COVID-19 support provided to live music industry during pandemic: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

What is the Scottish Government doing to help the live music industry after the global financial devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic?


The Scottish Government has provided support for the music industry throughout the covid-19 pandemic. This has included funding and other support to stimulate new activity. Much of the information on this support is in the public domain on the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and findbusinesssupport websites.

Engagement with the music sector
Scottish Government officials meet regularly with music industry representatives to discuss any issues and gather feedback on progress. This has been invaluable in helping to develop and shape the different funding schemes to support the music, creative industries, culture and heritage sectors.

This engagement has included regular meetings on a fortnightly basis with the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Task Force. This group includes representatives from Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) and the Music Venues Trust. Music stakeholders are also represented on the Events Industry Advisory Group. It regularly meets with officials.

Funding support
The Scottish Government has provided £240 million across the creative industries, culture and heritage sector since the start of the covid-19 pandemic. A further £16m was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance on 8 February. Details of how this will be allocated across these sectors was announced on 18 February.

This includes the following support for the music sector and freelancers (in date order):

  • £1.2 million for Creative / Screen Bursaries (March 2020)
  • £17 million to address hardship faced by creative freelancers (August 2020, March 2021)
  • £12.5 million then £12 million for Performing Arts Events Venues Relief Fund (July 2020, June 2021)
  • £13.1 million then £13m for Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund (August 2020, June 2021)
  • £3.5 million Open Fund (August 2020)
  • £4.25 million for youth arts, including the Youth Music Initiative (August 2020 and subsequent additional funding)
  • £6.0 million for the Culture Collective programme (November 2020)
  • £6.2 million for Grassroots Music Venues (July and December 2020)
  • £31.5 million for the Events sector (July and December 2020)

Recent funding

  • £31.5 million Cancellation Fund for Cultural Businesses, Organisations, Venues, Independent Cinemas and Grassroot Music Venues (December 2021)
  • £10 million Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers (December 2021)

Additional support
The Scottish Government is working with Celtic Connections to ensure the £110,000 of Scottish Government EXPO funding for its 2022 programming of Tradovation is repurposed to assist them and the artists that depend on the festival.

The Scottish Government is supporting the revival of the music sector and ensuring that it can build audience confidence. It has committed £750,000 to set up the new Scotland on Tour Fund. This will support the music industry by delivering new concerts to venues across Scotland next year. Towns and villages across Scotland will open new venue spaces or programme an increased number of concerts providing opportunities for professional musicians to generate new income. It will also provide communities across the nation with world class performances on their doorstep.

Creative Scotland is continuing to support the Music sector in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic via its Open Fund, the regular funding of organisations (RFOs) and through Targeted Funds. This includes strengthening sector confidence during the recovery period by supporting award ceremonies such as the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and Scottish Jazz Awards.

Creative Scotland is also supporting in-person presence for music industry delegates and showcasing artists at Womex, Folk Alliance International and Jazzahead so that Scotland-based artists can continue to tap into international markets for income and cultural exchange, while Scotland remains visible as an active creative country on the world stage.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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