In multiple ways, this ongoing pandemic is bad news for the music industry. There are some immediately obvious signs of that, like all the concerts and festivals that have been canceled or postponed over the past few months. Overall, the industry is in danger, and a collection of over 1,500 artists recognize that. So, they’ve signed an open letter to the UK government an an effort to get them to take immediate action.
The letter is addressed to Oliver Dowden — Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport — and it insists that “government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies, and the end of this great world-leading industry,” noting that “with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.”
In support of the letter, artists, festivals, venues, and other entities will posts photos and/or videos of their last live performances with the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay on social media today (July 2). The list of artists who have attached their names to this endeavor is a long one, and it includes Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, The 1975, The Rolling Stones, Lewis Capaldi, Radiohead, Florence And The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Jamie xx, The xx, FKA Twigs, Christine And The Queens, Queens Of The Stone Age, Sting, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Idles, Alt-J, and so many others.
“Dear Secretary of State,
UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. From world-famous festivals to ground-breaking concerts, the live music industry showcases, supports, and develops some of the best talent in the world – on and off-stage.
As important as it is, our national and regional contribution isn’t purely cultural. Our economic impact is also significant, with live music adding £4.5billion to the British economy and supporting 210,000 jobs across the country in 2019.
Like every part of the entertainment industry, live music has been proud to play our part in the national effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus and keep people safe. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.
This sector doesn’t want to ask for government help. The promoters, festival organisers, and other employers want to be self-sufficient, as they were before lockdown. But, until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies, and the end of this great world-leading industry.
Government has addressed two important British pastimes – football and pubs – and it’s now crucial that it focuses on a third, live music. For the good of the economy, the careers of emerging British artists, and the UK’s global music standing, we must ensure that a live music industry remains when the pandemic has finally passed.”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.