The Brag Media
News October 14, 2020

Live industry’s outlook is ‘truly bleak’ without government action: Report

Live industry’s outlook is ‘truly bleak’ without government action: Report

The full extent of the health crisis on Australia’s live entertainment space is presented in a crushing new report, which finds more than two-thirds of professional jobs will literally vanish this year without government intervention.

Data gleaned from “The Economic Cost of COVID-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry” report reveals that the coronavirus will trigger a fall of 65% in the economic output of the industry, from $36.4 billion in 2019 to $12.8 billion in 2020, if tough restrictions on gatherings are kept in place by year’s end.

Crunch the numbers: That’s $23.6 billion in lost economic output.

The economic cost of Covid (via LEIF)

The sharp downturn is acute in the employment ranks, where 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2019 are projected to shrink to just 43,000 full-time equivalent jobs — for the loss of 79,000 positions — if the current rules on groups remain at the end of December.

It’s an unsustainable situation, explains LEIF, which represents Australia’s largest live entertainment employers.

The organisation today asks the Federal Government to urgently consider targeted measures to shore up the sector.

They include the continuation of a JobKeeper-style support program for employees in the industry for the foreseeable future; a moratorium on GST on live event tickets; an industry-led Live Entertainment Business Interruption Fund underwritten by Government; and a “significant expansion” of the RISE grant funding program, with a particular focus on assisting commercial, non-subsidised live entertainment operators to deliver popular live events in COVID-safe formats.

James Sutherland

“The Federal Government is understandably focused on jobs. This vitally important report shows that our sector, which normally supports 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs, has lost nearly two-thirds of those jobs this year,” comments James Sutherland, Chair of LEIF.

“JobKeeper has provided a lifeline for our sector, but the prospect of it disappearing in March 2021 – when the industry is likely to remain massively inhibited by key pandemic-related restrictions – is of grave concern to all industry operators. For our sector to operate profitably we require venues operating at full capacity, unrestricted interstate movement, and open international borders without extensive quarantine.”

Without those “necessary conditions,” he continues, “the outlook is truly bleak.”


The preliminary findings of the report were revealed by Matt Colston, EY’s Associate Partner for Sports, Events and Venues Consulting, Wednesday morning (14th October) at The Event Summit 2020.

The session followed with a Q&A with Sutherland, TEG CEO Geoff Jones and Live Nation’s President of Live Nation Asia-Pacific, Roger Field.

When live entertainment industry does badly, Australia loses, Jones noted.

“Almost all of our revenue disappeared overnight when COVID-19 restrictions closed down the industry in March,” he explained, “and while the return of sport with limited capacities has offset some of that impact in EY’s figures, for commercial live entertainment operators both large and small, revenue in September/October remains at no more than 10% of 2019 levels.”

Geoff Jones

Geoff Jones

LN’s Field adds, “We are a very self-sufficient industry; however, we need the support of Government in respect of losses incurred due to interruptions caused by the imposition of COVID related restrictions. This small safety net would allow us to get back to investing in our events and communities as we return safely and responsibly.”

Unveiled in June, LEIF unites the live music and sports industries as a working group to tackle the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Decades of competition and rivalry has been put aside for the common good, as leaders and industry stakeholders from TEG, Live Nation, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, AEG and more lined up for LEIF’s executive committee.

Roger Field

Roger Field

Last month, the Australian Live Music Business Council published the first-ever survey of its members. 

It proved painful reading.

The Council’s study found 70 percent of its members are predicting closure within the next six months, based on cashflow, or rather lack thereof.

And although the federal government’s stimulus and support packages were warmly welcomed, much of it hasn’t trickled down to those in need.

Just 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 ALMBC report found.

The “Economic Cost of COVID-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry” will be released in full later this month.

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

Related articles