70% of UK music venues are at risk of permanent closure

News 12/06/2020

Leaders in the live music industry have issued a warning to MPs about the future of the live gig scene in the UK as they continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the Music Venue Trust launched the #saveourvenues campaign to aid over 556 venues that were at risk of permanent closure. Musicians' Union Horace Trubridge and chief executive of UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre, Julian Bird, explained the full extent of the crisis at a House Of Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Bird explained that their latest survey showed that 70% of theatres and production companies will run out of cash and go out of business by the end of 2020. "That was consistent whether you looked at London, the rest of the UK – whether you looked at subsidised organisations or commercial organisations. It was consistently around 70% for everybody," he continued.

As for musicians, Trubridge said that 40% wouldn't qualify for the self-employment income support scheme, calling for a full review into the music streaming model. "At a time when record labels are making record profits, it cannot be right that established musicians are left to rely on hardship funds," Trubridge explained. "There needs to be a full review into the streaming model to see where the money is going because it is not going to the musicians' pockets."

He estimated a £5.2 billion revenue in the music industry to the UK economy and that the Chancellor should bear that in mind.

"Our industry is the envy of the world, but we won't retain it unless we invest in it during this difficult time. Our sector must have further financial support from the government if it is to survive in any shape or form."