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APRA AMCOS to pay royalties for cancelled concerts

Oz collection society will compensate creators who had performances scheduled in Australia and New Zealand from October 2021 to February 2022

By James Hanley on 09 Feb 2022

Australia flag, Lachlan Fearnley

Australian collection society APRA AMCOS has announced it will pay members AUS$1.5 million (€940,000) in live performance royalties for concerts that were cancelled due to the latest Covid wave.

The initiative will compensate music creators who lost out on royalties from performances scheduled to take place in Australia and New Zealand from 1 October 2021 to 28 February 2022. It follows a similar initiative in 2020 when APRA AMCOS brought forward performance report payments from November to May.

“Just as it felt like things were starting to open up and live music was ready to kick off a successful summer season, the latest Covid-19 wave once again cancelled live events causing substantial financial loss and emotional strain to our members and the broader industry,” says APRA chair Jenny Morris. “The APRA board has approved this initiative so that swift action can be taken to support our members and pay them for the royalties they would have made from the live performances of their songs.

“When a gig is cancelled, many are affected financially, professionally and personally. But there is an intangible cost as well when our artists are unable to bring communities together, connect with their fans and when they miss out on the career development that literally can only happen on stage.”

The organisation is continuing its call on government to provide wider support to a range of businesses.

“APRA AMCOS is putting royalties into the pockets of our members for the performances they intended to play,” adds APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston. “They planned, prepared and practiced and through no fault of their own, once again they lost work and income.”

“The Omicron variant has significantly derailed the industry’s reactivation business activities and there is still an unknown around when we can put the pandemic behind us”

Members can submit claims for cancelled performances until 28 February, with payments to be distributed in March. The news provides a further boost for the live sector, days after an additional $80m performing arts package was announced by the New South Wales government.

“The Omicron variant has significantly derailed the industry’s reactivation business activities and there is still an unknown around when we can put the pandemic behind us,” said Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson. “This package will enable companies to keep shows on stage and people in work and provide much-needed business confidence to continue investing.

“The arts and entertainment industry is working hard to rebuild after two years of continued disruption caused by Covid-19. The additional $80 million for performing arts companies will support them through this very challenging time and the $5 million provided to Support Act will be gratefully received by many of our struggling artists, performers and crews, who have again been dealt a major blow just when the industry was getting back on its feet.

“We congratulate the New South Wales government on taking the lead, after consultation with industry, on measures to support the arts and entertainment industry through a very tough transition phase. We call on other state and territory governments to step up and provide similar support to rebuild industry and consumer confidence which has been shattered.

“We continue to call on the Commonwealth government to take action with targeted initiatives, the most urgent being a national insurance scheme and a skills and training package.”

Adding that the live entertainment industry contributed $36.5 billion to Australia’s economy in 2019, Richardson added: “The pandemic is not over and we still need to get through winter which may bring new challenges. The impacts of Omicron are being felt across the country. Now more than ever government support is needed to ensure the live entertainment industry can continue to play its part in the nation’s economic, social and cultural recovery.”




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