The Impending Return of Live Music – How Will this Affect the Economy?
The music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with concerts, festivals and award shows grinding to a halt. Although many musicians have done their best to continue to make music and share their work digitally, via virtual concerts and releasing new singles and albums, live music venues have suffered greatly, as they have been unable to host any events. It is estimated that in 2020 alone, the live music industry lost over $30 billion in revenue, which has had a drastic effect upon the livelihoods of those who work in the sector, but also on the economy as a whole.
According to a study published by UK Music, the music industry contributed £5.2 billion to the UK economy in 2018. It’s evident that live music has taken the brunt of the pandemic’s force, however, streaming platforms are stronger than ever, with over 100 million more users subscribing in 2020, than in the previous year. This market is estimated to now be worth over $20 billion. The music industry is a huge contributor to the economy, and though music itself continues to flood our ears and delight the senses, the way that we enjoy music has changed significantly.
So, as roadmap plans reach their promising climax in June 2021, live music should hopefully resume very soon. In this article, we will look at the vital role that the music industry plays as a contributor to the UK economy, and the effect that the resumption of live music will have upon the economic growth of the country.
The music industry employs over 200,000 people and therefore, the enforced disruption from various lockdowns and protective protocols, has caused an unprecedented level of job insecurity. The pandemic has not only caused mass unemployment for those who work in the sector, but has also forced some music venues to close up shop indefinitely. The Lexington, an independent gig space, was forced to start a crowdfunding campaign to prevent its closure and required £180,000 to keep its doors open, since government funding did not suffice.
Many jobs and iconic music venues have been saved by large campaigns such as the Cultural Recovery Fund, which sought to protect the establishments that play a vital role in the cultural heritage of the music industry. Though the government has tried to provide for those who work in creative industries, it is evident that this alone has not been enough to protect individual’s livelihoods.
The return of live music
On 22nd February 2021, it was announced that live music would return in 2021 and following this release, festivals were able to put tickets on sale for this year. Tickets sold out in record time for numerous events, such as Creamfields, Boomtown and Eastern Electrics, with many left disappointed, unable to get their hands on these highly sought-after tickets.
The rapid sell-out is inevitably due to the fact that individuals have spent over a year waiting for these events to resume, but also, the venues themselves will still be working at a reduced capacity, because of the ongoing presence of COVID-19.
But what effect has this had upon the economy? Since live events can boost the UK economy by over £70 billion per year, the resumption of live music will contribute significantly to the UK’s economic recovery. Not only will this see a rise in employment for those directly in the industry, but with increased travel to events will come an increased demand for the hospitality sector, such as hotels and restaurants.
The economy is impacted by an array of factors, but also has an effect on global markets. For example, when a country is experiencing economic hardship and uncertainty, there is typically a decrease in demand for its currency, which will directly impact Foreign Exchange (Forex) trading because the price of that currency will fall.
The UK’s economic recovery is currently on track, experiencing the highest levels of monthly growth in the services sector in the month of May, since 1997. This was triggered by the relaxation of an array of lockdown restrictions across all four nations. If restrictions continue to lift as planned, then the British Pound (GBP) could continue to increase in value. In May, the pound was the second-best performing major currency, behind the Canadian Dollar, and as live music and other industries that have been dormant for the past year are set to resume, the future looks bright for the economy and the value of Sterling.