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U.K. MUSIC MAKERS DEMAND MORE SUPPORT

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition have called for greater assistance from the U.K.’s largest music businesses and organizations, especially as Government support measures for the self-employed—who make up 72% of the music business, according to UK Music research—will not pay out until June, and won't be applicable to everyone. 

A survey conducted by the MMF and FAC found that managers and artists have already lost £50m in earnings due to the coronavirus. This includes £3.1m lost by music managers in commissions.

Survey findings detail the impact of more than 2,100 cancelled shows, delayed campaigns and lost earnings. Most of the losses relate to live, however, impacts on recordings, merch and brand deals are also substantial. If shows are canceled over the next six months, £68m+ losses are predicted.

The MMF and FAC have proposed four measures:

Major labels, major music publishers and others who can afford it should offer artists and songwriters a “recoupment holiday” during a defined short-term period and pay streaming royalties straight through music makers regardless of the state of their balance. We would also like these companies to consider additional advances and moving contractual deadlines where possible. 

Crisis support: Further direct contributions to emergency support funds for artists, musicians and their teams most of whom are freelance or micro-business. This will be essential to tide people over until government support comes through.

MMF and FAC fully support calls by the Ivors Academy for music licensing societies to divert "unattributable" royalty collections into an emergency hardship fund. 

PRO advances: Music licensing societies should consider making advances on performer and composer royalties available as loans against future payments. This would be of particular assistance to self-releasing or non-contracted artists, musicians and performers.

”Artists and music makers are faced with a short term crisis and a longer-term catastrophe,” MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said. “This MMF and FAC survey is only a snapshot, but it highlights that millions of pounds have already been lost through canceled shows and campaigns. We need the biggest record labels, music publishers and licensing organizations to act. We need them to do more, and we need them to do so now." 

Over recent days, a number of emergency funding initiatives have been launched in the U.K., including those from Arts Council EnglandHelp Musicians, The Musicians' UnionPRS for Music and Spotify

The MMF and FAC note “far more comprehensive support packages” have been established in other countries. For instance, the German music licensing society GEMA has launched a €40m crisis fund for its songwriter members. The Swedish Government has announced a cultural response fund of €45m, while the Norwegian government has also earmarked funding of €25m for their cultural sector.

FAC GM David Martin said: “It is evident that the artist and creator community is suffering enormously as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While our survey only demonstrates a proportion of the actual losses, the numbers highlight the acute challenge facing artists and the existential threat that this presents to our wider industry. We need all parts of the global music community to do their bit to support those that are most in need, and those with the greatest resource must do their fair share to provide this support." 

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