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News September 24, 2020

Australia’s live industry faces ‘imminent collapse’: Report

Senior Journalist, B2B
Australia’s live industry faces ‘imminent collapse’: Report

With revenue all but drying up during the health crisis, the vast majority of businesses across Australia’s live industry are facing shutdown in the next half-year.

And as many as one third of the country’s live network won’t be in business come Christmas.

Those are some of the alarming conclusions gleaned from the Australian Live Music Business Council’s first-ever survey of its members.

Published today (24th September), the ALMBC’s study found 70 percent of its members are predicting closure within the next six months, based on cashflow, or rather lack thereof.

Almost three-quarters of its polled members experienced a slide in revenue of 75-100 percent since March, when pandemic forced the closure of venues across the country.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Australia’s live music industry faces “imminent collapse” if the situation doesn’t charge, according to the newly-formed trade body.

But first, its “urgent priority” is to find solutions for the 30% of members who are not expected to see out Christmas.

“After 6 months of no revenue and gigs out to at least March 2021 still in doubt, we are almost out of time for a solution for these businesses,” comments Select Music CEO Stephen Wade, the Interim Chair of ALMBC.

The live sector has been “uniquely impacted” by the health crisis, he continues, and the role of live music “cannot be ignored as part of the roadmap to getting the country back to good commercial and mental health. But if live music businesses don’t make it through the knock on for the entire music industry and wider national consciousness will be immense.”

Stephen Wade

The federal government’s stimulus and support packages, though warmly welcomed, hasn’t reached many of those in need.

Only 17 percent of ALMBC members are expect to benefit from the RISE package, and just 4.4 percent of members are expected to qualify for the Show Starter loan, the report finds.

“You can’t remove two-thirds of businesses from an ecosystem and not have a flow-on impact to all the other businesses in the chain,” notes Wade.

“When the ecosystem collapses, it’s the artists, the public, our culture and way of life that will ultimately pay the price.”

The looming economic disaster is affecting mental health. The ALMBC survey found the crisis has impacted the mental health of more than 88 percent of members, with one-third of its membership already accessing professional mental health support.

Meanwhile, music industry charity Support Act reports a 52 percent rise in people connecting to its Wellbeing Helpline since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.

support act Cerisa Grant

Established in July, the ALMBC has grown quickly as the live industry looks for answers in these tough times.

At last count, the Council boasts more than 600 small-to-medium-sized Australian businesses among its members, representing over 30,000 employees across agencies, venues and small promoters through to ticketing companies, poster businesses and more.

Its membership directly contributes over $300 million to the Australian economy.

Read more here.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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