Saturday, March 25News For London

How are musicians making ends meet during the pandemic?

(Photo: Ellie East)

Many people within the creative industry have been affected by financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As a result of this, people are looking for new and creative ways to support themselves.

With the introduction of the furlough scheme in March, the government has made an effort to ensure workers do not go without. This however, has been a far cry from the the harsh realities faced by people working within the music industry. 

With little hope and not much to rely on, music professional Ellie East, 21, and her partner started a small music business – Tracks from Scratch. The business aims to produce affordable live instrumentals made from scratch for singers who aren’t able to use or pay for expensive beats from YouTube. For Ellie, the lockdown has been instrumental in starting her own business – something she had always thought about but never had the time to achieve.

(Photo: Ellie East)

Like many within the industry, Ellie has had a complete change to her usually busy schedule, going from having several jobs to nothing. Ellie explained: “I had three streams of income, working at The O2 arena, I am a live music drummer, songwriter and freelancer in events working at festivals, awards shows and backstage. All of my three streams of income have been affected negatively.”

With many music venues closed down, the live music sector which usually contributes to 50% of the music industries revenues has come to a complete halt since lockdown. A survey done by ‘Musicians Union’ stated that 19% of their members considered quitting their music careers due to inadequate government support and nearly half of its member have had to find alternative work. 

(Photo: Ellie East)

Admittedly Ellie said: “At the beginning I had lost all motivation for music and performing live, as there was no end to the pandemic – and I was hoping to go back to work… I got a part time job at a PPE company to tide me over bill wise – this role slowed down as there was a rapid decline in fast PPE orders, I was then told that there wasn’t much work for me.”

Before lockdown Ellie had some major jobs booked for the months ahead. She said “I was meant to be in America for SXSW which got cancelled at the last hour – this would have been a big job for me, which would have opened up a lot more opportunities – this has now been lost.” 

(Photo: Ellie East)

Despite missed opportunities, coupled with uncertainty, Ellie and her partner have the lockdown to thank for her new business venture. She said “Without the pandemic, I highly doubt we would have thought about this – as we both probably wouldn’t have had the time to perfect it – the pandemic has been a real push factor for us.”