Music industry further impacted by cost of living

Music industry further impacted by cost of living
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The already fragile UK music industry has been subjected to further challenges, caused by the current cost of living crisis. Previously impacted by factors such as Brexit and pandemic restrictions, every aspect of the industry continues to be hit.

Artists and venues who might have recovered successfully from lockdowns are now struggling to stay afloat in the volatile economic climate.

We’ll take a look at the various factors that are likely to signal even more difficult times ahead for the music industry across the UK.

Cost of living

As inflation continues to rise to its highest in 41 years, there’s inevitably a knock-on effect to all areas of the economy. As a large proportion of the population look to cut back on costs, luxuries such as entertainment are often the first factors to be hit.

With essentials such as food, fuel and energy rising at astounding rates, people’s spending behaviour is likely to change dramatically, particularly over the winter months. Increasing savings, reducing costs such as nights out and eliminating non-essentials are sure to be priorities for many households.

Music steaming platforms have become big news in recent years; however, they too could be hit by the economic crisis as people look to cancel subscriptions that they deem unnecessary. And, whilst such services don’t contribute to a large proportion of an artist’s income, it’s still another factor that could potentially have negative consequences on the industry as a whole.  

But there’s no doubt that music will feel the effects of this volatility, possibly more so than many other industries, particularly where larger costs such as live gigs are concerned.

The covid effect

As lockdown took hold, gigs, tours and concerts were cancelled in their droves, leaving artists and venues struggling to stay afloat. However, after a turbulent time, the UK music industry recovered, and 2021 and 2022 saw the return of performances.

But the same factors that impacted music during the pandemic are back with a vengeance, due to rising costs and the effect of Brexit.

  • Lack of government support – During the pandemic, there was a significant lack of funding for various members of the arts industry. Whilst support packages were announced for some sectors, not all of the allocated funds were actually handed out. However, there are various charity funds and grants available to support musicians financially which could help to sustain all-important careers.
  • Musicians are struggling to afford the basics – Like the rest of the population, artists are struggling to afford rising costs, including those of equipment, venue deposits and travel costs.
  • Increased cost of tickets – This has meant greater difficulty in selling tours and has greatly impacted profit margins.
  • Less touring opportunities post Brexit – With increased red tape and huge travel and visa costs, there are now significantly less EU touring opportunities, particularly for up-and-coming artists. In a time where travel restrictions have largely lessened, this should not be the case. But with growing costs, European tours are often not worth it for many musicians.

Whilst big venues and established artists might the resources to weather these challenging times, smaller venues and musicians may not. And with no end yet in sight for the continually rising prices, it could leave many with no other choice than to set aside their music career in favour of a steadier income.  

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