55% of British Professional Musicians Aren’t Earning Any Money from Music

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London, England. Photo Credit: Eva Dang

55 percent of British musicians are currently earning nothing from music as COVID-19 lockdown measures continue to devastate the live-entertainment space.

The 99-year-old Help Musicians charity recently disclosed this and other sobering music industry statistics, which derived from a survey of more than 1,300 British musicians. In addition to the 55 percent of respondents signaling that they have no music-related income presently, a whopping 96 percent of participants said that they’ve parted with the majority of their earnings amid the coronavirus crisis.

Over three-quarters (76 percent) of the British musicians who responded to the poll expressed concern about the long-term viability of their music careers. And predictably, based upon these stats and the overarching economic impact of the pandemic, 81 percent of the survey contributors struck an uncertain tone when discussing their ability to cover bills and other financial obligations. 43 percent of British musicians said that they’re fearful of defaulting on their mortgage payments and losing their homes.

In response to the study’s disconcerting results, Help Musicians officials revealed that they will continue to provide financial assistance to British musicians until March of 2021. Additionally, the Victor Beigel-founded charity has implored the public to support its Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund (CFHF) ahead of an anticipated uptick in aid applications this winter, when outdoor gigs will prove largely unworkable.

Other musician surveys have brought with them similarly discouraging findings. In September, the Musicians’ Union’s third “impact poll” revealed that 34 percent of respondents were considering “abandoning” their careers in music; 37 percent of other British musicians were “not sure” about what the future held for their careers.

That same month, Encore Musicians found that 64 percent of UK musicians may leave the music industry. Plus, 40 percent of the 569 participants relayed that they had zero gigs booked through 2020’s end, compared to 2019’s average of 27 scheduled performances.

London officially allowed indoor concerts to resume back in August – though venues and attendees must abide by a relatively stringent collection of social-distancing requirements. Limiting touch points, frequently sanitizing seating areas, and capping total occupancy represent just some of the mandatory steps that crowd-based entertainment venues must take.

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) welcomed the reopening as a meaningful step towards the reemergence of full-scale concerts, but specified that many “grassroots” music venues would be physically and/or financially unable to abide by the stipulations and continue welcoming fans.

And Van Morrison, for his part, has taken a decidedly critical stance against lockdown measures and live-music restrictions.

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