UK Music Managers Forum & Featured Artists Coalition Survey Financial Losses Occuring From COVID-19 Crisis

Annabella Coldrick
– Annabella Coldrick
CEO of the Music Managers Forum

The UK’s Music Managers Forum and the Featured Artists Coalition have so far gathered responses from more than 150 music managers and artists detailing the impact of more than 2,100 cancelled shows, delayed campaigns and lost earnings.  

The survey highlights “the crippling knock-on impact of live music shutdown due to the coronavirus,” with over £50 million ($60 million) already lost to the wider music economy. This includes £3.1 million ($3.7 million) lost by music managers in commissions.
Aside from the immediate cash-flow crisis, the survey’s findings arise concerts about the music sectors long-term sustainability. According to a summary of the findings released today, £68 million ($82 million) in losses are predicted if shows are cancelled over the next six months. 
The UK government just announced that it would grant financial aid packages to the country’s self-employed, up to £2,500 ($3,000) per month. Those support measures, however, will not pay out until June. 
According to research by industry body UK Music, 72% of the music business workforce is self-employed. As the MMF and FAC point out, “many will not qualify at all” for the government’s aid package.
They therefore point towards other European countries, like Germany, where the performance rights society GEMA promised its songwriter members a €40 million ($44 million) crisis fund, or Sweden and Norway, where the governments announced cultural response funds of €45 million ($49 million) and €27 million respectively.
Both MMF and FAC are calling on larger UK music businesses, particularly in the recorded sector, to make similar efforts.
Suggestions for support programs include:
– Support for artists and songwriters: major labels, major music publishers and others who can afford it should offer artists and songwriters a “recoupment holiday” during a defined short-term period and pay streaming royalties straight through music makers regardless of the state of their balance. 
“We would also like these companies to consider additional advances and moving contractual deadlines where possible,” the MMF/FAC statement reads.
– Crisis Support: Further direct contributions to emergency support funds for artists, musicians and their teams most of whom are freelance or micro-business, which “will be essential to tide people over until government support comes through.”
– Redistribution of “Black Box” revenues, which are the “unattributable” royalty collections that make up a large sum of any collection society’s revenues. MMF and FAC suggest funnelling that money into an emergency hardship fund. 
– PRO advances: Music licensing societies should consider making more accessible the advances on performer and composer royalties as loans against future payments, which “would be of particular assistance to self-releasing or non-contracted artists, musicians and performers.”
David Martin
– David Martin
General manager of the Featured Artists Coalition

MMF and FAC are still gathering data. The survey is still open and can be completed here.

MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick commented:  “Artists and music makers are faced with a short term crisis and a longer-term catastrophe. This MMF and FAC survey is only a snapshot, but it highlights that millions of pounds have already been lost through cancelled shows and campaigns. With Government support for freelancers not kicking in until June we need the biggest record labels, music publishers and licensing organisations to act. We need them to do more, and we need them to do so now.” 
FAC GM David Martin added: “It is evident that the artist and creator community is suffering enormously as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While our survey only demonstrates a proportion of the actual losses, the numbers highlight the acute challenge facing artists and the existential threat that this presents to our wider industry.  We need all parts of the global music community to do their bit to support those that are most in need, and those with the greatest resource must do their fair share to provide this support.”