UK music industry will halve in size due to Covid, says report


Debate: was it twice the size it should have been?

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omg. @sean.L have you seen this?

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Wow. Things sure have been different…

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I had seen this earlier sounds kind of scary hope all the musicians are ok and that the industry will make a bounce back

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It’s sad to think that quite a few great venues probably won’t open back up after all this too. I feel for the engineers and crew who have had no real support this whole year, unlike musicians who can perform the livestreams at home, they are left without work for the foreseeable future :slightly_frowning_face:


I remember when live music places, clubs, were being closed due to recorded music growing. Once LPs stopped being scratched clicking sound as cassette then CDs became available. Once speakers became less than 6 months pay. I remember when we listened to our music on Radio 1 and cassette recorded them in the Top 40 on a Sunday. I remember when we copied recordings via dual cassette “music centres”.

Usually it’s not one specific thing which brings a music related event / place / activity down.

It might not feel it now, but stressing the music industry will cull the dull and force the next innovation. The very talented will float to the top faster as those who can only do 1 thing can’t adapt fast enough.

For example, female music was being naturally suppressed 40 year ago as live music put women into unsafe situations, so as recorded music grew so did female artists.

So it’s not a topic of what we will lose, what will this stressing period give us better?

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Doesn’t help when the chancellor is asking for everybody to retrain…

Counter argument - society still needs young healthy workers, if you happen to be such, why cling onto a music income.

Bar workers, if you have a driving license, become delivery drivers.
Cooks move to more takeaway food.
NHS hiring.

Money does not disappear, it just morphs. Morph with it.

There is a similar point before written times, when the ice ages began, those who stay in the cave thinking one bad winter have genes which died out.

In the music sector, there will be a gap, an opportunity. Spot it and prosper, the human wish for music is not leaving the human anytime soon.

I won’t post the photos but I saw a busker doing a lively live music on a cold street. Gave some money and did a little jig, on my crutches with my broken leg.

Music only dies if the human spirit lets it.

It is an interesting perspective. Just as with everything in life, competition breeds excellence.

Decreased demand is a lot like increased competition. We will see whether it has the same effect.

And since the changes are likely to be temporary, and demand will go up at some point, that supply will have to return.

Thinking changes are temporary is the problem. If there’s one constant it is change.

Issue is that if anyone is in a job which is destined to end and they deny it then they become a burden eventually. This can be true for any of us, hence a self reliance and resilience is the better protection than self delusion.

Musicians who have other career options will fair the best. Those who solely relied on musical income …

If I jump off a cliff it’s my fault. If I walk in the direction of a cliff with my eyes closed and fall then it’s still my fault. If I walk around with eyes closed and trip it’s my fault. So I walk around eyes open and assume there is a hazard I should spot and avoid then I’m doing the best I can. Similarly if I’m in a job I assume I’ll lose it, if I have income I assume it will stop so I dont spend it but save it.

Today is the tomorrow we had all of yesterday to plan for.

Last year I was already knowing we were overdue a pandemic. Way too much travel and way too many foreign holidays meant inherently we were going to have a bad pandemic at some point of it was ignored too long from where it starts. We’re also overdue a large basalt eruption which causes global cooling, overdue a large solar flare which knocks out most technology, and eventually an asteroid strike.

I assume the Internet will go down and have about 1TB of media on a drive. I assume live streaming will stop and have about 5GB of music. Doesn’t mean I think these will happen soon but I’m not stumbling eyes closed.

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I don’t mean temporary in that we will jump back to the old system at some point. I mean that demand is currently suppressed, and the demand for musical experiences will quite likely rise quickly at some point.

The new normal won’t look like the old one, but it won’t look like today. Current conditions are temporary, change is constant, we agree on that part.

My concern in the event of an emp type of event is not digital - I don’t keep my computer in a Faraday cage, so it would likely fail. It is the impact to transportation networks and food distribution. When you start thinking through what it would take to survive a prolonged loss of our electric grid, preppers don’t look so crazy.

So let’s attempt to logically make some predictions of the future music industry?


  • the vaccine will happen during 2021 so by 2022 effectively the medical issues are gone, beginning with the key workers and elderly and eventually down into younger.
  • the heavy debt (government, personal) will last much longer, so apart from future-lookers who bought/sold smartly for such events, most people are poorer for 5-10 years (either less income or more tax to pay for government debt).
  • the move from in-person to virtual is sticky, I’m going to assume 50% for 5 years and a residual 20% for a further 5 years. Even though the medical issues ended by 2022, some will just stay as they are now.

Each of these are arguable and likely wrong but as assumptions they can’t by definition be wrong, if I said “this is what will be” then that by definition is wrong.

So for music:

  • expensive forms of music will suffer the most, as most are poorer. So expensive concerts will suffer most. Events organisers will be not a good job to assume resume. To be honest I think this is the best change, too many low-talented people hanging on to the music industry.
  • lower cost forms of music will suffer the least, so I think local live music, voluntary “give us a $1” busking will thrive. So I think genuinely good musicians, genuinely good talented singers and those able to operate instruments, will be fine. Not $ Millionaires but not starving. Events like live music in a public park and bring your own chair should be popular.
  • expensive ways of eating and drinking will suffer, so pubs / bars will be significantly long term less income so music in these will suffer.
  • digital music will thrive, I see the likes of Spotify will be fine, but the more expensive options will suffer more than the lower cost options.

As to the next Carrington event , folks like me who as engineers designed most of what you consume, knew about it this inevitable event for decades, it is well known and multiple governments have invested in predicting and getting ready. There are satellites which are looking at the sun and will see it begin and so hours / days of notice. Key systems will be planned to be turned off and some systems will be put into Faraday cages. Personally just have a spare everything and keep it in a metal box, ideally fire and waterproof because more likely is you have a flood or fire so a box which does all of them good idea. Assume electricity will be off for weeks, so own lots of large Powercore and solar and having food cooking which doesn’t use electricity. I use Alcohol stoves as it lights flint+steal. Have offline media stored like music as the Internet likely down for a few days. Owning some books you read through and swap out are fine so obviously places like Libraries are going to be popular… Don’t live somewhere where your heating requires electricity, where you need air conditioning, not assume your vehicle will work, not assume your generator will work, imagine its 1920 not 2020 for a period. So places which could not exist in 1920 (say Las Vegas, Dubai, Anchorage, etc) will suffer most.

I had professors in school talk about this when I was getting my EE degree, nothing much had changed by 2012. I don’t think we are much readier now than we were then. Most governments are effectively completely unready. In the worst cases, private preparations would need to be for months, not weeks. A lot of people would die.

Even in the less severe possible outcomes, a few weeks of battery backups and media access will probably be the least of your worries. Food / water and survival would be the focus.

Music’s current reliance on digital does make it more vulnerable to another Carrington event more than Covid-19.

Covid-19 hurts most the elderly and underlying health conditions folks, which is sad and brings forwards a couple of winters a bad outcome for some. Most of the current impact is the reaction, withdrawing access to paths to live music particularly, more than the actual threat.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) will impact everyone and everything which effectively is based on 20th century technology.

The electrical induction from a magnetic field is (crudely, not wanting to make a PhD thesis) to physical size. So your Liberty Air 2 won’t fry, your Powercore won’t fry. Probably a laptop unplugged won’t fry. It’s connected and physically larger items will have the biggest electrical surge. So leaving something plugged in, to make a longer wire, will increase the risk.

So the cheapest way to protect from a CME is for the electrical grids to be physically dismantled in the hours before, so a short notice emergency planned outage. That will minimise the total damage, so the repairs can complete fastest. The Internet will have to be disabled for days, so the long cables cannot be sources of surge. So the cable company will turn off your Internet to reduce how many cables fried.

It’s folks who are totally unaware, totally unprepared, who rely on the Internet for music, keep everything plugged in all the time, will suffer more than those who have unplugged spare items and offline media. It’s folks who keep their phone plugged in and don’t have a spare phone risk it being fried and they’re forced down.

We’ll get a couple of hours notice, the Sun gives us about 15 hours notice and then it’s down to people being awake, alert and prepared.

Back to music, of course if you go back to 1920 the way we enjoyed music was:

  • natural and man-made acoustic resonance spaces - so concert halls, ampitheaters, etc. These don’t require amplification via electrical boosting, and so keeping these going in the mix are a good idea. Issue is: these are going to close, some permanently due to the Covid-19, hence ironically, a CME at the same time as we’re in a pandemic is the worst possible time.
  • non-electrical music instruments. So, violins, acoustic guitars, pianos, etc,
  • music which has artists next to each other create great experience and so do need the CME to hit us after the population vaccinated for Covid-19

I’m not sure the relevant industries are prepared enough to respond given what warning we will get. But we’ll see.

Keeping your hands on some acoustic instruments you know how to play might be the way to prep for that anyway.

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