Friday 28 August 2020

64% of musicians thinking of leaving the profession, and have lost on average £11,300 this year. Horrifying statistics from new survey

Snape Maltings concert hall (Photo Matt Jolly)
Snape Maltings concert hall (Photo Matt Jolly)

The UK music industry contributes £5.2 billion annually to the UK economy and employs nearly 200,000 people [2019 UK Music report], and the vast majority of the people involved are freelancers whose lives have been devastated by the extreme economic effect of the current crisis. So, we all know that the music industry is in trouble, but quite how much of a crisis really is it.

The online musician booking platform, Encore Musicians, recently surveyed 568 musicians to find out exactly what effect the crisis had had on them. Individual cases are heartbreaking, such as the violinist with a 30-year-career who faces the prospect of never playing in an orchestra again, but the way the statistic add up is little less than horrifying.

On average musicians have lost £11,300 from cancellations since March 2020, and 41% have no bookings in the diary for the remainder of 2020 (the average for same period last year was 27 bookings). With an average of two bookings, classical musicians have the lowest number of gigs booked for the remainder of 2020 compared to other genres (Pop musicians are likely to have the fullest diaries with an average of five gigs booked in for the remainder of 2020.)

So, not surprisingly 64% say they are thinking about leaving the music profession, 40% have applied for a non-music job since March, and 20% said they thought it was unlikely they would still be a professional musician 12 months from now.

Predicted earnings in Aug - Dec 2020 vs the same period last year are down by 90% for musicians aged 25-34  (compared to 73% for those aged 65+), and the government is simply not doing enough to support musicians. 41% respondents hadn’t received any government support, whilst 42% had received some kind of non-Governmental support, mainly from the Musicians Union or the charity Help Musicians UK.

You can read more about the survey at the Encore Musicians website, and Encore's CEO James McAulay has created a fascinating (ie horrifying) thread on Twitter complete with graphics.

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