The coronavirus pandemic affects Finnish music export

The corona pandemic has hit international music industry hard, as also in Finland. For many, all international activities have come to a halt.

Music Finland gathered information from Finnish music companies and freelancers about the impacts of the pandemic for their income and financial situation. The results of the surveys showed severe losses. For enterprises, the lost revenues varied from tens of thousands of euros to several millions, and for many of them, this amounted to a large proportion of their annual income. The losses from even a few productions have put all activities of smaller companies at risk.

For many freelancers, including composers, songwriters and musicians in different genres, the financial crisis is imminent as well. For some, the losses so far were only hundreds of euros, but many who are active in their international career will lose tens of thousands of euros during this spring.

Cancelled concerts and postponed careers

The surveys show that the effects of the pandemic vary according to the sectors and occupational groups. The biggest direct losses have been caused by the cancelled tours and concerts, which leave artists, bands, ensembles and individual musicians without their fees. It also affects their companies and other tour staff, as well as causes losses in merchandise and record sales. These losses affect musicians and companies in all genres.  

For classical composers, music publishers and songwriters the full effects of cancelled events will show only later, as they lose the royalties for live performances. The publishers will see immediate losses in sheet music rentals. And even though the live events would only be postponed, future losses of income are likely as competition grows.

The slow period can be used for building the future or work with internet visibility.

The pandemic has also halted creative work in many sectors. For example, it has cut international songwriting sessions short and postponed the future co-writing sessions. The classical composers reported cancellations of commissioned works and international residencies. Musicians have had to suspend their joint rehearsal periods, and preparations for future releases haven been interrupted. All in all, international communication has slowed down as the future is uncertain.

This situation affects also promotion and marketing, as record releasing tours and industry events have been cancelled. In pop music this can be devastating especially for new artists. In classical music the time frame is long, and the missed opportunities now could cause loss of work for several years to come. 

The artists and composers currently on grant are best secured from the income losses. For others, the income from older releases still secures the basic income. In these cases, the slow period can be used for building the future or work with internet visibility. But even in these circumstances the insecurity of the future has effects on their work.

How to invest in the future?

Even without income, the expenses for many companies are fixed, with for example studio rents in Finland and abroad. If the infrastructures are compromised during the crisis, their re-establisment will take a long time. On the other hand, for example start up companies might have lost opportunities for investments during this insecure time.

For some, the biggest losses do not originate in the international music scene but in Finland. However, this affects directly their future possibilities to invest in international career. This applies to both freelance musicians and larger companies.

In the last few days, there have been several new fundings and grants for the creative companies and freelancers to help them continue their work in the time of the pandemic. For example, Business Finland has opened funding for companies

Freelance artists and composers can apply for new grants by Finnish foundations and the ministry for education and culture here.