We have submitted written evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Commons Select Committee’s inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers. We made the case for how the music-creating business is at an all-time low, and proposed essential next steps for the recovery of our sector.
Recent findings have shown that music creators alone contribute £2.5 billion in GVA to the UK economy – almost half of the industry’s total £5.2 billion contribution. Music-making professionals have been impacted by the disappearance of the live music sector, as income from touring and public performance royalties has evaporated. Closure of other businesses has also negatively affected the flow of royalties. This will have long-terms repercussions on creators’ livelihoods, as future royalty distributions will be significantly reduced. Music creators have also seen songwriting and composition commissions cancelled, and have often been unable to record new music during lockdown.
Government support and industry-specific hardship funds have enabled many to survive the initial emergency. However, we have called on the Government to amend some of the Schemes – notably, many self-employed music creators are falling through the gaps of available support. Support urgently needs to be provided to Directors of Personal Service Companies, those with portfolio careers who earn less than 50% of their income from self-employed or freelance work, those who have recently entered the job market or switched to being self-employed, and some self-employed who earn above £50k.
One of the main takeaways from this period of crisis is that, left to rely on income from the recorded music business, the majority of music creators are facing a struggle to survive, having to rely on Government support or hardship funds. This need not be the case: the flow of royalties from the online music market should be a reliable source of income for the makers of music. Music streaming is a booming business, but those who create the music – the product streaming sells – barely partake in the returns. In response to this issue, we have launched the Keep Music Alive campaign to #FixStreaming now.
Based on our analysis, Government actions necessary to support the music-creating business in recovering from the crisis include:
A review of the broken streaming market.
The stimulation of live performances, TV and film projects, enabling the commissioning of new music.
Promotion of UK composers and songwriters internationally to attract inward investment.
Comparable copyright protections for music creators in the UK to those guaranteed in the EU.
Ensuring the BBC remains adequately funded so it can continue sustaining our sector.