Earlier this month, the government stepped in with an unprecedented cash injection to help the arts, culture and heritage industries “weather the impact of coronavirus” – providing music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.
It followed extensive campaigning from more than 1,500 artists and industry figures who came together to call on the government to stop “catastrophic damage” to live music as part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
Please share your videos & pics of your last or favourite gigs in support of the UK music industry. It’s struggling massively with 50% of the live music industry workforce facing unemployment. Our last gig was @BelWaterfront, dec 11, 2019 Reworked Tour. #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/6z7tjabvFq
— Snow Patrol (@snowpatrol) July 2, 2020
However, Quinn is now warning that thousands of artists could left facing financial ruin after the government failed to clarify if individual support will also be provided for artists.
He told NME: “It’s a real issue. The venues that needed saving got the bailout after an extremely high percentage were set to close, so we knew that the government had to do something. They didn’t want to lose the Royal Albert Hall, but there’s been nothing I can see for anybody in music who is self-employed yet.”
When asked for a potential solution, Quinn advised that major labels could step in to provide support.
“Or even an organisation like PRS, it would be good if they could step forward. There is a real need for government intervention and industry intervention,” he said.
Quinn also warned that the lack of support threatened to derail the careers of bands in the formative stages of their career.
“If you’re a band like The Big Moon, they will have had lots of festivals lined-up so their income has now been decimated. They rely on it, so where do they stand?
“Something should be setup for people who through no fault of their own have lost all their income. There is a real need for that and I can’t see that anywhere in the current set-up.
“That needs to happen or else we’re going to lose a lot of great bands who are on the verge of breaking through. They’ve had all these chances denied now and that’s something you might not be able to replicate next year.”
Comparing it to Snow Patrol’s own experiences, he said: “Setting up a record and touring can take six months to a year. You look at when ‘Final Straw’ [their 2003 breakout album] was released, we had Radio 1 support and I feel for any band in that position who are about to break through.”
NME has contacted the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to see if further advice is on the way.
Quinn’s comments follow stark warnings from the Featured Artists Coalition, which previously claimed that artists were facing an unprecedented crisis.
David Martin, who heads up the non-profit lobby organisation, told NME: “It is imperative that those that have been left out or cannot return to work are supported and that the arts fund extends to supporting the people that make our sector, not just the places.
While the future of festivals still remains uncertain amid coronavirus, Quinn said a track-and-trace system – favoured by Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis and Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn – could be the way forward.
He admitted: “I just hope we don’t get another wave before then. We played the first one in 2006, and we’ve been looking forward to it so much. Hopefully next year we’ll be back on our feet.
“One of the things they’ve put forward is the app to show you’ve been tested within two weeks – that’ll be your entry to the gig. Social distancing just won’t work, there’s no way people will be able to keep their distance after a few pints.
“If a vaccine doesn’t happen then hopefully it’s the app. Economically it seems like the only way.”