More than 3,500 music industry artists, workers, venues and businesses have signed an Open Letter to the Australian Government calling for it to extend the JobKeeper subsidy or provide direct industry support to thousands of vulnerable workers.

One of the ghost lights installed by the Sydney Opera House in each of its theatres during COVID-19 in 2020. Photograph © Daniel Boud

The music and live entertainment industries have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While live performance was shut down for most of last year, concerts and shows continue to operate in an uncertain environment of snap border closures and lockdowns. Recent weeks have seen the delayed opening of the Perth Festival, cancelled concerts for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and a postponed opening night for Victorian Opera’s The Sleeping Beauty.

New figures from music rights organisation APRA AMCOS show live music alone is operating at under four percent of pre-COVID levels, while a recent study conducted by RMIT of the music sector in Victoria revealed 58 percent of respondents are considering leaving the industry.

“Each time there is another COVID-19 cluster or a quarantine breach, any plans to trade again are halted. Musicians, sole...