Victorian study finds three in five workers considering leaving music industry due to COVID-19

The new report outlines the devastating impacts of the pandemic on the state’s music sector

A Victorian study has found that three in five workers – or 58 per cent of respondents – have considered leaving the state’s music industry due to the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, titled Understanding Challenges to the Victorian Music Industry During COVID-19, was released today (February 15) and contains survey results from 292 participants. As a joint research venture between RMIT University, the Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO) and the Victorian Office for Women, it uncovered some harrowing statistics about the pandemic’s impact on industry worker’s wages, job security and attitudes.

In addition to those considering leaving the industry, 80 per cent of respondents said even if they stayed in music, their involvement would look different post-pandemic. Almost three quarters of people surveyed reported that their income had decreased, while 57 per cent were concerned about being able to afford the basics, such as groceries and rent.


Just under half had lost their music industry work completely due to COVID-19, with the amount of people in full-time employment dropping from 34 per cent to a small 7 per cent.

Respondents also weighed in on what changes they’d like to see when the industry reopens, with key themes identified as improved working conditions, creating a more inclusive culture, increased funding and external support, and continued recognition for the sector.

“The survey also highlights that the pandemic has exacerbated and continued some already-existing problems within the Victorian music industry, including income security, discrimination and elitism as well as issues linked to location and demographics,” said RMIT University’s Doctor Catherine Strong.

“However, the consequences of the pandemic also enhanced some positive aspects for the sector, including greater community-mindedness, innovation, creativity and a commitment to music-making.”

The report follows on from a tough year for Victoria’s music industry, which is currently under its third stage four lockdown in 12 months.


The Victorian Government have announced multiple funding packages in response to the pandemic, including $16.8million arts relief package in April, a $17.2million creative industries package in November, and most recently, $8million to almost 130 artists, venues and businesses.