Australia: Marvel Stadium Pushes Ahead With Overhaul; Calls For Music Business Aid Amp Up
Marvel Stadium’s $225m Revamp To Continue
Despite post-COVID-19 economic uncertainty and the shuttering of the 2020 sports season, the A$225 million ($143.7 million) overhaul of Melbourne’s 20-year-old entertainment and sports venue Marvel Stadium will go ahead.
The 56,000-capacity venue in the Docklands precinct is owned by the Australian Football League (AFL). Performers there included Eminem, Taylor Swift, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi and Andre Rieu.
The $225 million renovation was confirmed April 2018 by Victoria’s government. The idea was to create a seven-day destination with a new waterside hotel, rooftop bar and ballroom, a wing expansion, upgrades around the venue and a new public space.
There were delays after the league parted ways with its chief architect, and this year COVID-19 caused the AFL to stand down 80% of its workforce, executives took a 20% pay cut and asked for a A$600 million ($383.3 million) loan.
With this announcement speculation that the project will be abandoned is hopefully squashed, with confirmation revised redevelopment plans are being drawn up. The result will be “the most fan-friendly multipurpose stadium in the world,” said AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
Music Biz Repeats Calls For COVID-19 Survival Package
About 100 music and arts associations repeated their call for a COVID-19 survival package from federal arts minister Paul Fletcher. The first was made late March for 2% of the $111.7 billion ($71,3 billion) of the sector’s value.
An A$27 million ($17.2 million) arts stimulus has already been delivered, but the business has repeatedly voiced this is not enough to cover the losses being sustained.
The latest open letter came after an April 23 opinion piece by Fletcher in The Guardian defending the government. He argued creative people were already catered for by the multi-billion dollar new initiatives for the wider community, Jobkeepers which paid companies to keep employees on, and the fortnightly payment Jobseekers for those who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
The sector argues many arts workers slip through the cracks of these schemes, which deemed ineligible those who supplement their income in universities and galleries.
The letter stated true investment was needed adding “We are running out of time, however, to address Australia’s… creative industry comprehensively.”
Signatories included the Association of Artist Managers, Live Music Office, Australian Festivals Association, Sounds Australia, Select Agency, Critical Stages Touring, Australian Music Industry Network and Electronic Music Conference.
Federal Judge Makes Finding In “Love Is In The Air” Trial
Sydney Federal judge Nye Perram found U.S. duo Glass Candy “flagrantly copied” parts of the melody and lyrics of John Paul Young’s 1977 global hit “Love Is In The Air” for their 2011 song “Warm In The Winter,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Harry Vanda and the late George Young who wrote “Love Is In The Air” (which reached #7 in the U.S. pop charts) claimed their moral rights were infringed by Glass Candy. Also named in the lawsuit were Kobalt Music Publishing and Air France, which used the U.S. song for an ad with the line “France Is In The Air.”
In a complex 122-page judgment, Perram dismissed infringement claims against Glass Candy and Air France and found Kobalt not liable for their actions. However, he maintained George Young’s estate Boomerang Investments Boomerang was entitled to damages for downloads of “Warm In The Winter”.
Auckland Venues Exceed Fund Raising Target
Two Auckland venues had their support for emerging talent rewarded. Whammy Bar and The Wine Cellar launched a Boosted crowd-funding to stay afloat during the COVID-19 closure, initially targeting NZ$50,000 ($30,000). However that was quickly exceeded, so the target was changed to NZ$100,000 ($60,198).
Among the 1,222 donors to date were major NZ acts as Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid and The Beths – all of whom got their starts there.
President of the New Zealand Promoters’ Association Brent Eccles is aiming at bringing local shows back in October.
Live Sector’s Emerging Guns Spotlighted
Many of the Australian live sector’s emerging guns were spotlighted in Sydney-based trade publication The Music Network’s 30 Under 30 Awards.
In the Touring & Live Performance category were Guven Yilmaz of Vita Music Group, Harry Moore of Lonely Lands Agency and Rachel Mason of TEG Dainty.
From Artist Management were Ellen Kirk of Look Out Kid, Kristie McCarthy of Lemon Tree Music and Rachael Tulloch of UNIFIED Music Group.
Michael McGahan of Live Nation made it into Sales & Marketing and Eamon McKenna of Eventbrite in Professional Services.
The Music Network editor Jake Challenor noted that winners of the inaugural 2010 list included Jaddan Comerford who went on to set up Unified a global artist management company, festival promoter and label, and Susan Heymann, now managing director of Michael Chugg’s touring and management company Chugg Entertainment.
Events Sector Forecasts $35.7b Loss In Next 12 Months
Figures from the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) show that the Australian economy will lose A$35.7 billion ($22.8 billion) in direct expenditure from the sector over the next 12 months. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, 96% of events are now cancelled or postponed in 2020, and 92,000 industry job losses expected by end of June.
Until the outbreak, the sector was growing at 6% annually since 2014.
The New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) estimated NZ$100 million ($60.1 million) of losses to date after 5,000 cancellations and 3,393 indefinite postponements and another 5,000 to follow in the next 12 months. Business events contribute NZ$0.5 billion ($0.3 billion) per annum to the economy.