Music and live entertainment industries submit open letter to the Australian Government

An Open Letter published today seeks to bring attention to the continuing devastation the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Australia’s music and live entertainment industry with an appeal to the Australian Government to establish an industry rescue program to replace the end of JobKeeper.

“Each time there is another COVID-19 cluster or a quarantine breach, any plans to trade again are halted. Musicians, sole traders, venues, clubs, festivals, music businesses and the industry remain out of work. Billions of dollars for hospitality and tourism generated from Australian music remains stifled. We are an industry in crisis,” the Open Letter says.

“We applaud the work of local, state and federal authorities, as well as the community and acknowledge the situation in Australia is much different to most nations around the world. But Australia remains in a cycle of lockdowns and border closures to keep on top of the insidious COVID-19 pandemic.”

Despite Australia being ahead of most countries around the world, new figures released today by music rights organisation APRA AMCOS reveal that live music alone is operating at under 4 per cent of the level compared to this time last year, showing the devastation that has hit Australia’s live music industry and on the thousands of people who work to make live music happen.

Pre-COVID, APRA AMCOS members submitted live performance reports, representing payment for over 3 million performances of their works. The same period during COVID-19 saw the number of performances of works plummet to approximately 100,000 – representing under 4 per cent of activity pre-COVID*.

Since March last year there has not been a single national tour undertaken by an Australian artist and there has not been a single festival run at full capacity. Night clubs remain closed and what venues are open are trading at an average of 30 per cent due to social distancing capacity regulations.

“Extending JobKeeper, or providing an industry specific wage subsidy package, will keep the show on the road. This doesn’t just make cultural sense, it makes economic sense. The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $15 billion per year in GDP, employing close to 200,000 highly-skilled Australians. Australia Institute research has found that for every million dollars in turnover, arts and entertainment produce 9 jobs while the construction industry only produces around 1 job,” the Open Letter continues.

Research shows three dollars are generated from every $1 spent on live music. The inability for the music industry to trade has a direct knock-on effect on the hospitality and tourism industries across major metropolitan and regional centres across the country and an unprecedented loss to the economy.

“Every live music venue and festival in a city, town centre or regional area is part of an intricate network that supports our industry. Sitting behind these venues and events is an army of musicians, managers, agents, promoters, crew, technicians, music teachers and many other industry professionals,” the Open Letter says.

“We can’t afford to lose the skills and businesses of our industry. The result for Australian music and live entertainment would be catastrophic.”

The music and live entertainment industry urges the Australian Government to extend JobKeeper for music and live entertainment workers or provide an industry-specific wage subsidy.

More than 3,500 music industry artists, workers, venues and businesses have signed the Letter.

Read: The Full Open Letter

Peter J Snee

Peter is a British born creative, working in the live entertainment industry. He holds an honours degree in Performing Arts and has over 12 years combined work experience in producing, directing and managing artistic programs & events. Peter has traversed the UK, Europe and Australia pursuing his interest in theatre. He is inspired by great stories and passionately driven by pursuing opportunities to tell them.

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