Whether they’re guitar players, backing vocalists or studio engineers, career musicians struggle with pay even in regular times.
Many take on extra work to make ends meet when their services aren’t needed on stage or in the studio.
For them, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a double whammy. Not only have tours and recording sessions been put on hold, but those second jobs in wedding bands or school classrooms have vanished, too.
According to a Musicians Union survey, 92% of its members have seen their livelihood affected by coronavirus, losing an estimated £13.9m in earnings in the first two weeks of the lockdown.
Meanwhile, the Ivors Academy of songwriters and composers said it anticipated a loss of £25,000 per member over a six-month period.
The figures may come as a surprise, given recent headlines about record-breaking royalty payments and Rihanna’s £468m fortune, but the wealth in the music industry tends to accumulate at the top.
For the rest, the “industry has ground to a halt,” says Olga FitzRoy, an award-winning engineer and producer whose credits include Coldplay, Foo Fighters and The Beatles.
“I did my last session in the first week of March and I’ve had nothing since then, and my colleagues are pretty much in the same boat,” she tells the BBC. “There’s no money coming in”.