Aotearoa music industry support for artists during lockdown

updated By Bronson Perich
Crowd of concert-goers at One Love 2020 in Tauranga - Photo / File

The Aotearoa music industry came to a sudden standstill due to the COVID-19 lockdown. With venues closed and gigs cancelled, musicians have been looking at alternative ways to make ends meet.

This morning, industry leaders met online to discuss how our local musicians can continue their mahi through these difficult times. This is also ahead of NZ Music Month in May which celebrates its 20th anniversary.

APRA AMCOS, the national body in charge of collecting and distributing royalties, is working on a deal with Facebook.

The deal hopes to ensure that when their membership musicians perform live on Facebook, that royalties can be collected and paid.

Victoria Kelly, APRA AMCOS director of member services announced an early payday for their members, 

“We are also going to be bringing forward the live performance royalty payment which normally happens in November,” Kelly says.

The rationale, she explains, is to get as much money to musicians as possible now as they have would have little or nothing coming in during lockdown.

Āwhina Puoro, or Music Helps, has announced a COVID-19 Emergency Grant to provide assistance to NZ music people affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Musician manager Wynn Boss (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Tainui, Ngāti Wai) says he is optimistic that online streaming will be a viable moneymaker for artists. Closing the borders, he says, is an opportunity for the Aotearoa music industry to thrive.

He adds, that Māori artists will benefit long term but emphasised that musicians take action now and that there needs to be a clear industry strategy.

“Māori artists will thrive now. Streaming means that we’re all equals now,” Boss says.

The industry is calling for the nation to support local which can be done in three ways: By buying their music, watching their online performances, and attending their live gigs as soon as the lockdown stops.