UK Music has been working closely with the Government to ensure the music industry is supported during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.
COVID-19 Business Recovery
While Government help for the music industry has been welcome, not least the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, more support is needed so as many organisations and companies as possible survive this crisis and can boost the recovery.
The industry has made it clear that only full re-opening without social distancing is economically viable for many venues, therefore until this point is reached Government support needs to be maintained. We must look at all the ways we can make this possible.
In order to get live music restarted we need:
- An indicative date for full capacity restart without social distancing
- A Government-backed reinsurance scheme
- VAT rate reduction on tickets beyond March 2021
- Business rates relief
- Rollover of paid 2020 Local Authority license fees for festivals to 2021
- Targeted financial support
- Engagement with the music industry on Moonshot testing pilots so we can utilise rapid testing to eventually bring back full capacity crowds
- Establish a taskforce that can advise, evaluate and validate the various innovations the music industry is looking at implementing to reduce the risk of transmission – now and for the future
Business rate relief for music retail should also be extended for the 2021/22 financial year, as well as being introduced for recording and rehearsal studios.
VAT relief for shuttered physical music retailers is needed to assist with their reopening.
COVID-19 Workforce Support
72% of those that work in music are estimated to be self-employed. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is very welcome yet many of those working in music have fallen through the gaps, with just over a third of self-employed people working in the arts and entertainment eligible for this fund.
The music industry has stepped up to the plate and is helping its own with a range of hardship funds supported by UK Music members including PPL, PRS for Music, the BPI, the Musicians’ Union, AIM and the MMF yet many in our industry still face an immense struggle to continue their careers. 34% of musicians are considering leaving the industry.
Government has made job support available when businesses are legally required to shut yet when there have been relaxations those working in the music industry have continued to struggle because social distancing restrictions make many activities economically unviable. The Coronavirus Job Support Scheme (CJRS) should be maintained until full reopening is reached across the UK.
There are a number of gaps in existing support systems we would like the UK Government to address this includes;
- More support for businesses in the supply chain of those legally forced to close.
- Support for the newly self-employed (after April 2019).
- Making SEISS available to those paid dividends in lieu of a salary.
- Removing the salary gap on SEISS applicants.
The vaccine means that these interventions would be time limited and are an investment in our recovery. Vibrant music careers, venues businesses are of more value to our communities, countries and economy than shattered dreams and empty venues.
It is therefore critical that the Government makes available targeted support that recognises the unique dynamics of the music industry and how it is impacted by the pandemic, and maintains it until full reopening. By doing so it would ensure the artists, managers, composers, songwriters, sound engineers and countless others that the sector relies on, get the support they need so that the industry can get back on its feet and continue the work of rebuilding this world-leading industry to pre-COVID-19 levels.
- UK Music is currently running the Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer campaign, which gained significant media attention. Find out more here.
- UK Music successfully lobbied the Government to include music in the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.
- UK Music influenced the creation of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
- UK Music highlighted gaps in the Government’s small business support packages and secured changes to improve uptake of these schemes.
- UK Music ensured permission to allow background music in pubs in England following repopening.
- UK Music secure agreement from the Government to allow studios to remain open during the second and third lockdowns.
- UK Music successfully campaigned for quaratine exemption for musicians and creators.
- UK Music developed the Let The Music play campaign which secured the support of Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Skepta and Paul McCartney among other stars.
- UK Music acted as a hub for gudiance and information to the music industry – pointing individuals and businesses to available help.
- UK Music made many submissions to Parliament. See below for list.
- UK Music made over 50 media interventions on Covid-19 in support of the industry.
- House of Commons Treasury Select Committee – Tax after Coronavirus inquiry
- UK Music Submission to HL COVID-19 Committee Inquiry Life Beyond COVID
- Scottish Parliament Economy Committee COVID-19 – Impact on Scotland’s Businesses, Workers and the Economy
- UK Music Submission to the Welsh Parliament
- Next Steps Beyond the Crisis – Support for the Music
- Scottish Parliament Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee
- UK Music DCMS Select Committee Festival Submission
- Inquiry Into Covid-19 and the Night Time Economy