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The Music Industry Loves a Bushfire Appeal

Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

The Victorian bushfires may be under control but the music industry is burning the images in our heads and emptying our pockets.

Sony hurried to drop a two-disc compilation entitled Bushfire Aid: Artists For The Bushfire Appeal on the shelves of all major record stores with the claim all the money raised will go to the Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal. The cover of the album is the image of that guy giving that koala some water. Tugging at the heart-strings much? And now Melbourne and Sydney will host a music festival called Sound Relief on March 14.

Seventy-five bucks a ticket to go see some bands to raise money for the bushfire victims. Midnight Oil will be reforming for the gig and Federal Arts Minister and singer Peter Garrett will be right up there on stage with the band doing his dancing that always looked to me like he was dancing on hot coals. International acts Kings Of Leon and Coldplay will be there along with locals Augie March, Hunters & Collectors, Split Enz, Kasey Chambers and pop-tart Gabriella Cilmi.  

Lots of money for the victims. Uh, how about less money and more, say, temporary kit homes? Perhaps some more hygiene supplies and clothes. Food would be good too. Money is good for buying stuff, apparently, but it takes time to convert all the money raised into things the people actually need. 

The public face of generosity is more important than the act of generosity itself. I wonder why we haven't heard about Sony employees being offered the chance to take a paid week off work and head to the charred remains to build a school? Why don't the musicians put down their instruments and help built temporary homes? How about music promoters, in this case Michael Chugg Promotions, paying for doctors and nurses to make sure the fire victims are healthy and to stop any chance of disease spreading throughout the tent cities, similar to the tireless work of NGO Medecins Sans Frontiers. Oh, and infrastructure anyone?

No, you won't see any of that. There's no run-off effect for the music industry that way and their brand won't be splashed all over the shop. Not only did global powerhouse Sony compile a bunch of songs they already own the rights to, they will have their own acts playing to thousands of people on the day. People who may very well become fans of the bands playing and purchase their albums - that's the run-off effect. Sony is affiliated with Kings Of Leon, Midnight Oil and Augie March while Michael Chugg Promotions already brought Coldplay to Australia for their tour so it doesn't cost them any money to bring someone else out. How Generous of the music industry. I wonder if all of the record labels represented by bands playing the Sound Relief shows will see an increase in sales? Probably. And where will those profits go? 

Well, the music industry is struggling at the moment what with waning record sales and internet piracy. Promoters are facing an impending drop in ticket sales as recession talk is getting people to rethink the purchase of luxury items like gigs. Let's hope we can help them both out. Oh, and let us all help the bushfire victims too. 

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