Music Industry Truthbomb

This week’s news feed has been jammed with blogs about Don’t Kill Live Music.

I’ve been swamped with petitions, rallies, protests, threats and lots of outrage.

Here we go again. Lock Out Laws anyone?

After a lifetime in the Music Industry as a performer, event manager, agent, artist manager and with 13 years of producing one of Australia’s largest community Music Festivals under my belt, I am perfectly positioned to join this fight.

The NSW Government have done the wrong thing. They should be consulting the Industry. 100%

But there is no way I can support any protest that tags itself as Don’t Kill Live Music.

Just look at the language. Don’t Kill Live Music. Fuck off! I’m not allocating ownership of MY business in this industry to a government.

No frigging way! By saying Don’t Kill Live Music you are literally begging an external entity to keep your business and your market alive. You have given your power away. You have already lost the fight. It’s your business. It’s your market. Why have you handed the responsibility and the power to keep it alive to someone else? It’s yours. Own it. Starting with the words Don’t Kill Live Music sets you up as the victim. You are not a victim. You are the only ones in the driving seat of your business and your market. Take the wheel. Stop waiting for a hero to swoop in to save you. Save yourself.

By this point, I’m sure the trolls are circling. ?

Let’s look at what is really going on here.

Five festival goers died at recent NSW Music Festivals. As a response, the NSW government has increased the requirements for safety standards in an attempt to mitigate the risks of future deaths. This then will translate to incredibly costly additional security, police, first aid and safety measures needing to be taken for Festival Promoters across the state in order to satisfy the licensing requirements. It will be almost impossible for Promoters to recoup these costs with ticket sales.

Result: Many Music Festivals will not continue to operate as they do now.

Result: Potential for economic impact due to loss of income for Artists and other Festival Service businesses.

Result: Those selling and taking the drugs that caused the problem in the first place will simply move their operations to other unregulated environments. And if these audiences want live music, they will organise it in other formats and mediums.

Result: The culture of attending a Music Festival as a means of listening to Live Artists will shift.

Result: The opportunities for Artists to promote their brands and leverage off their Festival gig will be minimized.

So are we saying that the Music Industry is so dependent on Festival Promoters investing in the culture of audiences going out and seeing live music at their venue, that without Music Festivals, Live Music is dead?

Before we answer that question, let’s look at some stats.

According to there are 346 Music Festivals in Australia.

According to, there are 6807 hotels in Australia.

According to, there are 6500 community clubs around Australia.

According to, the population of Australia stands at 24,976,103 in 2019.

According to, the conservative breakdown of live music attendance in Australia showed 2% attended Festivals, 13% attended concerts, 21% went to ticketed events and 64% saw live music at no cost with this cost being paid for by Hotels and Clubs around the country.

So let’s establish the mathematics of the Australian market. In a potential music buying public of 24,976,103 — that’s people that could buy a ticket to a show or download or stream your music, or whose parents or children could on their behalf, according to the latest Music Industry data, in the year of the survey, approx. 499,522 people attended Festivals in Australia across 346 events.

Imagine that eventually, all Australian state governments will employ the same licensing requirements of higher safety standards. This would mean that the approx. 499,522 people who constitute 2% of the market, by NOT going to Music Festivals, will, if you believe the Don’t Kill Live Music campaign, kill the Australian Music Industry.

There are 24,467,581 other people in Australia that are potential music customers. Consider the 15,952,736 people in Australia who enjoyed live music across a possible 13307 Hotels and Clubs? They are already engaged with Live Music. That’s already 15,453,214 more people than attend Music Festivals before you even start to engage the remaining potential 9,014,367music consumers.

With these numbers in mind, why do people go out to Festivals, Hotels, Clubs and Special Events? Primarily, they go out to eat, drink, play pokies and socialise. But ultimately what they want is to connect with other people and to feel something different.

The spouse, the job, all the crap of life that drags us down — we don’t want to feel that sh*t. When we drink Alcohol or use substances like depressants or stimulants or hallucinogens, chemicals are released, and our minds and bodies feel different. Our perception is altered.

Altered perceptions are what we seek and are what is marketed to us to attract us to buy tickets to Festivals or hang out in Pubs and Clubs. Research shows that it is music that holds the keys to your body’s pharmacy. A new study by researcher Jacob Jolij and student Maaike Meurs of the Psychology Department of the University of Groningen shows that music has a dramatic effect on perception. (1) When you experience an emotion while listening to music, your ancient reward circuits are flooding your brain with dopamine — a feel good neurochemical that is designed to make you feel good.

When you go to a live Music show, you get to feel the vibrations of the music in the air around you. There is an energy exchange between the instrument, the performer and the audience that you don’t get in a recording.

We spend so much time living through our screens — mobile phone, apple watch, iPad, Laptop, Television. Leaving your room and your house to move your physical body into a different environment where there are other physical bodies just like you, where you collectively connect to each other while connecting to the live performers on stage is one of the most effective ways of changing your physical state. Your thoughts are created in your brain, and your brain is a part of your body, and your brain runs on neurotransmitters. The higher levels of dopamine, and gamma-Aminobutyric acid, and serotonin you have, the better you feel. Recreational use of booze, opiates, sedatives, cannabis, solvents, amphetamines, ecstasy, coke, hallucinogens, benzodiazepines or even painkillers can make you feel better but only for the short term and with a whole catalogue of side effects that come along for the ride.

Going to see a Live Music Show gives you that same high, just without the cost. ? (2)

Let’s go back to the Music Festivals were five people died recently. I want to talk about who is actually responsible for the deaths of those five people.

They are. 100%. They made the decision to take those drugs knowing the potential risks. Why not blame THEM for the death of Live Music?

Lock Out Laws. Whose fault was that? The dickheads who drank themselves into such oblivion that they placed themselves and others into unsafe situations where young people were killed in senseless acts of violence. Why not blame THEM for the death of Live Music Venues in Sydney?

Truth bomb. In Australia, the music industry IS kept on life support by Festival, Hotel, Club and Special Event promoters. The sales environment is the venue. The product is alcohol. The promoter brand marketing strategyis to leverage off the live music brand for the specific target market.

I see this current situation as the greatest opportunity in the history of the Music Industry in Australia. The loss of a 2% market sector isn’t enough to kill this industry. Instead of focusing on what you think you will lose, why not focus on creating products to sell to the huge potential target market of 24,976,103 to build the industry? Substance abuse is an inherent by product of our culture thanks to a societal conditioning of accepting the relentless long-term consumption of pharmaceutical products in order to feel better. The insanity of a society that condones large scale medication consumption on one hand yet complains about a raging underground recreational drug culture on the other is mind blowing. A cultural shift from buying one altered perception to another — that of Live Music — would surely be a project that we all work on together. Life in a digital age enables us to be our own promoters, our own media, our own publicists and marketeers. Why not leverage the f**k out of our incredible catalogue of resources and focus our time and energy on creative long-term solutions rather than lose it on a fight with an entity that has no intention of budging from its position. For 2%? I’d rather fight to build the other 98%.

We are all about to go on a journey, We are the ones we have been waiting for!

  • Thomas Banyacya Sr. (1910–1999); Speaker of the Wolf, Fox and Coyote Clan
    Elder of the Hopi Nation

Leave a Reply