A new report by bank EY shows that Australia’s live music industry has lost AUD$23.6bn in economic output due to Covid-19.

‘The Economic Cost of Covid-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry’ shows that Australia’s live music industry was worth an estimated AUD$36.4bn to the economy last year. This year, that figure is down 65% to AUD$12.8bn.

Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry Forum has asked the Federal Government to urgently consider targeted support measures to support the sector.

The preliminary findings from the report, which will be released later this month, show that the sector supported 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2019, and forecast that in 2020 this will fall to just 43,000 full-time equivalent jobs if current restrictions on gatherings remain in place until the end of December.

LEIF, which represents Australia’s largest live entertainment employers, said that it is grateful for the support provided to the industry to date but added that the new data shows urgent ongoing and additional Government support is essential to prevent further job losses and lasting damage to the sector. LEIF has recommended industry specific initiatives that include:

  • Continuation of a JobKeeper-style support program for employees in the music industry until the live entertainment industry returns to normal operation and without the constraints of major restrictions
  • A moratorium on goods and services tax on live event tickets, following the precedent set in the UK
  • An industry-led Live Entertainment Business Interruption Fund underwritten by Government; and
  • A significant expansion of the RISE grant funding programme, with a particular focus on assisting commercial, non-subsidised live entertainment operators to deliver popular live events in COVID-safe formats.

James Sutherland, Chair of LEIF, said: “The Federal Government is understandably focused on jobs. This vitally important report shows that our sector, which normally supports 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs, has lost nearly two-thirds of those jobs this year.

“JobKeeper has provided a lifeline for our sector, but the prospect of it disappearing in March 2021 – when the industry is likely to remain massively inhibited by key pandemic-related restrictions – is of grave concern to all industry operators. For our sector to operate profitably we require venues operating at full capacity, unrestricted interstate movement, and open international borders without extensive quarantine. Without those necessary conditions, the outlook is truly bleak.