“Billions of dollars in hospitality and tourism generated from Australian music remain stifled. We are an industry in crisis. “
Amazing new numbers released today by the top organizations APRA and AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) show that live Australian music is under four percent going on at less than four percent compared to that time last year, and there hasn’t been a single one national tour by an Australian artist since March.
Night clubs remain closed, open live music venues are occupied at an average of 30 percent, and music festivals that are being held can only be carried out with significantly reduced capacity.
“Expanding JobKeeper or providing an industry-specific wage subsidy package will keep the show going,” the letter said. “That makes not only cultural but also economic sense. The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $ 15 billion to GDP annually and employs nearly 200,000 highly skilled Australians. “
Jess Beston of Tiny Monster Management, who represents indie rock band Holy Holy, said the aftermath of the band’s cancellation of two performances in Melbourne last week due to Victoria’s five-day ban was “absolutely mind-boggling.”
Holy Holy’s recently canceled Oscar Dawson and Tim Carroll shows totaled nearly $ 100,000 in lost income. Recognition: Dominic Lorrimer
“In losing these shows, we didn’t just lose up to $ 100,000. We also had to cancel the work for all of our crews and suppliers, the sound people, tour managers, lighting technicians, monitors and all the companies we hire our backline for, lights off, ”she said. “Not only that, we are exploring the very real possibility that we won’t be able to do our shows in Queensland next week because I can’t get an Oscar [Dawson], our guitarist from Melbourne, to Queensland.
“There are tens of thousands of us who rely entirely on live shows for income to make a living.”
Others who signed the letter, including Courtney Barnett, Archie Roach, The Presets, Paul Kelly, The Avalanches, Peter Noble of the Bluesfest and organizers of the Laneway Festival, say it is impossible for the music industry and live entertainment sector, “right restart ”. in the face of ongoing restrictions and future bans.
“A restart cannot take place as long as the borders remain closed and the capacity limits of the audience exist,” the letter said.
“We cannot afford to lose the skills and business of our industry. The result for Australian music and live entertainment would be disastrous. “
The latest plea for financial aid follows an open letter signed by more than 1,000 musicians, workers and industry representatives last June. The $ 250 million JobMaker plan, which consisted of new grants and loan programs to resume the creative industries and focus on entertainment, art, and the screen, was part of the government’s response.
A study by RMIT University published this week found that 58 percent of respondents are considering quitting the music scene in Victoria, largely due to the impact COVID-19 has on their income streams.
The government’s JobKeeper program ends on March 28, after being extended from the original end date of September 28, 2020.
The music industry’s open letter to the government
Now is not the time to turn off the life support of music
The music and live entertainment industries will be the last to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are calling on the Australian government to renew JobKeeper or provide an industry-specific wage subsidy to continue through March for those who work in music and live events.
We applaud the work of local, state, federal and community agencies, and recognize that the situation in Australia is very different from that of most nations around the world. However, Australia continues to be in a cycle of lockdowns and border closings in an effort to control the insidious COVID-19 pandemic.
Anytime there is another COVID-19 cluster or quarantine breach, all plans to re-trade will be halted. Musicians, sole proprietorships, venues, clubs, festivals, music companies and industries remain unemployed. Billions of dollars in hospitality and tourism generated from Australian music remain stifled. We are an industry in crisis.
Currently, live music alone is operated at less than 4 percent of pre-COVID levels due to continuous border closings and social distancing regulations. There hasn’t been a single national tour by an Australian artist since March last year, and there hasn’t been a single festival at full capacity. The music and live entertainment industry remains at a standstill.
The ability for musicians to generate significant income was suspended overnight in March last year. Every live music venue and festival in a city, city center or regional area is part of a complex network that supports our industry. Behind these venues and events sits an army of musicians, DJs, managers, agents, promoters, crew members, technicians, music teachers, and many other industry professionals.
It’s all completely understandable. But for music and live entertainment, the past twelve months have devastated our industry. Data from the Bureau of Statistics shows the arts and entertainment industries have seen some of the largest pandemic business shutdowns.
We recognize the Australian Government’s Arts and Entertainment Response Package announced last year – $ 10 million in critical funding of the Support Act for Crisis Relief and Mental Health and Wellbeing Assistance, and $ 250 million in grants and loans to help promote the restart of the arts and entertainment sectors. However, a restart cannot take place as long as the borders remain closed and the capacity limits of the audience are present.
The end of March is due to end the JobKeeper program, the government’s most important political intervention. It has provided some security and has helped large numbers of individuals, retailers, and companies in the music and live entertainment industries stay alive so they are ready to start over.
As Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last year: “[It] It was important for us to really understand the serious business of entertainment and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are available here, and we want to hold that skill together. Those jobs will come back to these companies when the show starts again and we need to keep them. We have to keep the show together when it comes to the people who make it up. “
The show will stay up to date by expanding JobKeeper or providing an industry-specific wage subsidy package. That makes sense not only culturally, but also economically. The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $ 15 billion to GDP annually and employs nearly 200,000 highly skilled Australians. Research by the Australia Institute has found that arts and entertainment create 9 jobs for every million dollars in sales, while the construction industry creates only about 1 job.
We cannot afford to lose the skills and business of our industry. The result for Australian music and live entertainment would be disastrous.
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Martin Boulton is the EG Editor for The Age and Shortlist Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald
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