Live music revenues fell 85% in 2020

Live music revenues fell 85% in 2020


norman lebrecht

November 18, 2020

A report by UK Music shows that musicians , on average, lost two-thirds of their income in 2020.

Concert earnings are down by 85%.

The individual impact is diastrous. Before Covid, the average musician earned £23,059, about three-quarters of the national average.

During Covid, income fell to just £8,070.

More here.



  • Karl says:

    Only 85%? There hasn’t been a classical concert within 1000 miles of me since March. Early March – the 10th was my last concert. Blue Oyster Cult had a drive in concert over the summer, but I missed it.

  • El says:

    Damn £23k? They didn’t earn very much to begin with. God help us all for 2021, not sure if it’s going to be much better…

    • CA says:

      Yes, musician pay is low almost anyplace. It’s typically a lot lower in the UK than the USA. I used to have a professional job in the arts with a decent paycheck. I “got another job” but it doesn’t even pay $20,000US. Definitely not a living wage either. So much for the comments from folks who says arts people should just “get another job” because there are far fewer living wage jobs than people realize. At this point I’d be over the moon happy to earn the US equivalent of £23,000z

      • William Safford says:

        One huge factor in favor of UK musicians vs. U.S. musicians: the NHS.

        It is a disgrace that the U.S. does not yet have universal health care/insurance. It is an even greater disgrace that the Republicans have fought tooth and nail against Obamacare since its inception. They have a case right now before the Supreme Court to try to get it invalidated. For shame!

        • V.Lind says:

          It’ll never happen. Universal health care requires taxes.Americans do not pay a penny in tax that they can avoid. They donate to charities, including hospitals, because they can get a tax break on the donation AND they, not the gov’mint, can choose who benefits. They are not keen on helping the poor, rather the people who can afford to be in those hospitals in eh first place.

          • William Safford says:

            V.Lind, I hope you’re wrong. Alas, I believe you are correct, at least in the short term.

            Obamacare has improved things in the U.S. It is far better than nothing, but it does not yet offer universal coverage.

            Let us be clear. You are correct in your comment that too many Americans are “not keen on helping the poor,” but it goes further than this. They are especially not keen on helping the nonwhite and/or immigrant poor.

        • El says:

          But the thing people do not realize is that health insurance is not as crazy as people think. Most jobs will pay for a nice health insurance.

          • William Safford says:

            That’s false. Many jobs in the U.S. do not offer health insurance.

            Even more so, your observation begs the question. What about people who do not have jobs? There are millions of them right now.

    • henry williams says:

      £23.000 is very little after tax and national insurance and transport costs.

      • CA says:

        My point exactly. I don’t even make that. Former arts managers aren’t exactly marketable to other employers right now, nor are musicians. Especially those who are well on in their careers.

        • El says:

          How much does an arts manager exactly earn?

          • CA says:

            After many years I finally was on par with weekly base musician pay in a small orchestra with annual budget of $10 million. So, not much…..unless you land a gig at the majors. Even then it depends on what staff position you have. CEOs of orchestras in the USA can make six figures even seven figures. $100,000+ or even $200,000+ is not uncommon even at smaller orchestras where musicians might make one third or one fourth that. At the very top (I.e. anew York) it’s over one million for the chief executive. That’s public info. But the vast majority of arts managers are not high wage earners.

  • E Rand says:

    In other news; “Water Still Wet”.

    • henry williams says:

      my salary was very low in the civil service because
      came in very late. thank god i had my grandmothers pension.