirus. Across the globe, the live event sphere – including promoters, venues, and particularly artists – has been hit especially hard.  Smaller promoters and venues are fighting for their lives, while larger companies like Live Nation and AEG are battling monstrous declines.

Independent record stores have also had an immensely difficult time staying afloat, chiefly because of the full-scale lockdown implemented amid the pandemic’s initial portion. But some organizations and many individuals have taken steps to help the businesses weather the storm and keep their doors open.