2020 will truly be one of those years we never forget. From disastrous, fiery beginnings to a world-shaking pandemic, the year has frozen industries in a way many of us have never experienced – or likely will again.
Earlier this year we spoke to Bob Geldof who called musicians the Pied Pipers of society, which is a claim that rings true. Artists and the industry built around them are often where people look to for hope, inspiration, and entertainment when they need it most.
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that this industry still has the power to enact positive change, not simply through the brute force of celebrity or cultural influence, but also thanks to a finely-tuned sensitivity to what the world needs to hear.
Backing the Crew
The Australian music industry, even at its peaks, relies on a class of generous do-gooders to keep the wheels spinning. Cash injections such as touring or recording grants are the most obvious examples, but there’s also a number of initiatives out there providing non-financial support and opportunities for less privileged artists, overwhelmed industry workers, and anyone else in need of a helping hand.
Most recently American Express announced a $1 million Music Backers Fund to be invested directly into the Australian music industry through a number of initiatives anyone can apply for. There are grants for businesses and artists for up to $50K, coveted studio time if you’re looking to record that next hit, and even a Nominate a Mate option for your chance to give $1,500 to a friend doing awesome work in the music space
Looking back to earlier in the year, Support Act and a number of similar charities launched emergency appeals in the face of a government who, let’s be real, wasn’t giving the arts community the time of day.
And of course, a thanks needs to be given to every fan who bought an extra piece of merch, held onto a rescheduled concert ticket, or bought a record when Bandcamp redirected their sales revenue directly to artists. Despite being unable to tour, indie and non-major label artists such as Lime Cordiale and Spacey Jane all achieved #1 ARIA albums during the pandemic. Not bad, huh?