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Blighty Beat
STATE OF PLAY IN THE U.K.
5/18/20

As the U.K. music industry grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, how are those within the business being impacted? What might recovery look like and when? A few weekend reports in The Times and The Guardian offered some further insight.

Speaking to The Guardian, UK Music estimates that the live industry will take four to five years to reach its pre-pandemic state. CEO of the trade body, Tom Watson, urged for more help from the British Government—specifically, rent-free periods for music venues from landlords. CEO of the Music Venue Trust, Mark Davyd, noted: “If the government took action on rents, you could stop the live music infrastructure from collapsing. Once these venues close, they won’t come back.”

Over at The Times, Isle of Wight Festival founder and big-league promoter John Giddings raises the specific issues faced by older musicians, who will be among the last to safely travel and perform. “Musicians over 65 are vulnerable because your immune system deteriorates, however old you are,” he points out. “Then there is the audience. Harry Styles’ autumn tour of Australia just sold out in 10 seconds because his fans are young and they don’t care, but I have U.K. tours of older artists in the autumn. Will people turn up in the face of this virus? Certainly, right now, nobody is buying tickets.”

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