Perfect Beat, Vol 21, No 1 (2021)

Pre-existing conditions: Precarity, creative justice and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Victorian music industries

Catherine Strong, Fabian Cannizzo
Issued Date: 28 Aug 2021

Abstract


Prior to 2020, while the music industries in the Australian state of Victoria were gaining in strength and were world-renowned in many respects, they were also characterized as a sector that runs largely on luck and public good will, where many places that had previously offered some security were eroding. This luck ran out in a spectacular fashion with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. This research, based on surveys and interviews conducted during the extended Victorian lockdown, describes the experiences and responses of music workers across the sector to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Banks’s concept of ‘creative justice’ is used to examine how the precarious nature of much music-related work prior to COVID-19 created a situation where workers were acutely vulnerable to a crisis of this nature, and where the harms they experienced during this time were compounded by how precarity positions them both financially and discursively. The understanding of precarity as a pre-existing problem in the industry discussed here makes it clear that although the pandemic was experienced as an unprecedented and unique event, the impact that it had on many in the music industries represented an exacerbation and continuation of already-existing issues. Suggestions from participants about how they can be supported in a rebuilding music sector show that questions of justice are forefront in their minds, and should be considered in decisions around rebuilding to prevent talent loss and maintain a diverse music scene.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £18.00 ) HTML (Price: £18.00 )

DOI: 10.1558/prbt.19379

References


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics). 2020. Labour Force, Australia; GM1—Labour Force Status and Gross Changes (Flows) by Age, Sex, State and Territory, February 1991 onwards. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/latest-release (accessed 18 November 2020).
Banks, Mark. 2017. Creative Justice: Cultural Industries, Work and Inequality. London: Rowman and Little.
—2020. ‘The Work of Culture and C-19’. European Journal of Cultural Studies 23/4: 648–54. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1367549420924687
Bartleet, Brydie-Leigh, Dawn Bennett, Ruth Bridgstock, Paul Draper, Scott Harrison and Huib Schippers. 2012. ‘Preparing for Portfolio Careers in Australian Music: Setting a Research Agenda’. Australian Journal of Music Education 2012/1: 32–41. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/54873/
Bartleet, Brydie-Leigh, Dawn Bennett, Ruth Bridgstock, Scott Harrison, Paul Draper, Vanessa Tomlinson and Christina Ballico. 2020. Making Music Work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians. Australia Research Council Linkage Report. Brisbane: Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University.
Bennett, Andy. 2018. ‘Conceptualising the Relationship between Youth, Music and DIY Careers: A Critical Overview’. Cultural Sociology 12/2: 140–55. https://doi.org/10.1177/1749975517750760
Brook, Orian, Dave O’Brien and Mark Taylor. 2020. Culture is Bad for You. Manchester: Manchester University Press. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526152152
Brunt, Shelley, and Kat Nelligan. 2021. ‘The Australian Music Industry’s Mental Health Crisis: Media Narratives during the Coronavirus Pandemic’. Media International Australia 178/1: 42–46. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1329878X20948957
Cannizzo, Fabian, and Catherine Strong. 2020. ‘“Put some balls on that woman”: Gendered Repertoires of Inequality in Screen Composers’ Careers’. Gender, Work and Organizations 27/6: 1346–60. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12496
Carr, Paul. 2020. Live Music in Wales: A Report for the Culture Welsh Language and Communications Committee. Online at http://livemusicexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/Paul-Carr-Culture-Welsh-Language-and-CC-Report.pdf (accessed 25 November 2020). 
Davidson, Peter, Bruce Bradbury, Trish Hill and Melissa Wong. 2020. Poverty in Australia 2020: Part 1, Overview. ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership Report No. 3. Sydney: ACOSS.
Davies, Karen. 2020. ‘Festivals Post Covid-19’. Leisure Sciences 43/1-2: 184–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2020.1774000
Duffy, Brook Erin. 2016. ‘The Romance of Work: Gender and Aspirational Labour in the Digital Culture Industries’. International Journal of Cultural Studies 19/4: 441–57. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1367877915572186
Fileborn, Bianca, Phillip Wadds and Stephen Tomsen. 2020. ‘Sexual Harassment and Violence at Australian Music Festivals: Reporting Practices and Experiences of Festival Attendees’. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology 53/2: 194–212. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0004865820903777
Gill, Rosalind. 2002. ‘Cool, Creative and Egalitarian? Exploring Gender in Project-Based New Media Work in Europe’. Information, Communication & Society 5/1: 70–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180110117668
Gill, Rosalind, and Andy Pratt. 2008. ‘In the Social Factory? Immaterial Labour, Precariousness and Cultural Work’. Theory, Culture & Society 25/7-8: 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0263276408097794
Glaser, Barney, and Anselm Strauss. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.
Gross, Sally Anne, and George Musgrave. 2020. Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition. London: University of Westminster Press. https://doi.org/10.16997/book43
Gu, Xin, Nevin Domer and Justin O’Connor. 2020. ‘The Next Normal: Chinese Indie Music in a Post-COVID China’. Cultural Trends 30: 63–74. https://doi.org/10.1080/09548963.2020.1846122
Hesmondhalgh, David, and Sarah Baker. 2011. Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries. London: Routledge.
Hunt, Margaret, Lisa Gedgaudas and Michael Seman. 2020. Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Music Industry in Colorado and the Denver Metropolitan Region. Fort Collins: Colorado State University.
Lefevre, Jules. 2020. ‘The Australian Music Festival Scene is Hanging by a Thread’. Junkee, 21 October. Online at https://junkee.com/australian-music-festival-scene/275194 (accessed 10 November 2020).
Martin, Josh. 2020. ‘Support Act and Association of Artist Managers Announce New Mental Health Program’. NME. Online at https://www.nme.com/en_au/news/music/support-act-and-association-of-artist-managers-announce-new-mental-health-program-2680563 (accessed 9 February 2021).
Morrow, Guy, and Brian Long. 2020. ‘The government says artists should be able to access JobKeeper payments. It’s not that simple’. The Conversation, 26 May. Online at https://theconversation.com/the-government-says-artists-should-be-able-to-access-job-keeper-payments-its-not-that-simple-138530 (accessed 12 February 2021).
Strong, Catherine, and Fabian Cannizzo. 2020. Understanding Challenges to the Victorian Music Industry during COVID-19. Melbourne: RMIT University.
Strong, Catherine, Fabian Cannizzo and Ian Rogers. 2020. The Victorian Music Business Career Life Cycle. Melbourne: RMIT University. Online at https://www.vmdo.com.au/career-paths (accessed 16 November 2020).
Taylor, Ian A., Sarah Raine and Craig Hamilton. 2020. ‘COVID-19 and the UK Live Music Industry: A Crisis of Spatial Materiality’. Journal of Media Art Study and Theory 1/2: 219–41. Online at https://mast-nemla.org/archive/vol1-no2-2020/COVID_19_and_the_UK_Live_Music_Industry.pdf
Threadgold, Steve. 2018. ‘Creativity, Precarity and Illusio: DIY Cultures and “Choosing Poverty”’. Cultural Sociology 12/2: 156–73. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1749975517722475
VanderStoep, Scott, and Deirdre Johnson. 2009. Research Methods for Everyday Life: Blending Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. San Francisco: John Wiley.
Warren, Samantha. 2020. ‘Good Vibes Friday: Reflections on Livestreaming during the COVID-19 Lockdown’. Dancecult. Online at http://dx.doi.org/10.12801/1947-5403.2020.12.01.05

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy