London’s Wigmore Hall breaks down costs of concert streaming during pandemic

Posted on: January 29, 2021

“When it began live streaming chamber music concerts in June last year, London’s Wigmore Hall was hailed as a beacon of hope for players and audiences alike,” reads an unsigned article in Tuesday’s (1/26) The Strad (U.K.). “In an interview with the Financial Times, the venue’s chief executive and artistic director John Gilhooly has now laid bare the cost of the initiative, which has included performances by the likes of Steven Isserlis, Mitsuko Uchida and the Heath Quartet, and which continues into 2021…. Staff costs and copyright charges for each performance come to around £3,000, plus artists’ fees. While the concerts are free to view, audiences have donated some £750,000 … and the number joining its membership scheme has increased by a quarter. ‘All that we have received has been ploughed back into paying artists their full fee and investing in programming,’ [said] Gillhooly…. The hall aims to have raised £1 million by … later this year [representing] …. This would represent only around one-seventh of the hall’s usual income over the period. A quarter of the Wigmore Hall’s staff have been made redundant since the start of the pandemic…. The main advantage of live streaming, according to Gilhooly, it its ability to reach wider audiences.”