ARIA calls for ‘flexibility in quarantine’ and ‘more money’ from government following grim live report
Snap lockdowns and buyer uncertainty are applying the kiss of death to Australia’s live music industry, which continues to hemorrhage money and staff, a new report finds.
The I Lost My Gig’s latest survey paints a grim picture of a sector on the precipice.
Border closures, capacity restrictions, and quarantine issues are “crushing” thousands of livelihoods as cancelled shows are clock-up lost income of $16 million each week.
The data-capture platform surveyed almost 2,000 professionals and found 23,000 gigs and events had been cancelled since July 1.
That’s contributed to a $64 million pit of lost income in less than a month.
And it’s creating an experience that’s described as a “never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling.”
Few have come away from this unscathed. Since March 2020, the study found, just 7% of live industry professionals have been able to operate at pre-COVID levels.
The drain can’t be measured purely in financial terms. Some 60% of respondents say they’ve recently looked for work in other industries.
“After 16 months of cancelled gigs and reduced capacity-shows, this latest round of lockdown has truly hit the hardest,” comments Hannah Crofts of All Our Exes Live in Texas.
“What the general public, and the government, don’t realise,” she continues, “is that I don’t just lose work for the weeks we are in lockdown but the devastating ricochet effect it has on my career the following days, weeks and months.”
In another takeaway from the study, government support programs were found to be leaving many respondents out in the cold, with two-thirds 67% claiming they were ineligible for the Federal Government’s Disaster Relief Payment.
More than half of those interviewed said they were unclear about the funding being offered by their respective governments.
“While the government has certainly provided welcome help,” comments ARIA and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd in a statement, “this new I Lost My Gig data proves more is desperately needed.”
Herd calls for greater financial support from government.
The fightback “starts with more money to cover the cost of postponing shows, and must include measures to bring back confidence, Federal and state governments underwriting some of the risk associated with staging performances in order to persuade promoters to plan shows over the next six to twelve months.”
Consistency in border rules and capacity limits “will also help,” she continues, “as will flexibility in quarantine for international touring parties – giving our local artists opportunities to support world-class tours, supporting the next generation of Aussie artists.”
I Lost My Gig Australia (ILMG) was launched in March 2020 as a project to expose the impact of the pandemic on Australia’s live event and entertainment industries.
It’s an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), and is supported by such industry bodies as PPCA, APRA AMCOS, Live Performance Australia, Support Act, Crew Care, Electronic Music Conference, Sounds Australia and more.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.