To the outside world, the UK music industry is a huge success story – contributing an estimated £5.8bn to the economy in 2019 – vinyl sales going through the roof and streaming platforms making it easier than ever for new artists to get their music heard.
But the business of music – dominated by streaming, super promoters and a reliance on live performance revenue – is reaching a crossroads.
Streaming might account for half of global revenues in the music industry, but the lion’s share of this goes to a handful of businesses while musicians struggle to make minimum wage.
Live shows and touring have become the way to pay the rent, but with lockdown restrictions preventing any shows for over a year, a Brexit deal that adds complications to British artists performing in Europe and a growing understanding of the carbon footprint of touring, that revenue stream feels more challenging than ever.
So for the vast majority of people in the music supply chain, from artists to venues, the future is uncertain.
The way audiences consume music today is unrecognisable from 20 years ago. But has the structure of the music industry changed to reflect this new world or is it broken?