The triple whammy of Covid, Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis has hit artists working in the music industry hard. On top of this, some musicians also continue to face barriers of systemic racism and misogyny. With all this in the mix, you can appreciate why emerging musicians need our support now more than ever.
Here’s our thoughts on why and how…
A recent report found that the number of British musicians playing festivals in Europe this summer almost halved (a fall of 45%) compared to 2017-2019, due to bureaucracy caused by Brexit. It highlighted that emerging artists are disproportionately affected by the end of freedom of movement, because they are more likely to be booked last-minute.
Playing live is getting too expensive
We are seeing headlines about musicians cancelling gigs and tours – rather than selling them out – because they are too expensive to put on. This is because staff and material costs are rising, whilst ticket sales are falling as people cut back spending on non-essential items.
Whilst many musicians saw their income pick up again with the high of getting back on stage after the pandemic, they now again face uncertainty and stress with the ability to earn money through playing live under threat.
A Covid hangover
Similarly, there are reports of challenges for venues. Absorbing costs of last minute Covid cancellations is still a worry, plus energy price hikes are having an impact, so the risk of closure hangs firmly over many smaller venues. Again, it is emerging artists who will be most affected, as the grassroots venues are where early-stage career musicians play.
Racism and misogyny continues
Women and especially Black female artists continue to experience the most discrimination. The recent House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into misogyny in music, heard speakers including Charisse Beaumont of Black Lives in Music describe: a lack of accountability for perpetrators of sexual harassment; small proportions of women in roles like production; and a culture that pressurises Black women to have to change themselves to be accepted.
Similarly, a 2021 Black Lives in Music report found that 86% of black music creators had faced barriers to their career because of their race and that on average black artists earn £299 less per month than their white colleagues.
So what happens next?
On a positive note, there are many individuals, organisations and musicians themselves raising their voices with the aim of protecting our socially and economically valuable industry.
We all need to play our own small part in taking action and pushing for change.
Here’s how our Career Development Programme helps musicians
One way we are doing this is through our Career Development Programme. The programme supports up-and-coming artists with personalised coaching, mentoring and career strategy sessions, prioritising those in minoritised groups. The programme provides visibility, access to industry professionals, and the chance to develop skills as music educators, all of which helps build a sustainable career in music.
What can you do?
- Donate to support our Career Development Programme, which gives practical and strategic support to emerging artists.
- Join our community mailing list here for all the latest news and views.
- If you’re a musician, join our artist mailing list here to keep-up-to-date with tips and round ups of funding and learning opportunities to help you build your career.