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The Music Industry: One year on from the start of the COVID pandemic

There’s no doubt that over the past year the COVID-19 pandemic has caused issues in thousands of industries globally. Whether it be the hospitality sector or the leisure sector, the music sector is one of the hard-hit areas too. 

The music industry, which is valued at over £5 billion in the UK, was seriously affected by the pandemic, resulting in studio closures, gig cancellations and a decline in sales. It came to everyone’s surprise that in spite of the industry’s value and success, the government ran a rather controversial ad campaign which encouraged musicians, dancers, and other creative individuals to convert to a cyber career. To no one’s surprise, it didn’t do too well with its intended audience and was scrapped. It was immediately ridiculed online, spawning parody versions across the internet. It seemed like the ad campaign was a big mistake. 

The pandemic has certainly had people questioning whether the music scene will recover, and there’s one person who has no doubts about its ability to repair itself. Musician, lecturer and director of Music Local, Sam Nicholls supports the music scene and is heavily involved in the new Bradford music network. 

“I am massively confident the sector as a whole will recover. The real challenge will be in reopening safely, what precautions and compromises will happen when restrictions end, and how financially viable it is to reopen live music events,” he said.  

Nicholls also touched upon the losses from last year. 

“The sadness will be the prospective lost careers from people who have had to move on to do other things as a result of the pandemic.” 

According to a report published by UK Music, musicians lost 65% of their income last year, forcing them to change jobs because of the virus.   

It doesn’t appear to be all doom and gloom, however. The demand for music and live gigs certainly gives confidence to those with a music career. Leeds and Reading Festival sold out their weekend tickets in less than two days and have since had all their day tickets sell out too, so it seems that there will be little trouble selling tickets for gigs this year. Other festivals such as Creamfields Festival and Boomtown Festival have sold out for 2021 also.  

Festivalgoers and music lovers have clearly been itching to get back into the routine of cheering on artists on stage. One of them is Evie Kitson from Leeds, who managed to get her hands on one of Leed Festival’s heavily sought out for day tickets. 

“COVID definitely put a dampener on things. I had plans for concerts and festivals in summer of 2020 that had to be cancelled,” 

According to the BBC, more than 90% of planned gigs in 2020 were cancelled due to the pandemic. 

“I’m excited for live events to go ahead again. I’ve missed the atmosphere and energy, and I think once these reopen it will give everyone some much needed optimism.” 

Only time will tell if the industry manages to improve. However, based on the ticket sales we’ve seen ready for summer festivals; it is looking extremely likely that the music scene will be booming soon. 

What do you think?