The restrictions imposed in the name of containing Covid-19 are always changing. What is allowed today may be completely forbidden tomorrow, and we must always be up-to-date. The music industry has been severely punished amid this restrictive dance, but there seems to be good news now. This time the music will not close doors. Although all activities with an audience will remain restricted, recording studios and similar venues will be able to maintain their activity, as they are places of work and not of entertainment.
The UK is facing a four-week plan of tougher national restrictions that have begun on Thursday, November 5. In response to this new lockdown and in line with the detailed guidance the sector developed earlier this year, the body that represents the commercial interests of the music industry and the UK Government have taken some decisions with immediate effect. Recording studios, including residential studios, can continue to operate, as well as music video productions. Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music Chief Executive, was proud to announce this important vote of confidence by the Government:
‘I am delighted that ministers have recognised the huge amount of work that has gone into stringent measures to ensure that our studios are Covid-safe environments where work can and should continue. (…) Studios are a key part of the ecosystem of the UK music industry that contributes £5.2 billion a year to the economy and employs 190,000 people. (…) We are determined to continue to work with the Government to keep as much of the music industry open as possible as we strive to get the whole industry back on its feet.’
Live-streamed shows may also continue to happen on venues open strictly for that purpose, without an audience, as confirmed by Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Q: Can arts venues open for rehearsals and to stream performances?
A: Yes. Arts venues are places of work, so people can come into them for work, if it cannot be undertaken from home. This includes rehearsals and performance. Audiences are not permitted.
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) November 2, 2020
The Government’s green light was also reiterated by Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Digital and Culture:
‘Our world-renowned recording studios form the backbone of the recorded music sector, provide vital employment for musicians, engineers and producers, and make important contributions to our economy. (…) As well as allowing artists to continue making albums, studios such as AIR Studios and Abbey Road produce soundtracks for blockbuster movies and our favourite TV series that have kept us entertained throughout the challenges of the pandemic. (…) The Prime Minister has been clear that workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home. (…) This includes professional music recording studios, where work activity can continue in line with Covid-secure guidance.’
These pieces of information, even though they only concern England, are very welcome by all music industry supporters.
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