A new survey by the Musicians’ Union has revealed that almost one fifth of musicians are currently considering abandoning their careers because of a lack of support from the British Government.
19 per cent of respondents to the Union’s Impact Survey said they might give up on their career due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis on their livelihoods.
The Union say that “a significant number” of their members, the majority of whom are self-employed, are struggling financially, and that 38 per cent are falling short of the criteria required to receive assistance from the Government.
Of those who do qualify for assistance, 26 per cent say they will still struggle financially in the period they’re waiting for relief.
The Musicians Union says that those who are part self-employed, those who have been self-employed for less than a year, those who run as a limited company, and those with annual profits of over £50,000 are all “key gaps” in the government’s relief packages.
19% musicians we surveyed are considering abandoning their music careers because of a lack of Government support.
No musician should be left behind.
— Musicians' Union (@WeAreTheMU) May 16, 2020
They are also concerned that musicians who are taking maternity leave are also being adversely affected, and are “urgently calling for more meaningful support” from the Government.
Musicians’ Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge commented: “We risk facing a devastating impact on the music industry. From providing us with the joy of live music, to teaching our children, musicians play a huge part in our everyday lives and to wipe out a fifth of that will have unimaginable consequences.
“We’ve seen other countries recognise this and, importantly, act. In Germany, the total package for the arts is worth £46.3 billion, with the Government also promising financial support to micro businesses of up to five employees. Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have all announced funds and aid packages for the sector.
“We are calling on our Government to take action by reassessing its SEISS package and considering how else it can help a sector that is so vital to our national community.”
The Union are also calling on members to write to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help protect self-employed workers, and have provided a template letter on their website.
The global music industry is facing an uncertain future through the coronavirus crisis. Earlier this week, Live Nation furloughed 20 per cent of its workforce, 2,100 people, as part of a $600M cost-cutting package.