16 Mar 2020

Millions lost in music gigs in New Zealand and Australia

From Lately, 10:30 pm on 16 March 2020

A new website dedicated to measuring the impacts of COVID-19 on Australian and New Zealand live music, I Lost My Gig, reports $25 million was lost in a span of 24 hours and 84,000 jobs impacted as a direct result of cancelled events in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

MusicHelps, formally known as the New Zealand Music Foundation, offers artists based in New Zealand professional counselling and emergency financial packages when they experience illness, distress and hardship.

General Manager Peter Dickens says over the weekend the situation with Covid-19 has really hit home for the music industry.

Shapeshifter and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra celebrate the reopening of the Christchurch Town Hall

Shapeshifter and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra celebrate the reopening of the Christchurch Town Hall Photo: Bevan Triebels, Triebels Photography

“I think a a lot of the industry is really kind of stunned and looking around at the moment and working out how to make sense of all of this.”

There’s very little room for people in the music industry to absorb shocks, he says.

“This is a shock quite unlike anything else that anyone has ever really faced in the industry and it has broad reaching impacts for everyone across the industry; publishers, artists, roadies, live production crew.

"Everybody that has a part to play in live and recorded music is going to really need to batten down the hatches for a while.”

Dickens says in the short term, artists and small venues are being affected. In the medium term, the large-scale promoters and festivals will be impacted and longterm, it will hit home for some of the base organisations that support the industry; like broadcasters.

“It could go on for 12-18 months and I think that we’re all wondering, in that time, how much infrastructure we might lose, how many great people we might lose and how much knowledge and expertise we might lose from the industry.”

MusicHelps is currently liaising with all of the industry bodies throughout the different sectors in music.

“We’re wanting to react quickly and react effectively.”

There are currently a lot of initiatives reminding people how they can support artists and others in the music industry, Dickens says.

These are things like forgoing a refund if you’ve bought a ticket for a cancelled show, buying merchandise, requesting Kiwi music on your favourite radio station.

Whenever crisis strikes, the music industry is one that has a huge heart, he says.

“When it’s all over, make sure that you fill your calendar with shows and get back out there again.”