Though it can be hard to effectively calculate the impact that a global pandemic like COVID-19 has had on the world at large, exceptional efforts have been made to document the losses felt by the Australian music industry.
While it feels as though every second bit of information we receive relates to news of gig cancellations, travel bans, or events being postponed, it can often be easy to overlook those whose incomes and livelihoods depend on the music industry’s continual operation.
Over the weekend, a new website sprung up called ilostmygig, thanks to the folks at the Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festivals Association. As one would expect, it exists to document the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on local musicians.
Boasting the industry support of heavyweights such as APRA AMCOS (APRA), ARIA, Live Performance Australia (LPA), Support Act, Sounds Australia, Australian Independent Record Label Association (AIR), and many more, it’s become an invaluable resource for impacted individuals to not only explain how they’ve been affected, but seek the support they need at the current time.
While the website also offers an opportunity for individuals to offer help to those affected, it also allows users to not only share their own story, but to document just how hard these cancellations have hit them.
“I am a freelance stylist, set/prop designer, art director and event stylist,” wrote Jacqueline from NSW. “I work across these jobs on a freelance and contract basis. Due to COVID-19, events have been cancelled and shoots have been postponed therefore I am left with no income for the foreseeable future until these industries pick up, if they can come back from this.”
“We run a small business supplying technical equipment and production management services,” added Andy from NSW. “We have 7 full-time staff and a huge pool of freelance staff that we work with week-to-week. We’ve lost basically all of our upcoming gigs with more to come this week.
“We’re desperately trying to find a way to stay afloat and keep our staff employed. We’ve been hit with some really big challenges in the past few months, but nothing like this could have ever been expected.”
While these stories are heartbreaking, the financial impact is just as shocking, with the total value of lost income recorded by the site exceeding a massive $100m.
“Since late Saturday afternoon, $100 million in lost income has been reported by small to medium businesses and independent contractors working in the creative industries,” a press release from the site explained.
“The ilostmygig Australia site estimates that 65,000 job opportunities have been lost and over 380,000 people have been impacted, numbers that will only rise as isolation measures continue.
“The music industry is in crisis and as uncertainty rips through it and its ancillary industries, urgent help is needed to stave off devastating job losses and irreparable damage to the sector.”
Of course, while these numbers are monumentally high, it’s worth noting that these are only the figures that have been recorded, and in no way represent the total value lost by the industry.
In fact, following the postponement of events such as Splendour in the Grass, and the cancellation of festivals such as Groovin the Moo, we can only assume that these figures will continue to grow until some sort of relief is experienced by the industry.
If you or someone you know needs help in this trying time, there is help available, with the Support Act Helpline reachable at 1800 959 500, and the Lifeline Hotline on 13 11 14, or text their helpline on 0477 13 11 14.