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News December 17, 2021

As Omicron looms, music biz calls on Government for ‘essential’ insurance scheme

Senior Journalist, B2B
As Omicron looms, music biz calls on Government for ‘essential’ insurance scheme

The live music industry got a lump of coal in its stocking last Christmas. This year’s outlook is no different.

With the Delta, and now Omicron, variants threatening to put a downer on live entertainment for the foreseeable future, the music industry calls on the federal government and states to act immediately on an interruption insurance scheme.

Today (Dec. 17), the music industry presents a united front by repeating calls to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers for a government-backed insurance system, similar to those put in place in Europe, the U.K. and, recently, New Zealand, all of which were implemented at a national level.

There is precedent in these parts with the Temporary Interruption Fund, which supports local screen producers to start filming again in those situations where new projects have been halted by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over.  And for an industry still getting back on its feet, “investing nationally and working hard to get shows back on stage and touring, the ongoing threat of future business disruption is very real,” reads a joint statement from industry organisations AAM, AFA, ALMBC, AMIN, APRA AMCOS, ARIA, PPCA and LPA.

The call-out follows the announcement last month of a $20 million Live Music Restart package and year-long interruption insurance from Daniel Andrews’ Government, a support network set up to help Victoria’s events companies should snap lockdowns crush their plans.

According to data published by LPA, the live entertainment industry lost $1.4 billion in revenue in 2020 and the losses in 2021 are “significant,” given that the nation’s two major markets, NSW and Victoria, which comprise 60 percent of national business activity, are emerging from extensive lockdowns.

Live music and entertainment is “at the core of how our nation comes together – whether at the local pub or our biggest stadiums – a key driver of many other sectors and the heart and soul of great hospitality, travel and tourism experiences,” reads the open letter.

“It is essential that the live music and entertainment industry does not lose its capacity to operate due to any future venue capacity or border restrictions.”

Protecting the industry assets and skills base “is critical to ensuring we play our part in maintaining employment and bringing back economic and social benefits to our cities and regions,” the message continues.

“The industry calls on all levels of government to come together and establish a partnership approach with industry, delivering a government-backed insurance scheme and ongoing support.”

LPA’s 2019 and 2020 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report was a particularly bleak read.

In it, the peak body reports that its “Contemporary Music” category, which captures data from rock, pop and hip-hop concerts, posted revenue last year of $309 million, down 63% compared with 2019; and attendance of nearly 3 million, down by 65% year-on-year.

The health crisis is said to have “obliterated” the live entertainment industry, by draining $1.4 billion in revenue and reducing the sector by 70%.

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


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