Survey reveals “catastrophic” impact of COVID-19 on local music scene

New research by the University of Liverpool’s Department of Music and Bido Lito! magazine has laid bare the devastating impact of lockdown and social distancing on Liverpool City Region’s music sector.

The survey of 175 musicians and music makers returned worrying statistics such as £1.75 million worth of financial loss due to cancelled or postponed live shows and 44% of respondents being unaware of any fiscal support available to musicians.

One respondent said of the situation: “Totally catastrophic, financially, emotionally, socially and creatively. Everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve has just crashed to the floor”.

The results are published in the September issue of Bido Lito! with more results to be shared over the next few months. Further research will be carried out by the team – led by Dr Mathew Flyn and Richard Anderson of University of Liverpool’s Music department – looking into effects on the wider music sector in the region.

The data gained from the Playing In project is being shared with Liverpool City Region Music Board to inform a roadmap for recovery.

Dr Mathew Flynn, lead researcher, University of Liverpool said: “Throughout the Liverpool City Region’s rich musical history, the creativity and ambition of our musicians and music makers has always been the catalyst for change and renewal.

“As the regional music sector navigates this period of uncertainty, better understanding our musicians’ experiences and the types of support they need is the essential first step to building a bright and vibrant future for the entire sector.”

Bido Lito! editor Elliot Ryder said: “Lockdown caused unprecedented disruption across the entirety of our cultural sector and many links that connect the city’s music scene were instantly broken.

“This first piece of research will aim to provide essential information on the level of financial and creative loss experienced by musicians in lockdown, as well as exploring any possible solutions as we look to rebuild.”

The Playing In survey was open from July 27th to August 7th with replies from all types of musicians from all genres and projects of all sizes, from bedroom producers to bands, community choirs and larger scale groups and ensembles including musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

A follow up event is set for October in which people who work in all aspects of the music sector are encouraged to take part. The date of the online consultation session will be announced soon and interested parties can register their interest via this online form.