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Getting Recording Session Musicians Back to Work

Officials from our Recording & Broadcasting department are meeting with a small number of representatives from the major recording studios and media ensemble contractors to start developing proposals to get UK recording session musicians back to work.

Published: 12 May 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 12 July 2021 | 5:57 PM
Photograph of a person working at a recording studio deck.
We will be led by advice from our independent health and safety consultant in order to ensure there is absolute confidence that health risks have been minimised. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Of course, the health and safety of our members will be the primary focus of any plans we develop moving forward, as MU Assistant General Secretary Phil Kear explained:

“Any proposals will necessarily require something of a departure from previous working practices in order to ensure safe social distancing measures are observed.

“As ever, the well-being of our members is our top priority, so we will be led by advice from our independent health and safety consultant in order to ensure there is absolute confidence that health risks have been minimised, before any return to the studio.

“We are hopeful that all parties can work together to develop a detailed plan that will allow work to begin again as soon as possible, whilst ensuring the safety of our members.”

We will be keeping members informed of any plans moving forward.

Remote session work

Where possible, we’re also encouraging musicians to engage in remote session work.

Last month we published a detailed blog from trumpet player and contractor Paul Spong, with his top tips for creating a home recording set up, and the lessons that he’s learnt along the way. 

We will also be including a full feature on remote session work in the forthcoming Summer edition of The Musician journal.

Remember that even when working remotely, you should always be using MU Session Agreements when engaging in recording session work. For clarity on which agreement to use or advice on rates, please contact Sessions Official, Sam Jordan by emailing

Lobbying the Government to protect the music industry

Although it’s important to look at safety-led ways that we can open work up for musicians, it is essential that the Government moves to protect the industry.

In April, we published a blog from our General Secretary Horace Trubridge on planning for the recovery of the music industry.

In the blog, Horace discussed how we’re supporting initiatives from the Music Producers Guild and the Music Venues Trust – calling on the Government to put in place fiscal packages to protect vital workplaces for musicians

In the immediate term, we’re lobbying the Government to urgently address the gaps in their support for self-employed workers. Our most recent research shows that two in five musicians may fall short of the criteria required for the Government’s assistance schemes.

Take action now

We’re also encouraging musicians to join us in asking the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect all self-employed workers, and ensure no musician is left behind. Your personal stories make all the difference.

If you haven’t written to Rishi yet, we have all the advice you need, including a template letter to take action and #WritetoRishi now.

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