The multibillion-pound UK music business stays virtually a 3rd smaller than earlier than the pandemic as rampant inflation, hovering prices and Brexit purple tape threaten to derail its fragile restoration, a report warns.

UK Music, the umbrella physique representing the business from artists and document labels to reside efficiency, is looking for a package deal of help together with tax aid, a VAT minimize for struggling venues and a streamlining of restrictions affecting employees and touring between Europe and the UK.

The organisation’s annual Music by Numbers report, which spans subjects together with music gross sales and licensing, stadium excursions, gigs in grassroots venues and merchandise, discovered the business’s contribution to the UK financial system rose 26% year-on-year to £4bn in 2021. Nevertheless, this stays 31% down on the document £5.8bn in 2019.

Whereas music streaming boomed and sales of CDs and vinyl surged in pandemic circumstances, the reside music business, which employs tens of 1000’s of musicians, songwriters, producers and venue homeowners, was badly hit and continues to face a “fragile and precarious” restoration.

Main occasions together with Glastonbury and BST Hyde Park have been cancelled final 12 months, whereas music venues have been in a position to open for simply 4 months, limiting the return of employees and artists.

In 2020 greater than a 3rd of UK music business employees, 69,000 in whole, lost their jobs. Their numbers rose 14% to 145,000 final 12 months, nevertheless this stays 26% fewer than the 197,000 employed in 2019.

“Our workforce has been demoralised and decimated,” mentioned Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music’s chief government. “The truth that tens of 1000’s of them have nonetheless not returned ought to fear policymakers and the general public alike. Our sector nonetheless faces a critical menace from the financial storm that would blow our fragile restoration off beam with out pressing authorities help.”

UK Music is looking for help together with an extension of the vastly profitable tax aid programmes that the movie, TV and gaming industries take pleasure in, a VAT minimize to five% to assist struggling venues and scrapping purple tape that makes it tough to convey employees in from Europe and considerably extra expensive for acts to tour within the EU.

The restoration is being hammered by hovering prices for venues and musicians, by some estimates up 35% in contrast with 2019, together with highway crews, catering, safety, transportation and extra not too long ago gasoline and power prices.

“The business has been hit by rocketing prices proper throughout the availability chain, and until venues, studios and different music companies get the assistance they want, there’s a critical danger that they may very well be pressured to shut their doorways for good,” says UK Music.

British music exports, which embrace document gross sales and streams, reside exhibits by British artists and merchandise gross sales, grew 10% to £2.5bn. Nevertheless, that is nonetheless properly under the £2.9bn in pre-pandemic 2019.

The UK is the second largest exporter of recorded music on the earth after the US, with Adele, Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa releasing three of the highest six bestselling albums of 2021.

“The UK music business is working arduous to recuperate after the catastrophic affect of Covid, however there may be nonetheless some strategy to go to revive the roles and progress misplaced through the pandemic,” mentioned Njoku-Goodwin.

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