64% of UK Musicians Are Considering Leaving the Music Industry

London, England. Photo Credit: Benjamin Davies

According to a new study, nearly two-thirds of UK musicians are considering exiting the music industry.

Encore Musicians, a musician-booking platform, disclosed the troubling statistic – and other, similarly discouraging data – in a recently published analysis. Of the 569 UK musicians who participated in the survey, about 64 percent (346 persons) indicated that they are considering “leaving the music profession.”

Additionally, in a testament to the unevenness of the post-lockdown recovery, 40 percent of survey participants (228 individuals) said that they have zero gigs booked between now and the end of the year; the average at this point in 2019 was 27 scheduled performances. In other words, evidence suggests that members of the music community are enjoying far fewer opportunities to earn a living than other professionals.

And despite the fact that London gave socially distanced indoor concerts the green light to resume last month, the study also revealed that artists’ booked gigs (between August and December) are down 87 percent from 2019.

In our reporting on the resumption of concerts in Britain, we noted that the Music Venue Trust (MVT), a non-profit advocate for UK venues, stated “that the vast majority of grassroots music venues are not financially able, or even have the physical premises layout, to deliver these newly permitted events.”

Encore proceeded to relay that UK musicians have lost an average of about $15,143 (£11,300) “in cancelled bookings as a result of the pandemic.” (As an aside, the survey took steps to reach out chiefly to professional musicians; 60 percent of participants were age 30 or older.) Pop artists reported the highest coronavirus-fueled income dip, parting with roughly $26,663 (£19,900) in wages since March.

Earlier this year, we reported on a separate, 1,459-person survey, which found that 20 percent of British musicians feared that the pandemic and its associated lockdown measures would spell the end of their careers. Despite the subsequent relaxation of these requirements, it appears that even ongoing social-distancing requirements are continuing to have a substantial impact on the live-event sphere and, specifically, artists’ ability to earn a living from shows.

Needless to say, a significant number of performers stand to benefit from live music’s full-scale reemergence. On this front, leading concert promoter Live Nation is banking on a comeback arriving in early 2021. But maybe that’s too soon: just recently, Lollapalooza cofounder Marc Geiger predicted that things won’t bounce back until 2022.

Though it’s unclear when performances will return to form, recent weeks haven’t been without positive live-music developments. Last month, Insomniac sold out 2021 EDC Las Vegas tickets after just one day, in a sign that fans are eager to resume enjoying traditional festivals and concerts. Previously, researchers suggested that the pandemic would have a long-term effect on music lovers’ desire to attend gigs.

8 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Before You Leave

    TAKE DOWN ALL OF YOUR WORK FROM STREAMING SITES

    THESE SITES PROFIT GREATLY FROM NEGLECTFUL INDEPENDENT MUSICIANS

    THEY WILL KEEP YOUR WORK UP AND KEEP STREAMING IT EITHER WAY!!

    BUT

    YOU WILL NEVER KNOW BECAUSE THEY DON’T REPORT IT

    I HAD SEEN MY WORK HIDDEN UNDER SEVERAL OTHER ACCOUNTS WITH SIMILAR NAMES!!!

    USUALLY AT THE SAME TIME CERTAIN REGIONS STOP REPORTING NUMBERS TO ME!

    THIS IS WHERE THE BLACK ACCOUNT COMES INTO PLAY

    AT LEAST IF YOU REMOVE YOUR WORK FROM THE SITE YOU HAVE PRESIDENT!!!

    Don’t become another ledger in the monopoly black book!!!

    And good luck

  2. Avatar
    Johnny

    “If you don’t give us your music for free, we’ll just go steal it anyway” is the new business model for the music business. Nobody wants to pay for music any more and with the gigs all getting cancelled in 2020, what are the musicians supposed to do in order to pay their bills and feed their families? Pretty obvious why 64% are quitting. To be replaced by a bunch of dreadful amateurs who suddenly think that they can all become “musicians” and get rich and famous! 800 Million at the last count. And before you know it the fans will be complaining about all the crap music on the radio in 2020! We used to have Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Beach Boys, Queen and now we have ………… (but don’t ever blame the fans!)

  3. Avatar
    Forever Gold Hits

    The recorded music business is very tough,
    bit imagine if you’re an independent film maker .. forget it… how about magazine publisher.. forget it… no ones interested…

    What about romance novelist or drama writer.. hardly anyone buys books… especially by unknown authors..

    The recorded music business beats all those others as a hit song can still earns millions …

    Tones and I “Dance Monkey”
    has earned the writer/artist millions of dollars and is still a huge global streaming and download hit, over 18 months in the charts…

    • Avatar
      Johnny

      Do you have proof that this artist made millions and if so let’s see the proof. Most of the millions don’t go to the artist, the money goes to the record company. And the record companies continues to brainwash fans who think the artists are all rich when in fact most of them are poor. Even the Beatles weren’t millionaires at the end of their careers and they sold a lot of records. And in this new era of streaming most artists are making next to nothing now. Don’t believe the BS they put in the media about artists or what the PR people say

  4. Avatar
    Forever Gold Hits

    Johnny in today’s world you can be your own record label and have your music everywhere via a digital aggregator.

    Labels, usually the big labels, will have cross collateralization and recoupment clauses in their contracts. This is to do with trying to claw back their investment in the artist. But there are grey areas, cutouts, excessive promotion or expenses deducted from the artist account and also the problem of not actually receiving an accounting or royalties. Small independents can be worse as they often don’t have the software for the reams of streaming data that needs to be crunched for royalties to be paid.. or the staff or time, or willingness to do this.

    So, what’s the answer… Do it yourself is the answer… build up your following, release your music yourself and collect all the royalties yourself.

    • Avatar
      Johnny

      From the numbers I have seen about 0.1% of the musicians make money. 99.9% lose money. You should not base your summary of the music business on the VERY FEW musicians who actually make money as they are so very few. I have had loads of number ones around the world and never made much money. And one of my bands recently came in at #1 on a Top 300 Poll as we were very popular, and again I never saw much money. I have a substantial following but my last album release was up on so many of the Illegal sites the day BEFORE it was released! I did everything myself for many years including my own record company and Publishing company, and it is hard to stay in business when 4 out of 5 people in Spain still steal music. And try making a great album on a streaming budget is a JOKE! Forever Gold Hits, if you are in the music business then let’s see your Stats, how much money have you made so far? Just don’t believe the BS you read about all these millionaires in our business. R. Kelley they said was worth $150 Million then he couldn’t raise his bail money to get himself out of prison! People are so gullible they believe all this BS the Record companies put out. Chances of making any money in today’s music business are pretty much ZERO and I no longer waste my time making music for people to get for free on YouTube and Spotify! Maybe go to Youtube and see what Joe Walsh has to say about the music business. I think he might know more than you about the business!

  5. Avatar
    Forever Gold Hits

    Johnny you’re very right about how hard it is to make a living in the recorded music business. I agree with many of the points you made.. but we have to adapt as the old model has been decimated. Some say the internet ruined everything.. maybe they’re right…

    You sound like you’ve had bigger successes than what I ever enjoyed.

    I think the USA is a very tough market and Canada, Australia too, the people I know (apart from the one I mentioned earlier) who became multi millionaires in the business were based in the UK and made their wealth as songwriters/producers.
    That was in the vinyl and CD era.. some are still songwriting & producing but their time in the sunshine has passed.

    Indy Labels in the days of vinyl and CD had the problem of guesswork in manufacturing volume, warehousing stock, distribution (Pinnacle was a major Indy distributor that went bust owing creditors substantial amounts) and the other issue was stock was given to the shops on a “sale or return for full credit” basis.

    So you could ship gold and return platinum
    (remember the Casablanca story of Neil Bogart and the Cher record…)

    If I was young again and wanted to be a hit songwriter / producer I suppose I’d move to Los Angeles and join the throngs of other young (and not so young) hopefuls trying to become the next Max Martin or Dr Luke hit machine.

    Oh that’s another thing, the LA trend is to have songwriting committees where 4, 6 or more writers are in the room writing the song.. the pie suddenly gets diluted having to slice it up 4 ways plus the publishing slices.

    The “Dance Monkey” Tones and I method is a lot more rewarding… only one writer ..
    and a “one member” artist.