In June, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre released an extensive report which detailed why Australian musicians were one of the hardest class of workers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. From their interviews with over 600 musicians, the Making Music Work Industry Report document revealed that because most Australian musicians are self-employed or in some form of temporary employment, live performances make up the bulk of their income and with the entire performance sector impacted by this, most of their income as fallen as a result.
“The most common reasons for leaving the music industry were financial stress, lack of income and caring responsibilities – all of which have since been exacerbated by the pandemic,” says Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre Director Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet.
NME Australia has reported that as of April 7, over $330million in income has been lost according to “I Lost My Gig Australia”, a site dedicated to tracking the creative industry workers’ financial losses from cancelled events in Australia.
In order to tackle such challenges, Australian artists are brainstorming and launching new schemes to manage the losses in revenue streams.
Local Sydney indie-rock band Heart of Mind spoke to Triple K news to discuss how the pandemic has affected them.
“COVID-19 has disturbed our flow as a band” says Rowan, saxophone and guitarist of the band. “While it hasn’t hindered our ability to compose music, it’s made the collaboration piece a lot harder.”
“Our method for composition is very collaborative with a member of the band creating an idea and bringing it to the group to ‘jam’ it out and feed musically off each other.”
Lead singer of Heart of Mind, Adam has said that the band is slightly optimistic about the future of the music industry in Australia, although have noted the unspoken clarity when it comes to how much streaming services like Spotify can support musicians.
“We have been writing and recording and have 4 new songs to release,” says Adam. “Performing live is a the best way to help release a song by creating engagement and hype over a song and marrying it with an event.”
“It’s hard to say what the future will look like.”
“The most common question I get asked from people is “are you on Spotify” comments Rowan. “Adding your music to the biggest music library in the world provides fantastic opportunity for your music to be heard internationally.
“The issue with Spotify is the revenue for each play that the artist receives is minimal. Streaming services have forced musicians to focus on touring, sponsorship and merchandising for an income, not sales of music or streaming revenue. It is a necessary part of getting your music out there, but I feel there is minimal financial support.”