The Musicians’ Union is calling on the Government to implement a seat-matching scheme

Violinist Alexander Winkler

New research reveals that a third (34%) of musicians are considering abandoning the industry completely, due to financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the research from the Musicians’ Union, nearly half (47%) of its members have already been forced to seek work outside of the industry, with seven in 10 (70%) unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work.

With furlough schemes coming to an end, 87% of musicians who were covered by the schemes say they will be facing financial hardship, and a third (33%) didn’t even qualify for any of the support available. As a result, nine in 10 (88%) believe the Government has not done enough to support musicians during the pandemic.

The Union, which works to protect the rights of around 32,000 musicians, is issuing an urgent call to Government to do more, in order to safeguard the future of the UK’s music culture and industry.

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Read: Musicians’ Union sets up £1m hardship fund for MU members

Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said:

‘These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5bn music industry with their talent. One artist’s gig will create a domino effect of jobs – from lighting technicians to ticket sellers. If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too.

‘We appreciate all the Government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now. With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30% of usual capacity. We are calling on the Government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues’ potential revenue to 60%, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry.

‘Getting musicians back to work is the priority. However, this is simply not realistic for so many of our members while social distancing remains in place. We strongly urge the Government to recognise the unique situation that our members are in and to provide sector specific financial support for musicians.’