Some absolute legend wants to convince businesses to use songs by Aussie performers as hold music and I’m absolutely here for it. Give me the entire Genesis Owusu discography next time my internet carks it, thanks.
The petition was created by booking agent Karen Eck after she was on hold for seven hours (7) with Qantas listening to the same 15-second royalty-free tune. Alexa, play When It All Falls Apart by The Veronicas.
“I actually didn’t have a problem with that but it was the 15-second snippet of the same instrumental on loop that literally drove me a little loopy,” she told SBS News.
The proposed plan would not only make the experience of being hold for hours into the night more tolerable but would also help promote local acts and keep them paid.
According to a national survey by the performing arts recovery group I Lost My Gig, there have been at least 28,000 gigs and events cancelled since the 1st of July 2021. Up to 99% of people in these jobs have had no income protection or event cancellation insurance, and the industry has lost roughly $16million each week. Oof.
Just 7% of people working in the live performance and event scene have been able to continue to work at pre-pandemic levels since COVID-19 first hit our shores. But, as Melbourne-based musician from Baby Velvet Hannah Crofts said in an I Lost My Gig report, it’s the latest lockdowns that have hit the hardest.
“After 16 months of cancelled gigs and reduced capacity-shows, this latest round of lockdown has truly hit the hardest,” she said.
“What the general public, and the government, don’t realise is that I don’t just lose work for the weeks we are in lockdown but the devastating ricochet effect it has on my career the following days, weeks and months. All but one of my shows have been cancelled for the remainder of the year – it’s crushing both professionally and financially and hard for all musicians around me to see a path forward”.
So, you can see why people like Eck are pushing for this.
“I think it’s space that’s wasted and we can be using it more effectively,” she told SBS News.
“I’d love to be hearing more emerging and established artists on calls – who wouldn’t? It sounds like a no-brainer!”
“Like many artists, the Australian music industry has been on its knees during the pandemic,” she added in the petition.
“One smart solution is for Australian corporations to give local musicians a platform to showcase their original songs to their customers waiting on the phone for an operator to answer.”
Eck’s campaign may be directed at Qantas but she hopes it becomes a new general standard across all big businesses. The organisers have reached out to APRA AMCOS, who handle the licensing of Australian music, as well as Service NSW, The Federal Government’s Minister for the Arts, Paul Fletcher, and NSW Minister for Customer Service and Digital, Victor Dominello.
The Australasian Performing Rights Association said in a statement that they support the petition: “We encourage the use of more local music across all mediums and channels and consumers, encouraging music on hold fees being shared to more Australian music creators.”
PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Qantas for comment. In the meantime, catch me playing every song by Hiatus Kaiyote for the next *checks notes* unforeseeable hours on hold.