The Aussie live music scene is in a tough spot thanks to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian live music scene is facing an unprecedented crisis. Venues are closing, musicians are dealing with a financial and mental struggle, and the path to recovery is uncertain.
The stats are pretty grim – almost a third of pre-COVID venues in New South Wales have waved the white flag.
According to APRA AMCOS’s annual report, the entire country has seen 1,300 small and mid-sized live music joints bite the dust, making up a whopping one-third loss for the sector.
It’s not looking good, with 85% of venues in New South Wales and 70% nationwide on the brink of shutdown without a quick infusion of funds.
The financial fallout is huge, and the frustration is real as the government’s targeted support falls short of what the industry desperately needs.
The pandemic has disrupted every part of life, but it has hit particularly hard for people whose livelihoods are tied directly to live music, an activity that is struggling to make a come back after the pandemic and every resulting lockdown 3.
Nowhere is this more evident than in New South Wales, where venue closures and musicians’ struggles are made worse by the lingering effects of the city’s 2014 lockout laws, which only got a bit of a breather in January 2020.
For those living and breathing live music, the pandemic has them rethinking their whole deal with the music biz who are feeling the struggle, dealing with an industry that, even on its best day, can be a mystery wrapped in a riddle when it comes to success.
Despite the challenges, there are some positive developments. The Aussie government is throwing $250 million into the arts and entertainment sector, with a chunk of that going to live music venues.
There’s hope in this initiative, covering everything from new events to supporting artists and musicians, not to mention the $20 million Live Music Australia program designed to get the live music scene back on its feet.
Even with these steps in the right direction, it’s clear that more needs to happen to keep the Aussie live music scene alive. The road to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, and the industry’s survival depends on continued and robust support from both the government and the public.