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COVID-19 hit the creative industries particularly hard. How can they be supported in future?

  • Ten million creative jobs have been lost because of the pandemic.
  • Digital revenues fail to make up for losses from live events.
  • UNESCO calls for changes to better support the cultural sectors in future.
  • Better use of data and more public investment are two areas to work on.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 and national lockdowns had a dramatic effect on employment for many. However, they hit the cultural and creative industries particularly hard, with a total of 10 million jobs lost in these sectors worldwide in 2020, according to a new report from UNESCO.

This had an impact not only on individuals, but also on the wider economy, wiping $750 billion off the value of the global cultural and creative industries, the Reshaping Policies for Creativity report notes.

The job losses catalyzed a drive to digital that had already been happening before 2020. “Many artists and cultural professionals seized the opportunity of the rise in niche streaming services to develop innovative projects in the digital sphere,” the report says.

However, digital revenues failed to make up for the decline in live events caused by the pandemic, it adds. In the music sector, where live shows are a key part of artists’ income, the dominance of digital means the division of revenues among creators, producers and distributors “remains highly unequal”, the report says.

“People’s global access to, and reliance on, cultural content has increased, however, at the same time, those who produce arts and culture find it increasingly difficult to work,” says UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, Ernesto Ottone. “We need to rethink how we build a sustainable and inclusive working environment for cultural and artistic professionals who play a vital role for society, the world over.”

It appears evident there has been no greater time for creative industries to adapt and reshape how and what they create in line with the sustainable and environmental goals, as an opportunity to explore new avenues of revenue and success. Empowering creatives in circular economy project aims to produce resources and tools to help achieve such goals!

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