Save Our Venues: How Lockdown Has Damaged The Music Industry

By Niamh Christian

COVID-19 hasn’t been enjoyable for anyone. Being stuck at home, unable to see friends and family plus the multiple industries that have been put under intense pressure to keep themselves from closure. One industry that has been affected the most is the events and music industry. 
With 556 venues at risk of closure and thousands of jobs been placed on the line, it’s safe to say our scene has been put into a difficult position. 
The events industry is worth more than £39bn to the UK yet has received very little support to survive through this pandemic, with the staff in the industry being advised to “retrain and find other jobs”. It’s been made very clear that the government wants to consume from us without respecting us as industry workers. 

The amount of strain put on musicians, venues, promoters, and everyone else in the arts and events for that matter, is insane. With most having no solid income, and not being able to see the near future for their career, it’s been daunting. 

The cancellation and postponement of upcoming gigs have hit artists, as well as physical music sales dropping due to t the closure of ‘non-essential’ shops and businesses. 

Support the music industry: #WeMakeEvents

It would seem the most surprising negative impact would be the drop in streamings since COVID-19. It may have been believed that streaming would increase with everyone needing entertainment while stuck indoors but with a lot of streaming done through people on their way to work, at the gym, or in cars, streaming numbers have also plummeted also.  The un-foreseeable future sure is frightening, as there is no saying when things will begin to improve. Even if we can start putting on live music events again, the likelihood is they’ll be socially distanced, meaning a lower capacity for the venue, meaning a lower profit. The Venues will be taking in less revenue and artists will likely be making much lower fees. 

Before the pandemic, the live music industry had broken the billion Euro barrier with touring artists providing millions in income. Despite the government offering an emergency £1.57 billion to save the arts, but it’s barely covered a fraction of what is needed. Compared to the aid given to hospitality with the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ Scheme, it’s safe to say the Government have shown little to no care for the Arts and Creatives. And now going into a second lockdown, the risk will surely increase.

Losing our venues would be losing a massive part of our local culture, as they build up the local scene, create social spaces, and are a symbol of history in their hometown. Not to mention the memories made in those venues will stay with music fans forever. Venues have been having to find new ways to make income: putting on live streams, selling merch, crowdfunding etc. It’s now more vital than ever to support your music scene. If you’re one of the people who’s been buying merch, keeping postponed gig tickets rather than getting a refund and taking part in any other activities the Events and Creative Industry have had to put in place to survive, then I thank you for doing your part in saving the scene. 

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