Fragile livelihoods

11 Jan 2022

A collective of dance freelancers has initiated a critical response to the fragile nature of their livelihoods. Anna Alvarez and Alister O’Loughlin say they are aiming for long term change.

More artists are earning money from streaming

05 Jan 2022

More UK music artists earned "meaningful royalties" from streaming in 2021, the BPI reports.

UK music was streamed 147 billion times last year - a 5.7% increase on 2020.

About 1,900 artists were streamed more than 10 million times in the UK, meaning they could potentially earn a living from streaming alone. This group has grown by a quarter in just two years, according to the BPI.

Its figures indicate streaming now accounts for 83% of UK music consumption, though physical formats' popularity remains: a decline in CD sales has slowed and vinyl sales are the highest they've been in 30 years.

Today, an artist will generate the same revenue from 10 million streams as 10,000 CD sales. BPI estimates twice as many artists are earning significant sums compared to when CD sales were at their height.

"Success today is gauged in the multi-millions, sometimes billions, of streams," CEO Geoff Taylor said.

"This year’s growth shows there is a huge appetite for music and we believe that by working together we can increase the value of the whole music market, so that streaming can support even more artists in the future."


One in eight arts workers get no sick pay

08 Dec 2021

73,000 arts and entertainment workers do not quality for statutory sick pay, according to trade union body TUC.

The figure amounts to one in eight sector workers, or 12% of the workforce.

TUC warns that tougher self-isolation rules introduced in light of the Omicron variant could leave these workers without income over the Christmas period.

“Our sick pay system is broken. No one should be left to choose between doing the right thing or putting food on the table," TUC General Secretary Francis O'Grady said.

The UK has the least generous statutory sick pay in Europe, the union says, worth £96.35 per week and only available to employees earning more than £120 per week.

The Government previously introduced a temporary scheme to assist people who face hardship if required to self-isolate, but TUC analysis found 64% of applications were rejected.

First ever employment deal for video game voice actors

06 Dec 2021

A landmark deal on working conditions for voice actors working on video games has been agreed.

Voice studio OMUK will give Equity members details of the game prior to or at the time of audition and disclose whether an accent is required, among other information. 

Minimum fees will be set according to the production's budget. Games with a budget under £500,000 must pay at least £175 per hour, increasing to a minimum £300 for games with a budget of £5m or more. 

OMUK Managing Director Mark Estdale says the deal brings the industry in line with existing TV, stage and film agreements.

"Without taking this step, the games industry would remain the wild west of media even though it's now probably the biggest employer of talent."

Ireland to pilot basic income scheme for artists

man painting
11 Nov 2021

None of the four UK nations plan to replicate the three-year initiative, though pressure is building.

Survey highlights financial barriers to creative career development

01 Nov 2021

Creative Access says survey findings confirm money issues "exclude those from under-represented communities from progressing in the creative industries”.

CMA to assess music streaming market

20 Oct 2021

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a study into the UK’s music streaming market.

The watchdog will probe the dominance of major record labels and music streaming platforms including Spotify to assess whether artists are getting a fair deal.

Streaming now accounts for more than four-fifths of UK music consumption, according to the BPI.

CMA's annoucement follows its ongoing investigation into Sony Music’s recent merger, which raised concerns of a “a substantial lessening of competition”, and a DCMS Committee inquiry into streaming's effect on artists.

The decision was welcomed by Committee Chair Julian Knight, who has previously supported calls for an official investigation.

“Our investigation exposed fundamental problems within the structure of the music industry itself. This action marks a key step forward.”

UK languishes on 'best country for creativity' list

18 Oct 2021

A new survey reviewing how financially advantaged creatives are in different countries has placed the UK near the bottom of the list.

The study considered what four creative occupations - a graphic designer, web developer, architect and photographer - take home each month on average after subtracting the cost of rent in 20 countries.

The UK placed 19th, with 44.8% of monthly wages left after deductions.

Germany was the best country for creative professionals, topping the list with 61.8% of a monthly wage left after rent costs. Sweden and Denmark placed second and third.

A spokeperson for Design Bundles, which conducted the survey, said it was interesting to see how the UK fared: "Although they pay reasonable salaries in comparison, the difference in the percentage of pocketable wage is significant."

Female performing arts graduates earn more after five years

05 Oct 2021

Female performing arts graduates' earnings outstrip their male counterparts' after five years.

The average salary for a female performing arts graduate is £21,900, rising from £14,200 in the first year after finishing their studies.

Whilst men earning more in the initial stage of their careers with an average salary of £14,300 in their first year, women earn more on average three years in - £18,300 compared to £17,500.

The opposite is true of creative arts and design graduates: females earn less than males from the get go - £16,400 on average compared to £16,800 in their first year working.

The gap grows with time, with men earning £23,400 on average after five years, £1,900 more than female creative arts graduates.

Creative arts, where 60% of graduates are women, provides the lowest financial returns of any course of study, analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows.

Xiaowei Xu, a Senior Research Economist at IFS, said women disproportionately chose subject with lower-paying career options.

"Of course, money isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only factor when it comes to choosing what to study. But more needs to be done to inform young people about the financial consequences of degree choices, and to overcome gender stereotypes, so that women are not locked out of high-paying careers by choices at a young age.”



Curatorial scheme to tackle social mobility in visual arts

Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries participants
04 Oct 2021

The pilot programme will “challenge accepted barriers” in one of the sector’s least inclusive professions.

Only 720 UK artists make a living from music streaming

30 Sep 2021

A long-awaited report into music creators' earnings estimates they receive a fifth of a penny per stream, but avoids wading into the debate about whether that's fair.

PRS reports gender and ethnicity pay gaps

28 Sep 2021

PRS for Music has narrowed its gender pay gap but white employees earn up to 26% more than those of colour.

The collecting society has published reports on its gender and ethnicity pay gaps as it announces two new full-time posts to "provide further expertise in equality and diversity".

Its average gender pay gap has decreased from 13.5% last year to 10.6% this year. 

However, there is an average wage gap of 20% and a median gap of 26% in favour of white employees over their colleagues of colour.

This is "predominantly driven by the proportion of Black, Asian or ethnic minority background employees in lower banded roles," PRS reports

It says it has trained all hiring managers on inclusive recruiting and increase its use of recuritment agencies that specialise in diverse candidates.

"Internally, the organisation is increasing its focus on nurturing diverse talent using talent reviews and career development plans, including coaching and management development."

Watchdog called to probe music labels' market dominance

22 Sep 2021

The Government has responded to a critical inquiry on streaming with a 12-month schedule of research and working groups to challenge industry practices.

Equity warns of hardship over Universal Credit cut

21 Sep 2021

Performers face financial hardship if the Government proceeds with plans to cut a £20 per week Universal Credit uplift.

53% of Equity members in a new survey said the policy would hurt them.

41% said they would be unable to meet essential costs, with a third unable to continue seeking work in the industry.

Equity believes the cut will have an even more pronounced impact on younger talent, underrepresented groups and those from working class backgrounds.

"These changes to Universal Credit will plunge thousands of Equity members into poverty or force them to leave the profession,” Equity’s Lead Tax and Welfare Rights Official Alan Lean said.

The union has called on the Government to abandon the proposed cut, scheduled to come into effect October 6.

National Insurance hike 'deeply damaging' to creative freelancers

17 Sep 2021

The tax increase will be a "double whammy" for some self employed creatives, as income support dries up in October.

£100m in royalties paid to visual artists

06 Sep 2021

Visual artists' rights manager DACS is celebrating a milestone: £100m distributed to artists.

Since resale rights were passed into law, the organisation has paid these royalties to 5,624 artists. The rights are payable on any secondary sales of works over €1,000.

However, more than half of all eligible sales are less than £5,000, meaning the right represents a vital source of income for lower-earning artists.

"In the current climate as artists face the myriad of challenges of the pandemic, many without the security of government support, that is more important than ever," DACS Chief Executive Gilane Tawadros said.


Project leaks artist pay rates to force transparency

11 Aug 2021

The project has highlighted a race to the bottom on freelancers' fees as artists share their "incredibly bad experiences".

Legislate fair payment from music streaming, inquiry says

15 Jul 2021

After a nine-month-long inquiry, MPs have recommended "a complete reset" of music streaming to better compensate creators. What could a new model look like?

Creatives call for device tax to generate arts funding

01 Jul 2021

A major collection society says the levy could provide up to £300m per year. What would it look like and how would it work?

PRS sets 10% interim livestream tariff against objections

14 May 2021

The royalties society says the rate, already more than double that levied on in-person shows, is "discounted" from a permanent rate it is yet to announce.


Subscribe to ArtsPay