Policy & Campaigns

COVID-19, and the necessary social distancing and other ‘lockdown’ measures introduced by government have had a catastrophic impact on the music sector, which operates very much as an ecosystem and, as such, this sector will face particular challenges and will need specific government support if it is to reopen and recover.

Even as re-opening begins with the phased lifting of the current social and physical distancing measures, we expect at least 24 months of critical impact on the sector and the damage caused to date lasting into the foreseeable future. This applies to the whole creative side of the music industry: songwriters, composers, performers, musicians, DJs and producers - the majority of whom are self-employed (72%) - but equally to those who invest in creativity: record companies, managers, distributors, music publishers, and in particular the live music events sector (which includes tour managers, promoters, booking agents, venue operators, technicians, engineers and road crew and venue staff). As each nation of the UK charts its own public health response to the crisis we are engaging with devolved Governments and legislatures throughout this process.

You can find the specific guidance that UK Music and our membership organisations have worked with the UK Government to produce here.

You can find the Welsh equivalent here, the Scottish here and Northern Irish here.

Let the Music Play

We have launched the Let the Music Play to raise the issues relating to the commercial music industry as we exit from lockdown. Our asks are;

1. A clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing.
2. An immediate comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance.
3. Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.

We have been successful in encouraging the UK Government to launch a £1.57 billion cultural rescue package with additional funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Government has also instituted a temporary VAT cut from 20% to 5% on event tickets, and published a road map for lifting the lockdown on live music with limited outdoor performances allowed from 11th July.

However we will be continuing to raise issues about the commercial music sector including trying to ensure the rescue package has the flexibility it needs to provide support to the commercial music ecosystem, as well as continuing to highlight gaps in support measures, flagging the issue of access to protective equipment and ensuring the Government remains aware that we are going to be in this as an industry for some time. Find out more here


  • We welcomed the emergency support given to 135 live music venues through the Culture Recovery Fund in England here,
  • However we have also warned that more needs to be done to protect the live music industry here.
  • We highlighted that while rules were being eased the industry still faced an "extraordinary difficult" time here.
  • Tom Kiehl has called on the Chancellor to extend the VAT cut to ensure that the music sector is not left behind here.
  • We welcomed the £1.57 billion support package when it was announced here.
  • Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Skepta and Paul McCartney supported our #LetTheMusicPlay campaign here.
  • We have highlighted the inspiring stories of resilience from the music industry during this crisis here.
  • We welcomed the re-opening of music retail here.
  • UK Music industry leaders warned of the “Catastrophic” impact of coronavirus on live music here.
  • Tom Watson raised the impact of coronavirus on the commercial sector on a variety of radio stations here.
  • Tom Kiehl spoke to the BBC on the effect of coronavirus on the live sector here.
  • Our Chair Tom Watson called for a “Marshall Plan” for music here.
  • UK Music's Acting CEO Tom Kiehl has written an in-depth piece for M Magazine, highlighting the gaps in Government support for the self-employed impacted by coronavirus. Read the article here
  • Following the measures outlined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the self-employed, Tom Kiehl welcomed the announcement but said more work needed to be done to ensure no one was left behind during this unprecedented period. You can read his initial response here.
  • Reacting to the package of measures outlined by PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak for businesses, Tom Kiehl called on the Prime Minister to offer more help for the self-employed hit by the coronavirus crisis. Read more here.
  • Tom Kiehl called for support for self-employed following the cancellation of Glastonbury Festival. Read more here.
  • Responding to the Government's announcement on mass gatherings which sparked confusion about exactly what it would mean for concerts and gigs, Tom called for clarity. Read more here
  • Following the announcement that SXSW was to be cancelled, UK Music collected advice from partners for musician's who had been planning on attending. Read more here


  • UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl wrote to the Culture Secretary to act swiftly to put in place a framework of support for the music industry to combat the impact of coronavirus. Read more here.
  • UK Music joined with other industry organisations to sign a letter to the Chancellor calling for a package of urgent measures to help the crisis-hit sector fight the impact of the coronavirus. Read more here.



  • UK Music submitted Next Steps Beyond the Crisis – Support for the Music paper to DCMS. Read here
  • We contributed to the Creative Industries Federation report on the effect of COVID-19 on the creative industries here.
  • We made a submission to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on the effect of COVID-19 on the music sector here.
  • We also submitted to the Culture, Europe and External Affairs Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the same issue here, as well as to the Scottish Parliament economy committee on the effect of COVID-19 here.
  • UK Music has submitted to the Senedd here on the impact of COVID-19 on the commercial music sector in Wales. 
  • We have submitted to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee – Tax after Coronavirus inquiry here and the House of Lords Life Beyond COVID inquiry here.
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