The UK music business has revealed the contribution of live music to the UK economy is set to drop in 2020 from an estimated £1.1bn to £200m, describing it as a ‘catastrophic’ blow to the industry.
Meanwhile, the Ivors Academy of songwriters and composers said it anticipated a loss of £25,000 per member over a six-month period.
The lockdown also means songwriters will lose out on royalties gathered when their music is played in shops, cinemas, pubs, clubs, and restaurants. In 2019, that figure was £168.2m. There is some good news, however, royalties from music streaming rose 22.1 per cent to £155m, while the money generated from music on video-on-demand services like Amazon and Netflix increased by 47.5 per cent to £17.7m.
Early figures suggest more people have taken out streaming subscriptions during the lockdown, which may provide a small counterweight to the loss of live music. But many musicians have noted that the money they receive from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon is not enough to sustain a career.
Tom Gray from indie band Gomez recently shared a chart, originally compiled by The Trichordist, showing how many streams artists require to make a living in the UK. On YouTube, a song would have to be played 7,267 times to generate £8.72 – or one hour of the minimum wage. On Spotify, the figure was 3,114 streams, and on Apple Music 1,615 streams.
That has led to a campaign, #BrokenRecord, seeking a more equitable system of distributing streaming money. Spearheaded by the Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union, it is calling for a new system, where your subscription fee is distributed to the artists you actually listen to – rather than going into a central pot, where the money is split between the most-streamed songs on a percentage basis.
“This is what the consumer wants,” said Graham Davies of the Ivors Academy, who is calling for a government-backed review.
“They want their £9.99 a month to be paid to the artists, performers, songwriters, and composers of the music they love.”