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Promoters, venues and ticketing agencies have joined forces in Chile to propose measures to save the country’s live scene, which is set to lose up to $250m
By IQ on 03 Apr 2020
A coalition of Chilean live music industry professionals has presented a series of measures to economy ministers and the National Consumer Service to mitigate the damage being done to the business by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Representatives from Chilean promoters’ association Agepec (Asociación Gremial de empresas productoras de entretenimiento y cultura), independent music industry body (IMI Chile), ticketing agencies including Puntoticket, Ticketek, and Top Ticket, venues such as Santiago’s Movistar Arena and the Caupolicán Theatre have drawn up a report entitled “Urgent rescue plan for the live music industry”.
The coalition calculates that the shutdown of the live industry due to coronavirus, as well as the disruption caused by nationwide protests, which began in October and halted last month amid the worsening Covid-19 crisis, could result in the loss of $250 million and 160,000 jobs in Chile’s live industry.
The proposals put forward to the Chilean government include ensuring all tickets bought for events that could not be held are valid for the rescheduled events. “This is key as it is a question of stagnated cash flow with no return in sight,” states the coalition.
Ticket refunds have been a topic of debate recently in the live industry, with associations around the world proposing ticket vouchers be offered to fans, instead of cash refunds.
Other measures include the return of tax paid in advance by individuals or companies; an extension on payments of withholding tax (WHT) – that taken from an employee’s income and paid directly from employers to the government – for the next 12 months; an extension on payments for visas or work permits for the next 12 months; unemployment insurance for part-time workers; flexibility to repurpose funds dedicated to now-cancelled events; and emergency financial relief for small- and medium-sized companies in the creative sector.
“If it carries on like this, only a very few companies are going to survive”
Agepec general manager Jorge Ramírez tells La Tercera that the collective aims to generate conditions in which the majority of shows that have been postponed can still go ahead.
“We believe that we can get through this if we find the right tools and utilise regulatory opportunities and temporary tax breaks,” said Ramírez.
Speaking to IQ last month, Carlos Geniso, president of Chilean promoter DG Medios, said that many in the country’s live business were looking to reschedule shows until the final quarter of the year. Lotus Productions’ Lollapalooza Chile, set to take place at the end of March, will now take place in November instead. Fans were able to access the online Lolla en Casa festival on the event’s original dates last weekend.
The Agepec GM also states that there must be a “greater willingness to compromise” from all parties involved, including the fan. “We are faced with a situation of force majeure here, a catastrophe that removes the responsibility for the mutual provision of services,” adding that audiences have, in general, been understanding of the disruption.
According to Ramírez , the combination of the impact of coronavirus and the protests could lead to 70% of those working in Chile’s live industry to lose their jobs.
“If it carries on like this, only a very few companies are going to survive, and it will signal the end of competition in the sector and independents.”
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