EY study for TPLM: The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the music industry: Q&A with Jean-Christophe Bourgeois

Jean-Christophe Bourgeois, President of the Tous Pour La Musique association: "The health crisis we're going through is a tsunami for the industry."

This study, for Tous Pour La Musique association, provides an assessment of the economic impact of the C-19 crisis on the music industry, in terms of revenue loss compared with a “COVID-free” 2020. The study provides qualitative insights into the artistic, cultural, social and regional effects of the pandemic.

The music industry is expected to lose about 43% of its forecasted revenue, or about €4.5 billion. For the direct music markets, the losses due to COVID-19 represent 48% of the 2020 forecast, nearly €3 billion. Related markets are slightly less affected, with losses representing 36% of the 2020 forecast, or €1.4 billion.

The live music ban, and the slowdown of the industry throughout 2020, will severely impact revenues for authors, composers, and music publishers: the COVID-19 crisis will result in almost €250 million in lost authors’ rights revenue in 2020, or about 23% of projected revenue for the year. Performers will lose more than €46 million in revenue – and that  excludes losses related to the cancellation of shows.

The music industry provided 257,000 people with direct and related employment in 2018, which made it the second most important cultural industry in terms of jobs.


Jean-Christophe Bourgeois
© Marc Chesneau

Why did the music industry, led by TPLM, the association you preside over, commission this study from the EY consultancy?

To make the public authorities aware of the unprecedented havoc the crisis is wreaking on the industry — and because it is not too late to take action. It was crucial that we try and quantify the impact that nearly 100 days of unwanted downtime have had on every aspect of the sector, from creation (authors, composers, performers) to publishing, production and broadcasting to the public. The EY consultancy, which gathered data from all industry’s sectors, estimates the loss at €4.5 billion euros for 2020 — that is nearly half of the music industry’s annual revenue.

Our sector has suffered terrible crises in the past: the collapse of record sales during the digital revolution, terrorist attacks ... and has always shown resilience and a strong ability to bounce back. I’m convinced it will demonstrate this once again, precisely because the industry professions are so dependent on one another. Today, as in the past, it is a cooperative and collective endeavour.

In this battle we are waging for the music industry, I really must insist on one point: The public authorities must understand that the industry cannot be satisfied with half-measures, considering what is at stake.

So what really is at stake?

When music and culture suffer, a large part of the French economy suffers as well. This is a message that has had a hard time getting through to people, despite numerous studies carried out in recent years that show that music is a major industry for our country. When venues close and festivals are cancelled, it is not only the artists and creators who are penalised — dozens of other trades are affected, and entire territories are impacted. The health crisis we are going through is a tsunami for an industry that accounts for more than 250,000 jobs.

TPLM put together 10 proposals based on the results of the study. What is the spirit of the recommendations?

Our 10 proposals aim to respond to the emergency that has left the sector severely weakened, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to create the conditions for a recovery. This is essential to support the sector over the long term, in the pursuit of quality and diversity.

There is an urgent need, first of all, to put in place specific aid measures for the performing arts, which are fighting for their survival, and to extend the measures put in place in the middle of the pandemic, the elimination of which could destroy structures that have already been undermined. Efforts must also be made to maintain companies' liquidity, in particular by strengthening existing tax credits and creating the tax credit that publishers have been demanding for years. Finally, we’ve got to make sure that unemployment insurance for occasional workers in the entertainment industry (intermittents du spectacle) plays its full role, and that creators are protected.

What do you propose to support the reconstruction of the sector?

The national and local authorities must work alongside us to sustain the industry and enable us to continue to offer the public a wide range of musical experiences, throughout France but also abroad, because the music industry has undeniably become a key asset for French “soft power.” Such a reconstruction will only be possible if it is a collective effort from the start.  This is why we are calling for consultation with the national and local authorities, with a view to drawing up an ambitious recovery plan. The concrete translation of this plan would be a multi-year public investment pact to foster creation, accompanied by a push to make cultural goods produced in France more popular.

Such a recovery effort, the need for which is underscored by the scale of the losses revealed by the EY study, must take place within a legal framework strengthened by the transposition of the three directives adopted in Brussels last year (copyright, satellite and cable, and audio-visual media services). Radio quotas must also continue to be defended, especially as this period of crisis will weigh on authors, composers and performers for several years to come.

In this process, TPLM will represent the voice of a united and determined sector, eager to defend —beyond its own revival — the unique social link that music constitutes in our country.  

Published June 17 2020