Live music can provide many venues with a unique and engaging way to entice customers through their doors, so why hasn’t this been done on a mass scale across the hospitality sector?

The answer may lie with the music industry. Over the past 2 years, live music has been thrown into chaos due to more than one factor. Not only has the pandemic wreaked havoc, now the consequences of Brexit are making themselves known too. In fact, at times the onslaught of pessimistic headlines seems to drown out any positivity surrounding the situation.

But… could we perhaps be ignoring the opportunities this otherwise difficult situation might present our homegrown talent and hospitality sector? 

“Music matters to us all. And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it’s more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry.” – UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.

The pandemic cost 40% of musicians their employment and a significant drop in earnings. Hundreds of grassroots venues still face imminent eviction. And as if that wasn’t enough, now the extensive paperwork involved with touring in Europe (such as visas, work permits and equipment documents) is resulting in a bureaucratic nightmare that could result in financial loss to musicians – in particular independent musicians (source). And it’s becoming increasingly clear that musicians are starting to feel the weight of all these obstacles, with many considering moving to Europe or changing careers.

What’s missing is the bright saving light at the end of the tunnel. 

The UK has a teeming pool of independent, up-and-coming musicians who are looking to gain exposure and start their live music careers. With EU touring more difficult than ever and many traditional music venues having succumbed to the pandemic, the opportunities for artists are more narrow than ever. We are in danger of losing a large chunk of the talent that underpins our £5.8Bn industry.

But that doesn’t have to be the case.

While the unfortunate reality is that the number of actual music venues in the UK is decreasing, more and more venues across the hospitality sector are opening their doors to live music. There are over 47K bars and pubs alone – and that number only increases when you add restaurants, cafés, hotels… Altogether there are around 105K venues, all of which are looking to diversify their offering and feed into consumer demands. 

And the consumer wants music! Live music was the second most missed thing about not being at the pub during the pandemic, beating live sports. According to UK Music’s ‘This Is Music 2021’ Report:

  • 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage
  • 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas
  • 74% say music is important to their quality of life
  • UK listens to 60 billion hours of music a year – the equivalent of 7 million years
  • 1 million people took up a music instrument during lockdown

So with the demand clear as day, here is an opportunity for venues of all kinds to tap into this space. Now really is the time to access these musicians and give customers what they want. 

That said, the real question then becomes, how to facilitate and put on live music? So far, putting on a gig has involved an intimidating who’s who of middle-men that at first glance can be off-putting to someone who has never put on a gig. For the artist, it has simply been a fact of unfair (if any) pay and rare gig opportunities – made even worse by the pandemic.

What’s needed is the one thing that takes away all the hassle and connects the two dots.

We say it’s technology (but we might be biased…). Like with many other industries, technology has the power to automate all these processes that traditional event-organisation requires. We have an excellent opportunity to provide venues with the ability to organise and stage live music with ease, all whilst connecting artists directly to these opportunities across the hospitality sector, up and down the UK. If we seize this opportunity, we’re not only helping to grow and strengthen the live music industry – we are protecting our local pubs, bars, restaurants and many others – all the while giving the public exactly what they’ve been asking for.

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