New survey findings predict many live music businesses won’t survive another six months
24.09.2020

New survey findings predict many live music businesses won’t survive another six months

Photo by Joshua Braybrook
Words by Kate Streader

Without further funding and support, the live music industry could be headed for collapse.

In August, The Australian Live Music Business Council conducted a survey of its membership base to anticipate what lies ahead for the live music sector. The survey results have now been revealed and the findings are grim.

The ALMBC, which represents over 600 small and medium enterprises within the live music industry, predicts that 70 per cent of live music businesses will not survive more than six months on the current cashflow and government support. This would mean the closure of over 400 businesses and an estimated 18,000 jobs lost.

Results from the survey also suggest that 30 per cent of live music businesses won’t last more than three months without additional support.

Of the businesses surveyed, 73 per cent reported a revenue loss of 75-100 per cent in the past since months. Further findings from the survey suggest that 69 per cent of music businesses have received no rent relief and 75 per cent have had no commercial loan deferral.

89 per cent of those surveyed reported negative mental health impacts resulting from the economic uncertainty surrounding the live music industry. Only 17 per cent of ALMBC members were expecting to benefit from the Australian government’s Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) package, with the majority of businesses  falling outside the eligibility criteria.

The live music businesses owners surveyed said, in order to survive, they need a clear roadmap for easing venue restrictions and reopening state borders, an extension of the JobKeeper program at the current rates, and a survival package that will provide critical cash flow to live music businesses.

“It is our urgent priority to find solutions for the 30 per cent of members who are not expected to see out Christmas – after 6 months of no revenue and gigs out to at least March 2021 still in doubt, we are almost out of time for a solution for these businesses,” said Interim ALMBC Chair, Select Music’s Stephen Wade.

“Our sector has been uniquely impacted by the pandemic and the role of live music cannot be ignored as part of the roadmap to getting the country back to good commercial and mental health. But if live music businesses don’t make it through the knock on for the entire music industry and wider national consciousness will be immense.

“You can’t remove 2/3 of businesses from an ecosystem and not have a flow-on impact to all the other businesses in the chain. Tours can’t happen without engineers, road crew, marketing staff & countless others. Venues & promoters need agents to book acts and essential skilled technical staff to deliver the live experience,” said Wade.