The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Hardest Hit - Music, performing and visual arts has been the creative sector hardest hit by the pandemic – losing 80,000 jobs and an estimated £4bn in gross value added for the UK economy, according to new data.
Before the pandemic, music, performing and visual arts contributed £10.6bn in GVA and employed 314,000 people. However, new data from Oxford Economics, published in a report by the Creative UK Group, estimates that these sectors have lost 39% of GVA, equating to a loss of £4bn to the UK economy. According to the report, music, performing and visual arts have also lost 26% of jobs – 80,000 – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The creative industries as a whole – made up of nine sub-sectors also including film, tv, video, radio and photography; design; architecture; and museums, galleries and libraries – are estimated to have lost nearly £12bn in GVA, with job losses expected to reach more than 110,000 by the end of the year.
The report argues that the sector has the potential to recover faster than the UK economy as a whole, growing by more than 26% by 2025 and contributing £132.1bn to the economy in GVA – £28bn more than in 2020 and more than the financial services, insurance and pension industries combined. However, the research warns that the government must act immediately to support the creative industries to “avoid deep divisions, with key parts of the UK at risk of being left behind”.
Full-Capacity - The BBC Proms will welcome full-capacity audiences this summer, after initially making just 1,000 tickets available for every performance. The change comes after the government removed limits on people attending concerts, theatres and sports events on 19 July. Additional tickets were made available just six days before the season's First Night.
Conducted by Dalia Stasevska, the concert opened with Vaughan Williams' Serenade To Music, described as "a love song to music and musicians" after a year of lockdown. “We all feel like it’s a new beginning," Stasevska told the Radio Times. "There’s so much hope. I really can’t wait. The whole programme is a celebration of music and our love for it."
The season will continue with 51 concerts throughout the summer, including four Mystery Proms where the music and performers have yet to be announced.
Running on Empty - Andrew Lloyd Webber has warned that the commercial sector does not have “much more petrol in the tank” and will face ruin without government support, with the composer claiming he could be forced to offload his own theatre stock as a result. It comes after Lloyd Webber was forced to cancel the opening of his new West End musical Cinderella due to government isolation rules, which meant that the entire cast had to isolate when one of the company contracted COVID.
Speaking as he reopened the Theatre Royal Drury Lane following a £60m restoration, Lloyd Webber said: “One has to realise there is not much more petrol in the tank frankly. If we do find this goes on and there is no government help at all, really, then I think the commercial sector will probably see people go under. We have all gone on as long as we can, paying our staff, but we just won’t be able to carry on.”
Lloyd Webber said he needed to balance the fact he is a theatre owner with his role as a composer, and said the situation could get worse, so he could be forced to sell off his theatres. “In the end, I have to balance up the fact I have the theatres, as it’s my way of saying thank you to a profession that has been very good to me, but in the end I am a composer,” he said. “I am 73 now and I need to go where I can get music performed. I need to write another show as that is what I do, and these shows make it possible to do something like I have done here [at Theatre Royal Drury Lane]."
Tencent Fine - Shares in Tencent have fallen after China ordered the technology giant to end exclusive music licensing deals with record labels around the world. The move is aimed at tackling the company's dominance of online music streaming in the country. It was also fined 500,000 yuan (£56,000) for unfair practices in the online music market.
Tencent controls more than 80% of China's exclusive music streaming rights after an acquisition in 2016. On Saturday, the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) said the firm's activities in the Chinese online music market broke the country's anti-monopoly rules. Global record labels like Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music have all struck deals with Tencent giving its streaming platforms access to thousands of artist music catalogues.
(Jim Evans)
27 July 2021

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