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Live music salvo from NSW Government arrives just in time

Media Published Thursday 25 March 2021

The NSW Government has today announced $24 million in funding for live music venues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement follows lobbying by APRA AMCOS, the Live Music Office and other industry colleagues

Research shows that live music provides $16 billion worth of economic, cultural and social benefit to the nation.

The announcement today from the NSW Government to inject $24 million to save live music venues is a welcome reprieve for an industry that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding will ensure the vital cultural and economic infrastructure of live music venues aren’t lost to generations of audiences across NSW,” said Dean Ormston, CEO APRA AMCOS.

“This announcement follows intense lobbying by APRA AMCOS, the Live Music Office and our industry colleagues and we welcome the support for the music industry from the Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Arts Minister Don Harwin, Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres.

“The music industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy and was the first to be shut down by the necessary regulations to deal with the health crisis facing the nation.

“Continual border closures and social distancing regulations in NSW has made restarting our part of the economy almost impossible and live music venues are all on the brink of permanent closure.

“APRA AMCOS data shows that live music has been operating at less than 4 percent of pre-COVID times. The risk for NSW without this package was not only the loss of valuable cultural infrastructure but also thousands of jobs that are supported by live music across the hospitality and tourism industries.

“APRA AMCOS has always argued that live music venues are the heart of the Australian music industry. From the smallest venues through to the largest stages in the state, live music venues are where local artists harness their craft, get their first breaks, earn a living and then travel the globe as a crucial cultural export.

“Every live music venue in a city, town centre or regional area is part of an intricate network that supports our industry. Sitting behind these venues is an army of musicians, managers, agents, promoters, crew, technicians, music teachers and many other industry professionals.

“This is why APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office worked intensely with the NSW Government in 2020 to overhaul the regulatory framework that was one of the worst in Australia for our sector to properly operate.

“The reforms in NSW are now viewed as global best practice for activating safe night time economies with live music and cultural activity at their heart.

“Research shows that live music provides $16 billion worth of economic, cultural and social benefit to the nation, with every dollar spent on live music providing three dollars’ worth of benefits returned to the wider community.

“This package, together with the regulatory reform last year, put the music industry in the front seat to help NSW emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before,” Ormston said.