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Now is not the time to turn off music's life support system

Media Published Thursday 21 January 2021
We call for the Australian Government to extend JobKeeper beyond March with the music industry remaining in lockdown.

"We are an industry in crisis,” said Dean Ormston, CEO APRA AMCOS in a statement calling for extended Jobkeeper support.

Live music and the event sector will be the last to return to 'business as usual'. "JobKeeper must be continued beyond March for those who work directly in the live music and event industry," said Ormston.

The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $15 billion per year in GDP and employing close to 200,000 highly-skilled Australians


We call for the Australian Government to extend JobKeeper beyond March with the music industry remaining in lockdown and unable to restart trading following a series of COVID-19 outbreaks, quarantine breaches and sudden state border closures.

“The constant wave of lockdowns and state border closures means that any local live music events and national touring is impossible to plan. Hospitality and tourism dollars generated from our sector remain stifled. We are an industry in crisis,” said Dean Ormston, CEO APRA AMCOS.

“The lockdowns are all completely understandable. But for live music, the last twelve months has been one of the most distressing and destabilising in living memory. It’s well documented by the Bureau of Statistics that arts and entertainment related industries have seen the largest pandemic business shutdowns.

“In March last year, musicians, artists and an entire industry ecosystem which is built around national touring and live performance was shut down overnight. Every live music venue or festival in a city, town centre or regional area is part of an intricate industry network that supports our industry. Sitting behind these venues and events is an army of musicians, technicians, promoters, agents, managers and industry professionals.

“In just two months JobKeeper ends which has been the single most important policy intervention by the government since the pandemic hit our shores. It has provided some certainty and helped keep a large number of individuals and businesses in the music industry on ice so they are ready to restart with new tours and events.

“The cycle of lockdowns is impossible to navigate and represents the biggest immediate issue for the Australian music industry providing uncertainty as to when live events can restart at any capacity.

“The Australian Government’s response package for arts and entertainment announced in June last year was a welcome intervention. $250 million in grants and loans to stimulate the restart of the live event sector – from theatre to concerts – with the employment of artists and crew at the heart of the package. But a restart can’t happen while state borders keep getting closed and audiences remain limited.

“The live music and event sector will be the last sector able to restart anything akin to business as usual. JobKeeper must be continued beyond March for those who work directly in the live music and event industry.

“This doesn’t just make cultural sense, it makes economic sense. The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $15 billion per year in GDP and employing close to 200,000 highly-skilled Australians. Australia Institute research has found that for every million dollars in turnover, arts and entertainment produce 9 jobs while the construction industry only produces around 1 job.

“We can’t afford to lose the skills and businesses of our sector. The result for Australia would be catastrophic,” Dean Ormston said.