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Launched in October 2020, the #MakeMusicWork campaign, in partnership with the Musicians' Movement, calls on the Government to help musicians get back to work and start earning again.

We proposed a new Freelance Performers Support Scheme to make it financially viable for the reopening of music venues under social distancing and see the return of live performances. With a guaranteed fee for each performer even if performances are cancelled, this proposal puts freelancers at the heart of a sustainable funding model for venues. It was a scheme to get more money from the government into the pockets of musicians, without reducing their income or undercutting industry rates.

On Thursday 15 October, over 200 organisations and nearly 2,300 professional musicians and members of the music community signed our open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, outlining our proposal. In addition, we lobbied the government, enlisted the support of MPs and promoted the campaign on social media with the help of our members. These efforts contributed to the government announcing positive changes to their support schemes - extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and increasing the third Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant.

We are grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign so far, particularly our campaign partners at the Musicians' Movement and their volunteers. The ISM would also like to thank many others including the Musician’s Answering Service, Help Musicians, the London Symphony Orchestra and Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE.

Now, we want to work with others in the sector to develop our proposals further and build support for it. Our aim is to create a flexible model balancing conflicting needs within the sector and so we would welcome further discussion as we continue to develop how it would work in practice. Going forward, we are also calling on the government to deliver on its pledge to ensure parity between employees and the self-employed by expanding the eligibility criteria for the SEISS.