LIVE, an advocate of the UK live music industry, has indicated in a report that the British live music industry will lose nearly 170,000 jobs by 2020’s end. Van Morrison, a vocal critic of lockdown measures and large-gathering restrictions, has lamented the “decimation of a sector.”
LIVE recently published the corresponding analysis, and Van Morrison – who released a trio of lockdown-protest songs and donated the profits to musicians – promptly responded with a formal statement. Per the report, 64 percent of British live music industry employees, or roughly 168,000 people, will become unemployed by 2021 owing to ongoing crowd-based entertainment limitations. Within the disconcerting figure, over 26,000 permanent positions (as well as some 140,000 freelance roles) stand to be eliminated by Christmas.
Fifteen percent of live-music pros have already left the industry, and as a whole, live music’s revenue will dip 80.5 percent this year, compared to 2019.
Building upon the points, the Music Venue Trust (which is part of LIVE) said in mid-August “that the vast majority of grassroots music venues” are financially and/or physically unable to comply with the government requirements and reopen their doors. That same month, while performing a series of socially distanced shows in England, Van Morrison called for an end to the restrictions, bluntly stating: “It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs.”
Now, the “Moondance” artist has responded to LIVE’s report in a statement, which was shared with Digital Music News this morning. “These figures and potential job losses in our industry will have a devastating impact on people’s lives,” the firmly worded message begins.
“The sheer scale of the damage being done by this government to the live music industry is frightening and without further intervention to let live music continue safely, these policies will result in the decimation of a sector that employs thousands of people and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands,” continues Van Morrison.
From there, the 75-year-old artist takes aim at a 27-page-long study published by the government in his native Northern Ireland, evaluating the efficacy of various COVID-19 preventative policies and measures.
“The Northern Ireland Executive have finally published what they call ‘scientific evidence documents’ attempting to defend the restrictions that are decimating our industry. As a society, we have a responsibility to scrutinize the rationale that is causing so much physical, mental and economic harm,” this portion of the commentary relays. “I for one do not recognize ‘multiple anecdotal reports’ as scientific evidence on which to enforce such damage.”
Lastly, the “Wild Night” singer and songwriter concludes his approximately 150-word-long message by writing: “We need to take a stand and save live music now.”
Outside of LIVE’s unsettling predictions concerning the British live music industry, more than a few musicians have struck an uncertain tone when discussing the viability – and future – of their careers. On Monday, it came to light that 55 percent of British musicians aren’t earning any money from music, and a different survey revealed that over a third of these professionals are considering walking away from the industry.
Live Nation, for its part, furloughed hundreds of additional employees last month.