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Denver Arts & Venues, in partnership with Colorado State University, today announced the release of two reports related to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on Denver’s creative industry: 2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report with Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis, and, along with Colorado Creative Industries, Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Music Industry in Colorado and the Denver Metropolitan Region.

“The local creative sector is a significant driver of our economy, supporting nearly 100,000 employees in the metro region and generating more than $16 billion in sales,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock, stressing that the value of local creative industry goes beyond sales revenue. “But it’s more than just that economic impact; our creative industry gives us the music, art, literature and entertainment that makes Denver and Colorado great places to live.”

The 2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report details the scale, scope and growth of the Denver metropolitan region’s creative economy between 2010 and 2019 and estimates the year-to-date impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local creative economy. The Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Music Industry in Colorado and the Denver Metropolitan Region report estimates the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the music industry in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan region over the past several months.

Both reports reveal the initial effects of the COVID-19 crisis are substantial, estimating Denver’s creative industries have lost an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue between April 1 and July 31, while Colorado’s music industry alone lost an estimated 8,327 jobs between April 1 and July 31, representing a 51 percent loss. According to the Denver Music Strategy published in 2016, the music industry is Denver’s 10th largest employer.

“The creative economy has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis Many creative workers are either self-employed or work freelance in addition to working other jobs within or outside of the creative industries,” said Dr. Michael Seman, assistant professor of arts management at Colorado State University’s LEAP Institute for the Arts. “There are also thousands working full-time in creative occupations in industries like outdoor recreation, hospitality, travel and retail, which are currently experiencing their own challenging COVID-19 crisis scenarios.”

“Losses of this magnitude not only affect the creative and music industries, but they are also affecting the mental health and wellness of our communities,” said Lisa Gedgaudas, program administrator for Create Denver, Denver Arts & Venues. “There are many industries intertwined with music, such as food and beverage, tourism and hospitality, and education. When you combine that with the fact that a significant portion of economic activity in the music industry is informal and not reported, it suggests these estimations merely hint at larger losses both economically and emotionally.”

“The music industry is not only an important part of our state's economy, it's also fundamental to how we define ourselves as Coloradoans,” added Margaret Hunt, director of Colorado Creative Industries. “Our state's music industry reaches every corner of Colorado and includes a wide array of participants and establishments including musicians, sound engineers, lighting designers, recording studios, craft instrument fabricators, venues and all of their support staff.”

Both reports provide recommendations that regional professional groups, philanthropic organizations, municipal governments and arts agencies should swiftly coordinate funding and programming efforts to address the challenges facing the Denver and Colorado. Arts & Venues continues to coordinate with several other organizations to provide financial support to artists and musicians through Colorado Artist Relief Fund, COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund and Denver Music Advancement Fund (opening late August).

To view the reports in full, visit https://www.artsandvenuesdenver.com/create-denver/denver-music-strategy/initial-impacts-of-the-covid-19-crisis-on-the-music-industry-in-colorado-and-the-denver-metropolitan-region and https://www.artsandvenuesdenver.com/create-denver/2020-city-of-denver-creative-economy-report-with-initial-impacts-of-the-covid-19-crisis.

For more information:
Denver Arts & Venues: Lisa Gedgaudas, lisa.gedgaudas@denvergov.org
Colorado Creative Industries: Margaret Hunt, margaret.hunt@state.co.us
Colorado State University: Dr. Michael Seman, michael.seman@colostate.edu