In less than 5 days, the music scene has turned to shit, only this time, we can’t point fingers at anyone in particular (debatable I know, but hear me out), we just need to accept that things are going to be tight for a few months and we all need to come together to do what we can to help those close to us in need… the arts/music industry!
Australian politics is cooked. I know this, you know this and there’s going to be a shitload of people left out of pocket while this pandemic gets sorted, but one thing that we can do, as a community, is band together and do our part to help in any way we can.
Non-essential indoor gatherings over 100 people and outdoor gatherings for over 500 people are now banned and it’s looking like they’ll be banned for up to 6 months (not 100% locked in though) which will put a hold on anything fun for the foreseeable future if they do come into effect, however, what happens after the restrictions are lifted? Much like in Survivor (soz not soz I’m a huge fan of the show) we need to be thinking ahead and what our next move is once things start returning to normal.
It’s all well and good to live in the now and look out for ourselves, but there’s others who will most definitely need your help and support over the next few months… here’s a couple of suggestions that have been playing in the back of my mind for the past few days!
First of all, I noticed this social trend pop up overnight which is encouraging music fans to keep hold of their tickets to upcoming shows which have been postponed/rescheduled. The vast array of gigs which have had to be pushed back is insane (keep track of them here) but the one thing that promoters and venues have said is that the ones that can be salvaged WILL be coming back and they’re urging ticket holders to hold tight and avoid asking for a refund where possible. Those funds will be used to get the bands back down here once all of this blows over and we’re back to living a somewhat normal life again, however long and whenever that may be.
On that subject, I reached out to a few industry professionals to gauge their opinion on why it’s important for us to hold onto these tickets (from their perspective) and to keep our cool with show/gig expectations and this is what they had to say:
The music industry is the first to always put our arms around everyone else that is affected by natural disasters. We are a passionate, proud group and for the first time we are reaching out asking for assistance where possible. One very simple way is as tours are being rescheduled to simply hang on to your ticket. We understand this is not applicable to everyone when dates are rescheduled but if you can please hold on to your ticket and keep the money in the industry it would be most appreciated. A lot of people are potentially losing their livelihoods and careers during this period due to the growing uncertainty of how long these closures will be in place for. ALL tickets remain valid for any rescheduled tours for any promoter please remember that. Stay safe! Rock on! – Chris O’Brien (Destroy All Lines General Manager of Touring)
“Holding on to tickets for the rescheduled shows is a big one. While the ticketing money is obviously in safe hands, getting those tickets sold costs BIG marketing money, so when the rescheduled shows happen if we need to “re-sell” those tickets the marketing spend will also double, making tours harder… Otherwise I think the #1 thing is that everyone should take this twice as serious as they think they need to. The biggest thing everyone can do is ensure this thing dies as soon as possible so we can get back to normal, and the best way to do that is to minimize transmission and not take any unnecessary risks like traveling or going to see friends because you’re bored etc – Toby Bramley (AM//PM)
“I think the most key thing is telling the general public to be patient with all artists, venues + tour promoters about upcoming tours starting April 1st – September 1st. They are all dealing with high stress levels and only finding information out as it lands, just like the rest of you. We aren’t getting any warning before the general public so we’re in the dark just as much as the general public. Instead of asking for refunds and if the tour is cancelled, give them a week or two to work on potential reschedules.” – Ash Hull (Destroy All Lines/Greyscale Records)
Most gigs have been given a few months delay, which still gives you plenty of time to make plans and organise what needs to be done in order to attend still. I get financial hardships may come into effect for some people and this movement may not be for everyone, but if we can keep hold of what we have then you’ll not only be helping those who need our help the most now, but you’ll also still be able to enjoy yourselves when those bands finally make their way back to Australia towards the end of the year.
Support Your Fav Bands
This goes without saying, without shows and with music streaming barely giving the bands we love any sort of income, the next best move for us to keep supporting them is to buy up some merch! Once these strict conditions end, it’ll be a great chance for you to head out and flex off your new collections or threads knowing you’ve played a part in helping in some way shape or form.
But what can we do? What will really help a band out of this tight situation? Take some advice from a couple of the musicians themselves here:
“I think fans need to realise that if this epidemic goes on for the 6 months the government is suggesting, it’s going to be driving artists and their support network completely out of the industry. Please consider anything your favourite bands are doing that doesn’t put you at risk. If they’re live streaming, donate. If they releasing music, stream it. Buy their merch. Do not belittle them if they ask for a handout like many already have. If they’ve had to cancel mid-tour, insurance won’t be helping them out and the bills could be in the 10’s to 100’s of thousands, and then you need to consider that the income they were expecting from said tour probably needed to sustain them for the months to come. They’ll always pay their crew first and then cop the loss themselves.
Due to disruptions in supply chains it’s likely many albums will be announced without definitive release dates or will be delayed. This is completely out of anyone’s control, but if you get a chance to preorder something please don’t hesitate and be patient. Retail of physical albums might not even be a thing anymore once society regains normality so preordering couldn’t be more important than it is right now.
We are about to see a huge shakeup in our way of life. Technology will jump as a result, there will be more automation in daily life and how and where we buy goods is going to be altered. Please keep an open mind and most of all be compassionate. Lets rejoice that some are continuing to enrich our lives with art whilst so many things we took for granted are being taken away.” – Josh Smith (Northlane/Open Door Management)
“As of right now, we really don’t have a clear vision of how everything is going to be for our scene in the coming 6-12 months. If you still want to continue supporting as much as you can please take note of the following:
If you had a ticket to an upcoming show that’s been postponed, the best thing you can do for all involved is to hold on to that ticket, there are people working around the clock to assure that these events can still happen when all is blown over and safe for everyone. The last thing we want is to see a decline in numbers due to fear, no one will be going ahead with any shows unless it is 100% safe for everyone involved, we want to begin playing shows again as much as you guys want to attend shows again and it will happen in due time.
Grab some merch from your favourite bands, whether that’s digital or physical, Bandcamp recently just announced that they’ll be taking no income from current sales purchased on their site on Friday March 20, so if you need to fill up your iPod grab some tunes there.
Even writing to your favourite bands, mentioning them in your stories, anything positive to show the support goes a long long way in this harsh time we’re all experiencing. Let’s stick together and show the world why our scene is as good as it is”. – Sabian Lynch (Alpha Wolf)
If money is tight, completely understandable, don’t put yourself out if you can’t afford to, but get back on those streaming apps and have your fav Aussie artists blasting all day long. If you’re gonna be locked up in your own house, you’d wanna be comfortable and if the frustrations of the outside world are getting to you, just punch dance out your rage to some heavy music and calm yourself down… then have a nap!
On this subject as well, artists are also going to be thrown in this same category and there are a plethora of music photographers across the country who will also go without work while the shutdown of gigs is in place. If you have a fav OR if you see work featuring one of your favourite bands, don’t hesitate to reach out to the artist and see if their work is available for purchase. Create a safe, comfortable place at home with your fav things while you’re staying indoors and remind yourself what’s waiting for you at the other end of this!
Keep Your Fav Venues In Mind
On top of all of this, I’m genuinely concerned about some of our favourite live music venues across the country. Having to close up shop (at least until April 1st from some accounts I’ve seen) amidst all of this drama is going to put such a financial strain on owners and their staff without being able to operate like they used to. I reached out to a few this morning and the majority of them think this is the beginning of the end, unless there’s going to be some sort of government intervening when it comes to rent and operational costs etc
According to this morning’s PM addressing, there’ll be a stimulus package on the way for small businesses, but it’s unclear when these will be rolled out and who is eligible for them. More on that to come…
We’ll be monitoring this as best as we can over the course of the next few months and alert you all if there’s anything we can do to help. Crowbar Sydney & Brisbane have launched their Crow-Gnar Virus Fundraiser where you can buy a beer now and pick it up in 6 months time! More Details here
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Brisbane Venues, I haven’t personally come across anything for other states as of yet, but once again, I’ll keep you posted as soon as more comes through to us.
Everyone in the business should check out the website ilostmygig.net which is keeping track of the loss of income from cancelled events/gigs and the likes. So far, the tally has reached over $150 Million since the page was set up on Friday.
Total lost income from cancelled events: $150M
Now is the time to mention if you are experiencing financial hardship within the music industry, please get in touch with Support Act and have a chat. There are also plenty of services to talk to regarding your mental health during this difficult time.
Remember we’re all in this together and if you personally need a hand, all you need to do is reach out and ask, who knows who’ll be ready on the other side to help… Saying this next part loud and large for all to see and read:
If you or anyone you know needs help with their own mental well-being call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find your closest Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support Organisation on Google…
Words by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul