Music industry group sets out guidelines for safe return to recording studio

Abbey Road Studios; Music Industry

A collective of major music industry bodies have produced a set of Government-endorsed guidelines to aid artists, producers and songwriters in safely returning to the recording studio.

Its publication comes shortly after the Government detailed the measures that the performing arts industry – including theatre, opera, dance and music – must follow when it returns to work.

The latest guidance comes from bodies including the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Musicians’ Union (MU), and was developed by a working group convened by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Recording studios and other spaces must maintain social distancing and musicians should stagger their hours to minimise interaction.

The guidelines also encourage the use of screens and barriers in the studio and elsewhere to stop transmission of Covid-19.

Musicians should work back-to-back or side-to-side, rather than face-to-face, whenever possible.

And production teams should form groups, so each person only works with a few others.

Studio spaces should be ventilated, especially when they are regularly used by groups.

The number of people touching equipment like mixing desks, lathes, cables and headphones should be kept to a minimum – with the items cleaned regularly.

Recording studios should also be encouraged to cap the number of visitors and remove common areas such as waiting rooms and canteens.

People hosting casting for video shoots should consider getting potential candidates to tape themselves at home, or host auditions over a live stream.

Other measures, including floor markings and shift work, echo the DCMS guidance for the performing arts industry.

Musicians, producers and songwriters will not be required to wear face coverings.

The Association Of Independent Music and the Music Producers Guild also helped develop the guidelines, after consulting with people working across the music industry.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the Brit Awards and industry body BPI, said: “The pandemic has brought home to many just how important music is in our daily lives.

“Investing in talent and releasing new music are the heart of what labels do, so we are happy to support our artists, producers and songwriters in getting back into the recording studio and other workspaces, safely and with confidence.

“This will help to unleash a flood of new music for fans and spur an even bigger contribution from music to economic recovery.

“We thank our industry partners and DCMS and advisers for their collaboration in producing this important guidance.”

Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said: “The MU has been pleased to work closely with AIM, the MPG and the BPI in assisting and guiding the DCMS in this important work.

“The UK’s broadcasting, film and production sector is the envy of the world and this sector specific guidance should enable studios, production companies and broadcasters to get back up to speed safely and efficiently.”

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Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden

It comes after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that performances of theatre, opera, dance and music will be able to resume from Saturday, provided social-distancing measures are in place.

Mr Dowden said: “Throughout this crisis, music has been a vital source of support and inspiration for many so we have been working closely with the industry on this important guidance to get production back up and running safely.

“Artists, musicians and producers should feel confident returning to studios and video sets to make new work for their fans.”

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