64 percent of UK musicians are considering leaving the industry, survey finds

27 August 2020, 16:10

Piano in an empty concert hall
Piano in an empty concert hall. Picture: Getty

By Kyle Macdonald

A survey of musicians reveals the depth of disruption caused by cancelled performances and lost gigs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has closed concert halls, cancelled performances and made many musicians have to consider their careers.

And now a staggering finding from a new survey conducted by the musician booking platform, Encore Musicians, says 64 percent of UK musicians are thinking about leaving the music business altogether.

James McAulay, Encore’s chief exec said, “we surveyed 568 musicians on Encore to measure the scale of the pandemic's impact on them.”

“In summary: the short-term outlook is bleak,” he claimed. “The government needs to do more for musicians.”

Since March, 40% have applied for a non-music job, and 41% of respondents hadn’t received any government support during the disruption of the pandemic. 

Read more: Arts world warns of ‘exodus of talent’ from creative industries due to coronavirus >

Read more: The return of live music: what venues have re-opened? >

Two in five musicians currently have no gigs booked between now and the end of December.

McAulay shared his full findings via a Twitter thread, which also highlighted gender disparity in the slow recovery of live music.

The survey also revealed the financial support and camaraderie within the music industry itself.

42 percent had received some kind of non-Governmental support from musicians’ support organisations, such as the Musicians Union or the charity Help Musicians UK.

May arts organisations have also adopted their own fundraising projects to support their musicians who have been placed out of work.