One-Third of U.K. Musicians Are Considering Abandoning Their Careers Because of the Pandemic

Artists say the government isn't doing enough to support them
One-Third of U.K. Musicians Are Considering Abandoning Their Careers Because of the Pandemic
Photo: Stephen McGill
A new study has shown that just over a third of British musicians are considering giving up their careers over the loss of work and financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the The Guardian reports, the new survey — conducted by the Musicians' Union — reveals the extent of the financial burden on touring artists caused by gathering restrictions, which have made it impossible to work in the live music industry for nearly seven months.

The 34 percent of musicians thinking about abandoning their work is up from the more optimistic 19 percent that were polled back in March. MU's latest results show that almost half of the artists surveyed have now been "forced to look for work outside the music industry," while 70 percent were unable to secure "more than a quarter of their usual work" and 36 percent have no work at all.

"Musicians are working in supermarkets, being Deliveroo drivers, going back to things they trained for early in life," MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge told The Guardian. "Anything but music — that's the problem."

The MU and 88 percent of musicians polled say the government hasn't done enough to support musicians during lockdown, citing poor job retention plans; a whopping 87 percent of musicians surveyed will be earning less than £20,000 (about $34,000 CAD) this year, bringing home £9,600 ($16,000 CAD) less than the national average.

While the government rolled out a £1.57 billion relief package for the arts, individual artists were not included in the initiative.

The survey's conductors are urging people to write to government officials to send aid to underemployed artists.

"They have the power to make representations to Government on your behalf, asking questions of key decision-makers and making sure your experiences are considered in decision-making processes," their plea reads.