Whether they are guitar players, backing vocals or studio engineers, career musicians struggle with pay even in regular times.
Many of them would tend to take on extra work in order to make ends meet when their services are not needed on stage or in the studio.
For them, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a double whammy.
Not only has tours and recording sessions been put on hold, but those second jobs in wedding bands or school classrooms have vanished too.
According to a Musician’s Union survey, 92% of its members have seen their livelihood affected by coronavirus, losing an estimated £13.9bn in earnings in the first two weeks of the lockdown.
Meanwhile, the Ivors Academy of songwriters and composers said that it anticipated a loss £25,000 per member over a six-month period.
Whilst record-breaking record royalty payments are often mentioned for the world’s superstars, Olga FirzRoy, an award-winning engineer and producer whose credits include The Beatles, Coldplay and Foo Fighters, said that for the rest, “the industry has ground to a halt”.
She said: “I did my last session in the first week of March, but have done nothing since then. And my colleagues are pretty much in the same boat.
“There’s no money coming in.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, some artists are finding ways to support their sidemen and women – and hope that they can establish new precedents along the way.
In Paris, in France, jazz artist, Melody Gardot is making a new record from her apartment, and inviting musicians from around the world to form her ‘virtual orchestra.’
Anyone can sign up – and they will receive musical charts, backing tracks and instructions on how to record themselves performing at home.
Cruelly, however, she is paying standard union rates to anyone who appears on the finished record.
Gardot says that she hopes that other artists will follow her lead in paying musicians for recording their parts at home.
“We got to get some of the big cats on board, like Ed Sheeran, or John Mayer, and keep creating opportunities for other people”.
Although recording studios may reopen very soon, with a backlog of work to get through, the picture is a little less rosy further down the line.
Echoing calls made by UK Music, (Olga) FirzRoy said that the government should work closely with the industry to make sure that it survives as the UK emerges from lockdown.
She said: “The music industry makes a lot of money for them in the good times. They need to think about that”.