New study confirms music and performing arts will be most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis


GESAC, together with a wide variety of European cultural organisations, have just published “Rebuilding Europe” a study highlighting the great size of Europe’s creative economy and “its vast untapped potential for a post-COVID recovery”.

The cultural and creative economy: “a European heavyweight”

As a follow-up to the 2014 “Creating growth” study, the consultancy EY first underlines the substantial economic contribution of the CCIs in Europe: accounting for 4,4% of EU GDP in turnover (€253 billion in added value) and more than 7,6 million jobs in 2019, the CCIs generate more revenue than sectors such as telecommunications, high technology, pharmaceuticals or the automotive industry.

It’s interesting to note that the CCI revenues have increased by 17% since 2013 and that music is one of its fastest-growing subsectors (more than 4% per year). Music is also amidst one of the top CCI employers, with 1,2 million jobs in the sector.

Added value by sector in 2019

Consequences of COVID-19 on live and impact on emerging talent 

With a loss of 31% of turnover (-€199 billion in 2020 vs 2019), CCIs are one of the worst affected sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic:  they are neck and neck with air transport and they have been more affected than the tourism and automotive industries.

Live activities are once again pointed as the hardest hit, as they were among the first to be heavily restricted, and will most likely be among the last to fully resume. The study projects that performing arts revenues may fall by 90% and music revenues by 76% in 2020.

Estimated change in turnover 2019 - 2020

The countries suffering the most severely from the crisis are also the ones where live cultural activities represent a major share of the national creative economy (e.g. Central & Eastern Europe, and to a slightly lesser extent, countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Slovenia).

This all concurs that the current pandemic will have a massive and lasting impact on the entire value chain. These trends only reflect this partly, as the current restrictions are still here to stay for an uncertain period.

Knock-on effects of the crisis could be felt until 2025, the study shows, as the fragile financial health of the sector “may foster risk mitigation, thus limiting investment in the emergence of new talent in the coming years”.

Elise Phamgia, Liveurope coordinator comments: “this study confirms and substantiates the devastating consequences of the pandemic for live activities and the potential risk it represents for the development of talent. The tools we have developed at Liveurope have already been identified as efficient means to address some of the live music sector’s key challenges. We urgently call the EU to take appropriate measures to foster the resilience and sustainability of Europe’s diverse cultural & music ecosystem”.