Written evidence submitted by the Musicians’ Union



Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s Inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors



  1. The MU represents over 32,000 professional musicians working across all sectors of the UK music industry. According to our impact survey (not attached due to submission requirements but available on request) 92% of musicians have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.


  1. The MU expects to submit further evidence as it becomes available, particularly on the recovery plans for the sector, but for now we would like to respond to three of the committee’s questions.


What has been the immediate impact of Covid-19 on the sector?

  1. The impact survey (not attached due to submission requirements but available on request) demonstrates the terrible impact that COVID-19 has had on musicians, with more than £22 million estimated loss by the end of April alone. Musicians’ work has dried up overnight and there is no clarity on when they will be able to return to paid engagements.


How effectively has the support provided by DCMS, other Government departments and arms-length bodies addressed the sector’s needs?


  1. The MU welcomed the package of support for self-employed workers announced by the Chancellor, but we are very concerned that a large proportion of musicians are not eligible for the scheme and are falling through the gaps.


  1. The Chancellor initially claimed that the scheme would work for 95% of the self-employed and that those not covered would be the richer self-employed. A new MU survey of members has shown that this is categorically not the case for musicians.


Survey Headlines







The full survey results can be viewed here:




  1. Musicians who do not qualify for Government assistance currently fall into the following main categories:



  1. We therefore urgently need:



  1. We are also concerned that members who have taken time out for maternity leave may be being disadvantaged, since maternity leave is not being disregarded from self-employed income support scheme.



What will the likely long-term impacts of Covid-19 be on the sector, and what support is needed to deal with those?


  1. The live music scene has been temporarily wiped out by social distancing and urgently needs support. The MU urges the Government to consider some assistance funds for musicians and the creative industries along the lines of what has been set up in other European countries and indeed in other nations in the UK.



  1. Some examples of these are: