A number of leading music organisations have written to the Government objecting to updated guidance that allows only 6 people to sing together indoors. This is because indoor singing activity should be treated the same as other non-professional music activity and indoor organised sports activity, as was the case between August and December 2020.
This campaign has been supported by The Incorporated Society of Musicians, Making Music, the Association of British Choral Directors, the Association of British Orchestras and the member organisations of Singing Network UK. You can read the full press release here
The MIA supports this work to get singing activity in England up and running again. This guidance has an impact on business for music retailers and music publishers. The cessation of choral activities will affect the sales of sheet music.
MIA Member Presto Music are the leading e-commerce site for classical and jazz recordings, sheet music, music books and musical instruments. James Longstaffe, Head of Printed Music, says:
“Like many other retailers, we have definitely felt the huge impact that the pandemic has had on sales of choral music. An area that had been steadily showing strong signs of growth in early 2020 suddenly plummeted when the first lockdown began, and sales have largely remained low for much of the subsequent period.
Although we have started to see encouraging indications of recovery in the last couple of months, this progress is in immense danger of being undone by the government’s belated guidance on choral singing. It is enormously important for the industry that these unfair restrictions should be dropped as soon as possible.”
MIA Member Hal Leonard Europe is part of the Hal Leonard group of companies – the world’s largest source of music publications, representing many of the world’s best-known and most respected publishers, artists, songwriters, arrangers and instrument manufacturers. Hal Leonard Europe companies publish and distribute an extensive catalogue of printed and digital publications and sheet music. European Business Development Director, Tom Farncombe, says:
“The current government position is very frustrating, especially given the meticulous preparation that many choirs will have gone through to ensure that they can safely sing together. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the business of choral singing: if choirs cannot rehearse and perform, then a whole musical ecosystem is damaged.
Choral sheet music sales have been significantly impacted in the last 12 months, which has implications for publishers, distributors and retailers and decimates royalties paid to composers and arrangers.
Also, if there are no amateur choral concerts, then professional accompanists, conductors and other performers are out of work. It is imperative that the guidance is revised to allow amateur groups back to their rehearsal spaces as soon as possible”
What can you do?
- Write to your MP. Your MP, whatever their party, is representing you and has to respond to your concerns
- Also write to the relevant ministers: (Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Digital and Culture; Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and the Permanent Secretary (Sarah Healey) at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Write to members of the House of Lords – any and all of them! They do not represent a geographical area but you might have a special connection to some of them, perhaps because they come from your region or sing in a choir; if you don’t know (of) any of them, you can research them here: www.theyworkforyou.com. Some that we know have an interest in singing or have asked questions about it before are: Lord Berkeley of Knighton, Baroness Walmsely, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, Lord Vaizey of Didcot, Lord Roberts of Llandudno.
- Can they ask a parliamentary question? (MPs and peers in the House of Lords can do this – it’s a lottery, they can apply and may be picked or not). Download Making Music’s parliamentary question and briefing. Please note: even they are not selected for a verbal question, they can ask a written question and the relevant minister has to respond.
There is now also a petition which has been set up on the official petitions website of the government – it has already reached 10,000 signatures which means that government has to respond, if it reaches 100,000, there has to be a Westminster Hall debate.
Please sign and share: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/586559