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An estimated $47 million has been lost in Australian creative industries because of gigs and events cancelled due to the coronavirus

Sharon Masige
  • A website called I Lost My Gig has been set up in Australia to track how people from creative industries have been impacted by cancelled events due to the coronavirus.
  • This is the Australian version of a US wesbite of the same name.
  • On Monday, the website found independent contractors and businesses in creative industries have lost more than $47 million due to cancelled events.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The live music industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

A website called "I Lost My Gig" (ILMG) was launched in Australia as a way to determine how people from creative industries – including musicians and production staff – have been impacted by cancellations triggered by the coronavirus.

On Monday, it found that independent contractors and small businesses in creative industries have lost more than $47 million as a result.

The website was launched by the Australian Festivals Association and the Australian Music Industry Network after seeing the US version. In the US, it was set up to track the losses from arts and music festival South by Southwest being cancelled.

Here in Australia, the organisation found around 20,000 events have been cancelled, which has affected more than 190,000 people. And it believes that amount will only rise

Emily Collins, Managing Director and Chair of the Australian Music Industry Network told Business Insider Australia via email the figures from the site will be used to "advocate for our industry".

"We were hearing so many stories of artists and independent contractors having their gigs and work cancelled that we were worried about this impact going untracked," she said.

"We're trying to make sure that the impact of the COVID-19 on independents, freelancers, artists, performers and contractors is recorded and represented to government, and that we can make sure the community is aware of how this has impacted creative communities."

There have been several live music events cancelled or postponed during the coronavirus outbreak, some even before the federal government issued a ban on non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more.

These include Dark Mofo, Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, Download Festival and Groovin' The Moo. Not to mention other events held by creative industries like the Vivid Light Festival and The Sydney Writer's Festival which have also been cancelled.

The response has been "overwhelming"

An ILMG spokesperson said in a statement that the response has been "quite overwhelming".

"Many of the workers from the creative industries live contract to contract, and usually don’t have income protection insurance or significant savings," the spokesperson said.

"Often people supplement their work with work in the hospitality industry, and that too is suffering from the impacts of the bans. So we’re seeing many people losing several streams of income, all at once, with no safety net."

The spokesperson added that the responses came from a variety of people including comedians, musicians, production technicians, publicists, tour managers and make-up artists.

"The ripple effect will only continue as more events, conferences, festivals and shows are cancelled in coming weeks," the spokesperson added.

Collins said there have been more than 2,700 submissions so far, with the data representing an "estimated lost income in some situations". She added that it is indicative of the extent of the cancellations.

Several performers have been impacted

While the organisation hasn't been tracking specific industries, it has been keeping track of which subgroups and worker categories are being affected.

"From our respondents, 40% are performers and 23% are technical services (production, staging etc)," Collins said.

Australian pianist and composer Nat Bartsch said in a statement the worst part about this situation is the uncertainty.

"Not knowing whether the gigs you have next week are possible," she said. "Not knowing if the tour you have in July is possible. Not knowing when to even reschedule things for, if you have the opportunity."

Streaming service Spotify jumped on board to show its support for musicians impacted by cancellations, highlighting a Spotify playlist that features musicians from recently cancelled gigs.

According to the ILMG website, peak bodies for the industry are working together to come up with ways to support workers affected by events being cancelled. Some organisations are even meeting with the government on Wednesday to talk about emergency funding for these workers and companies.