Australian music industry reports $330 million loss due to COVID-19

The effect COVID-19 has had on the Australian music industry is drastic. So how can we help in this time of need? (Image source: Live Nation

By Meika Bottrill | @meikabotttrill

All live music performances in the country scheduled in the upcoming months have either been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

With all public gatherings of more than two people banned in Australia as of the March 29 live music performances are impossible.

The crowdsourced website I Lost My Gig Australia allows for musicians and those working in the industry to report their losses so far. The numbers show that the Australian music industry has recorded a $330 million loss with this number rising each week.

Todd Griffiths is lead guitarist for Loose Bricks – an alternative Indie Rock band formed in Mildura, country Victoria. The band have been forced to postpone all upcoming shows on their single release tour of Honey.

“Financially it will hit us hard because bands rely on those live shows to keep a healthy income,” Todd said.

Loose Bricks announced their decision to postpone their tour on their Facebook page.

“It’s not fair to put anyone in danger or risk of catching the virus, especially with our personal lives at stake with music not being our primary income,” they said.

The devastation that the music industry is currently experiencing due to COVID-19 is relentless. Especially due to the streaming giants that favour popular artists over smaller ones.

“Live music is our biggest revenue as platforms like Spotify or Apple Music pay next to nothing to their artists,” Todd said.

And it is not just musicians who rely on this income. Melbourne-based singer Alex Lahey urges people to consider those employed by musicians.

“The people that I employ, their income is at the mercy of what the artist makes,” she told Neil Griffiths in his podcast The Green Room.

“If the artist isn’t making anything, then the system collapses,”

The prospect of live music this year looks bleak with an uncertain future due to the global pandemic.

Shadow Arts Minster Tony Burke wrote a statement urging the government to provide some financial relief to the music industry.

“The government needs a plan for the arts sector, and we need to hear what it is – urgently,” the statement read.

“With live performance ticket sales dropping and the list of cancelled events growing rapidly, the sector could be brought to the brink over coming months.”

Before COVID-19, the Australian live music industry was booming and had recorded the highest revenue and attendance it had ever seen. 8.5 million Australians attended a live music performance in 2017, generating $826 million in revenue that year.

The music industry is an integral part of Australian culture, creating a connection and atmosphere like no other.

To experience your favourite artists performing live is one thing, but to be surrounded by hundreds of strangers who all share the same love for music is another.

Todd believes that live music is equally important for both the artists and their fans.

“Fans love live music because they love experiencing something together, [and for artists] playing something you wrote to a room full of people is next to none,” he said.

“You can tell how much people love live music when you get to travel around the country doing it. Places like Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney are unbelievably committed to supporting the industry.”

You can help support Australian artists by streaming their music, buying their merchandise and keeping your tickets to any postponed shows.

Supporting the industry is more important right now than ever.

Triple J has also announced a special edition of their Aus Music T-Shirt Day on April 17, encouraging fans to purchase merchandise from their favourite artists to help provide financial support.

“A lot of artists are losing their main financial stability in the blink of an eye [so] while you can’t go to some cancelled shows, now is a great time to use the refunded ticket money to support them in a hard time that may not end soon,” Loose Bricks said.

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