In a speech to the National Press Club, musician and author Clare Bowditch has called on the Federal Government to lend more support to Australian musicians, whilst also joining a growing number of calls to speed up the vaccination rollout. She read her speech, Music, Meaning & Money, during today’s NPC event.
As reported by the ABC, she spoke on a range of issues currently hindering the live music space from functioning, including how small business owners in the entertainment sector are being stifled, the hypocrisy of the government allowing Olympians to jump the vaccine queue, but not musicians, and the discrepancies in crowd sizes between sport and music events.
Bowditch cited her own streaming service royalties as proof of just how reliant musicians are on touring for income. She said that monthly, she takes home about $12.50 of streaming royalties. On that note, she said that touring is how she makes most of her income as a musician. She spoke on touring being the livelihoods of many, saying that musicians and around the 100 or so crew and support workers she would hire for any one tour, are really relying on the success of the vaccine roll-out.
“Because until it is, we can’t get our jobs back. Many people don’t realise that.”
She compared the vaccine queue-jumping Olympians to some of Australia’s most successful musicians, some of whom are attempting to get overseas for tours and festival appearances.
“We’re talking about a collective $88 million of potential revenue over just a short period of time,” she said.
“Nobody wants any favours. But I am telling you, if you are looking for vaccination ambassadors, they are good looking and popular, OK?”
In the state of Victoria where she resides (prior to this current outbreak of Covid-19), live music venues had been operating at 30-50% for months.
The MCG was raised to 85% in April from 75% the month before.
“If your medical advice is to keep the rules the way they are … we need a groundbreaking support package targeted specifically at live music industry,” she said.
“We have had this conversation before and we need to have it again. It is not our fault there are delays in vaccines and we accept you are doing your best but we ask you, look at that [those restrictions].”
She also spoke on the potential for the government to use musicians as a way to encourage the public to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
As it currently stands, less than 2% of Australians have been fully vaccinated.
“In order for our industry – the music industry – to get its feet back again, we do need a select number of Australian, as I said, ‘Olympians’, those people in our industry who are right at the cusp, who are bringing that income…,” Bowditch said during the question and answer portion of her appearance.
“It’d be incredible to get a few of those members of our industry out there in safe territories playing their music again. They have to get vaccinated before they go, so use those stories, you know?
“Every good product has a story of how it’s helpful – let us be helpful in that way. That’s just one example of what we could possibly do. But I think it’s just – you know – my appeal is ‘let’s get vaccinated’.”