Lucy Thraves


Financial support for musicians in the ongoing health crisis

12:59, 25th March 2020

Musicians around the world are struggling to make ends meet amid widespread cancellations. 

In today’s The Times, the following letter, signed by musicians including Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, George Benjamin and Steven Isserlis, outlined the plight of many:

“Sir, We are writing to highlight the devastating financial impact of Covid-19 on the lives of the 4.8 million freelancers in the UK, in particular the impact on musicians across our country. The chancellor has announced measures to protect employed workers but there has as yet been no comparable action taken to address the challenges faced by the self-employed. In addition to the loss of income incurred while one is ill or self-isolating, there is also the huge loss of work itself. Extensive cancellations have resulted in a devastating loss of livelihood for thousands of artists, with, for many, projected income over the next six months plummeting to zero.

Freelancers are taxpayers too. We encourage the government to ensure temporary wage protection for the self-employed as part of its emergency measures. Norway, for example, has agreed a crisis package whereby workers receive the equivalent of 80 per cent of their average pay over the past three years, taken from the 17th day after loss of income.

Music is integral to our human experience, and our creative industries (one of the fastest-growing parts of our economy) are a significant force of good in our country. We urge the government to support those who make it so.”


This comes as many music industry organisations announce hardship funds for struggling musicians, outlined below:

Musicians’ Union

What: £1M fund for MU members with genuine and pressing hardship

Available to: Any current MU member who

  • Has been in continuous membership of the MU for the last 12 months or more
  • Is currently paying the full MU membership subscription rate
  • Is a UK resident
  • Is suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Has not already successfully received a payment from the MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund

To apply, visit: www.musiciansunion.org.uk/HardshipFund


The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain

What: Support in living expenses, rehabilitation and consultations with financial advisors.

Available to:

  • Musicians who are ill or incapacitated, or live with a dependent or partner who is ill or incapacitated
  • Older musicians whose pensions and state benefits are insufficient to meet the cost of unexpected bills

To apply, visit: www.rsmgb.org/supporting-musicians-in-need/


Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund

What: £5M fund to help reduce the worry many musicians are experiencing around mounting household expenses

Available to:

  • Professional working musicians who are
  • self employed or currently unemployed
  • In need of financial help

To apply visit: www.helpmusicians.org.uk/news/latest-news/advice-relating-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Arts Council England

What: Arts Council England are making £160 million of emergency funding available to organisations and individuals  in need.

Available to:

  • National Portfolio Organisations
  • Organisations outside of the National Portfolio
  • Artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

To apply visit: www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

We will continue to update this page with links to financial support. 

PRS for Music Emergency Relief Fund

What: A fund to support members, up to a value of £1000.

Available to: All PRS  members around the world have been a member for at least two years and earned over £500 in the last two years.

To apply visit: www.prsformusic.com/ERF

We will continue to update this page with links to financial support. 

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