Music industry

69,000 jobs in the British music industry shattered by the devastating impact of Covid-19

October 19, 2021, 11:50 | Updated: October 19, 2021, 3:21 PM

In 2020, thousands of music industry workers were urged to retrain or find other jobs, as the industry’s total economic output nearly halved due to restrictions linked to the pandemic.

More than a third of jobs in the UK music industry were cut in 2020 due to the devastating impact of Covid-19.

It’s Music 2021, a new annual report from UK Music, an umbrella organization representing commercial music in the UK, details how the industry’s employment level plunged 35% from a 2019 all-time high of 197,000 to 128,000 in 2020.

‘2020 should have been a positive year for the UK music industry,’ says UK Music Managing Director, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin. “After years of double-digit growth, booming jobs and continued international success, we were on track to be the UK success story of the decade.

“COVID-19 has stopped all of this in its tracks. Overnight, the industry was brought to its knees, with live performances banned, international travel restricted and hundreds of thousands unable to work. “

Read more: Musicians ‘still through the gaps’ as £ 400million announced for struggling arts sector

“Let Music Live” demonstration in front of the parliament.

“Let Music Live” demonstration in front of the parliament.

Image: Classic FM


After years of training and hours of practice, thousands of musicians have been desperately forced to look to other industries in order to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Last year, newspapers recounted the story of mezzo-soprano Lara Rebekah Harvey, who had been booked to perform at Opera Holland Park in 2020.

With the cancellation of her summer season concerts, the opera singer was forced to seek employment elsewhere and felt lucky to get a job, working at a Lidl store and warehouse, earning around £ 9 Of time.

TikTok has also become a prime example of musicians swapping the stage for stacking shelves, with videos such as TESCO the MUSICAL created by @ hannahlowther8 going viral on the platform.

Read more: Musicians are leaving the entertainment industry for a more stable career ‘

The music industry makes a huge contribution to the UK economy; in 2019 it was a record £ 5.8 billion.

However, in the wake of the pandemic, that contribution almost halved, falling 46% to £ 3.1 billion in 2020.

The UK music industry is one of the most successful music exporters in the world, but UK Music believes it needs the right support to resume growth and contribute to post-pandemic economic recovery.

Njoku-Goodwin says, “We are determined to look ahead and focus on the recovery. In our Strategic recovery plan for the music industry we identify the policy interventions required and define a clear action plan to get the industry back on its feet.

400 musicians perform in Parliament Square to protest 2020

400 musicians perform in Parliament Square to protest 2020.

Image: Classic FM


British music Strategic recovery plan for the music industry is included in its annual report and describes three key principles to ensure that music plays a full role in post-pandemic recovery.

These principles include securing the next generation of UK musical successes through music education and freelance funding, supporting and protecting events from further pandemic disruption and encouraging investment through export programs. already successful, like the Music Export Growth Program (MEGS) and International Showcase Fund (ISF).

The report sets out this plan “as the government prepares for the 2021 spending review and moves into the post-pandemic recovery phase.”

In the report, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries confirms that “so far our goal has been rescue and reopening. The priority now is to ensure a solid recovery [for the music industry].

“The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I am committed to the government continuing to support it every step of the way.”

The Manchester Music Industry Walk and Events

The Manchester Music Industry Walk and Events.

Image: Getty


Along with the economic value of the music industry and why it should be financially supported by government investment, Njoku-Goodwin insists that the value of the music industry goes beyond simple profit.

“For the first time, we have conducted an in-depth survey of the UK public to understand the role music plays in all of our lives. The results are incredibly revealing, ”he says.

“Not only do British audiences actively consume over 60 billion hours of music per year – that’s the equivalent of seven million years, or as long as humans have existed – but music plays a central role in the lives of citizens across the country.

“As this report shows, music matters to all of us.

“And in a year where we have seen how important music is to all of our lives, it is more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry.”