1 in 3 DJs have learnt to produce music during lockdown
Pirate – previously recognised as Pirate Studios – is on a mission to make creative spaces accessible for all, boasting an ever-growing network of 24/7 studio spaces for musicians, DJs, producers, vocalists, and podcasters. Their mission however came to a sudden halt following orders to close their doors during the coronavirus pandemic. In wake of the most problematic year in recent history for the UK live music industry, Pirate utilised access to thousands of customers to assess the impacts of coronavirus on creatives.
Due to the financial instability experienced by countless DJs during the pandemic, many left, or are still considering leaving the music industry; whilst many have diversified their skills to reduce the financial blow. Despite their struggles, a surprising majority of DJs recognised some positive impacts the pandemic has made on their lives.
1 in 4 DJs less likely to pursue a career in music
Unfortunately, Pirate found that 26% of DJs are less likely to pursue a career in music after COVID-19; this figure is likely a result of revenue losses that 54% of DJs recorded due to COVID-19. Moreover, the UK governments’ unwillingness to support the arts until months into the pandemic meant it was too little, too late for many creatives – leading to preventable mass redundancies and permanent closure of culture infrastructure. Once government or organisational support was finally available, only 21% of DJs submitted support applications – 13.5% doing so successfully. Despite this, 54% of DJs are still likely to pursue a career in music, with 20% unsure if they are less likely to.
2 in 3 DJs retrained due to COVID-19
Following an unforgiving lack of support, many DJs took financial matters into their own hands, with an astounding 70% of DJs deciding to retrain or learn a new skill; music production became the primary focus for 29% of DJs. Pirate discovered that 67% of DJs cited “time to produce” as the top reason the pandemic had made some positive impact on their lives. Another benefit described was additional time to practice DJing – many opted to perfect “scratching”, “learning to mix on vinyl”, or “playing different genres”. Streaming platforms such as Twitch became the saviour for fans and DJs alike during the pandemic, handing DJs a new revenue stream and way to connect with their fans once again.
Pirate has already given thousands of young or low-income producers affordable access to recording and DJ studios, encouraging creativity, community, and collaborations. Despite current coronavirus restrictions, Pirate has taken extra measures to ensure studios remain safe and open for all, 24/7. The full report can be found here.
Summer 2021 has become the epitome of anticipation for creatives, promoters, and ravers alike. With the UK government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme shattering targets, the country is witnessing extraordinary reductions in transmission rates, hospitalisations, and deaths. Thanks to the incredible work of the NHS and key workers, we will dance again.
Words by James Barnes.