COVID-19 Pushes Australian Music Industry to the Edge


Concert Audience- Photo Credit

Grace Flynn, Reporter

After the federal government’s ban on mass gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the live music industry has been pushed to the brink of collapse.

On the website, ilostmygig, the Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festival Association have recorded a total income loss of $150 million from cancelled events.

The site estimates that around 65,000 job opportunities in the creative industries have been lost to recent public health measures.

While music festivals like Touch Bass, Splendour in the Grass and Castaway have been postponed until later this year, other events like GTM (Groovin’ the Moo) have been forced to cancel altogether.

The CEO of West Australian Music, Mike Harris, believes the future for Australia’s live music industry is dire.

“We’ve seen people who had a healthy, normal income up until Friday that have shut their business doors as of Monday and sacked all their staff,” he says.

“Now live music has stopped overnight.

“Recorded music is still not returning any more or less than it did a week ago, so the music industry is in a critical position.”

In the wake of COVID-19, the peak body for Australia’s live performance industry, Live Performance Australia (LPA), has called for an $850 million stimulus package to save the $4 billion industry from collapse.

The LPA has also urged for greater national clarity around the estimated timeframe for the public health response to the virus, so the industry can anticipate when they will resume operations.

But, what is clear is that the live performance industry won’t be operating anytime soon – the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has predicted the pandemic will likely span more than six months.

Support Act, a charity for music workers, has responded to the crisis by launching a COVID-19 Emergency Appeal.

Although live shows will be off the cards for some time, Mike Harris says the making and distribution of music in Australia is not going away.

“It’s going to be a different paradigm,” he says.