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Help Musicians warns that Covid-19 catastrophe is not over

UK-based charity Help Musicians surveyed British professional musicians a year ago and found that 55% were not earning anything at all from music, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Have things improved? They have a bit: a new survey conducted by the charity in August 2021 found that the percentage earning nothing from their music has fallen to 33%.

It’s still a third though, with 83% saying that ‘an inconsistency of bookings is stalling their ability to get their careers back on track’ and that 22% are considering leaving the industry.

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Covid-19 caused a sharp fall in global dance music revenues

IMS Ibiza has published its annual business report on the electronic music industry, including a blunt assessment of how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the sector’s value. That’s down from an estimated $7.3bn in 2019 to $3.4bn in 2020, with the main hits taken by DJ and artist earnings (down $743m, or 68%) and clubs’ and festivals’ revenues (down $3.4bn, or 78%).

It’s an interesting report, because it looks beyond music and events to include the software and hardware used to make electronic music. That category saw revenues rise by 23% to $1.1bn in 2020 according to IMS’s calculations, while music sales and streaming revenues also grew – up 4% to $1bn. “Down but not out,” is the report’s optimistic summary of the situation.

The bigger picture is of the competition between electronic music and hip-hop, with a sense of the latter having grown (for example its share of the artists on Spotify’s top 200 charts) at the former’s expense in recent years, but also a prediction that if and when hip-hop’s latest wave starts to plateau, electronic music may surge again.

There is plenty more in the report, from livestreaming’s growth, NFTs, gaming opportunities and data on the push for greater diversity in the upper ranks of DJing, to hopes for a “roaring 20s” for clubbing – if slightly brought down to earth by Google data indicating that in recent months “for the first time, searches in the UK for Skegness were higher than searches for Ibiza” as holidaymakers eyed domestic destinations.