Crisis Commercial Music Industry Needs COVID-19 Financial Boost
A musician from Birnam called on the Scottish government to support the music industry.
Martin Hadden, appreciated for his contribution to classical folk group Silly Wizard, is one of three producers of Birnam CD.
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He was approached to join the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Task Force, which has gathered support from artists such as Biffy Clyro, Deacon Blue, Eddi Reader, KT Tunstall, The Proclaimers and Primal Scream, and d ‘events like Hebcelt Festival and TRNSMT.
The task force welcomed the announcement of a Â£ 97million investment from the UK government for cultural, artistic and heritage institutions, as well as the Scottish government’s Â£ 10million envelope for places of the arts a spectacle.
The group is now calling on the Scottish government to ensure support goes to those in need as it says it is not clear whether the funding will directly benefit commercial music venues.
Martin told PA the music industry is hanging on by a tightrope.
âThe musicians are in terrible shape because of the pandemic,â he said.
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âTheir entire way of making a living has been completely cut off. I understand that we have to save the place, but also consider the people who perform and those who assist behind the scenes, do the lighting, the sound and transport the equipment.
âThink about those who make sets, who sell programs. They are drunk at the moment. Experienced staff are made redundant, skills are lost.
âThe feeling behind the letter to the Scottish Government Minister is that so far the money has been targeted at the sites, but without the artists the sites are just empty shells.
âCommercial music companies have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through no fault of their own.
âWe are trying to inform Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop how the music scene works, how aid should be targeted and how to do it.
âThe Birnam Arts auditorium can seat 200 people but, under current social distancing rules, they plan to only allow 40 to 50 seated bettors per show.
âIt’s a pretty poor alternative to their model before COVID-19 hits.
âThe Birnam Book Festival, new last year and an emerging success, was impossible to organize as a physical event.
âI even hear, until January 2021, that Celtic Connections in Glasgow seems fragile.
âIt is essential that the government act to protect Scottish music.
“The Scottish Commercial Music Industry Task Force recognizes that a large number of companies are in immediate danger and that without these essential operators the country’s music industry is in danger of being devastating.”
The task force has asked the Scottish government to provide a clear timetable for the reopening of sites without social distancing. He also urged the UK government to grant full VAT exemption on ticket sales, as well as to examine the need for more support if live music remains suspended beyond six months.