The Coronavirus is leading Australia’s $4 billion dollar live performance industry to the brink of collapse. For the next six months, all music festivals shut down and all tours cancelled.

The virus has robbed artists, agents, publicists and managers of their livelihood.

And for promoters and media? Well they’re not only having all forecasted income vanish, they’re left holding the bag – with millions of dollars in bills to pay and no income to possibly pay them with.

One artist manager revealed to me in the space of three days, he lost over 1.5 million dollars in revenue for the handful of artists he represents. That would have represented $300,000 in commissions which he needed to pay his four full-time staff.

He asked me in a sober almost rhetoric tone, what do you think I should do?

Image of We Lost The Sea on tour in China
All gigs are off for the foreseeable future

On an economic front, the Australian government is printing billions of dollars in order to make sure investors in the stock market don’t lose their investments, and the housing market does not collapse.

The cost of this is seeing our Australian dollar fall, and a weak Australian dollar will hurt our music industry for decades after the virus passes.

A weak Australian dollar makes it harder for artists to export themselves. It will be obscenely expensive to tour internationally and fund a marketing campaign in other markets.

It will also make it near impossible for promoters to book international artists, meaning less festivals for punters. Less festivals means less opportunities for Australian artists to play and earn a living.

Eleven Music's John Watson
John Watson

Observing all this for The Industry Observer, I sat with the most respect artist manager in the country John Watson to unpack the most unprecedented times in the Australian Music industry, this is Fear At The Top. And we have never experienced fear like this before.

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