Touring just became a lot easier for touring artists with airline Virgin Australia announcing a new initiative aimed at addressing the ongoing problems musicians face when traveling with musical equipment.
After discussions led by national body The Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), Virgin Australia have made an offer exclusively to the music industry that includes a baggage allowance of 32kg (across three pieces of checked baggage) for individual artists – with an additional 32kg able to be purchased in advance for just $15. Bands will also now be able to ‘pool’ their baggage allowance across their travelling group.
‘’Victorian musicians have been hampered by recently imposed prohibitive baggage policies,’’ said Music Victoria CEO and AMIN director Patrick Donovan. ‘’We commend Virgin Australia for taking these concerns seriously. It’s not just about reduced excess baggage fees; it’s about not treating musicians as second class citizens. By being able to access the Group Bookings system, they are being afforded the respect they deserve.’’
Q Music Executive Officer and AMIN Director Denise Foley says the agreement will have a major impact on the ability of Australian artists to tour more often and more cost effectively.
“Dealing with high and inconsistent excess baggage charges has been a burning issue across the music industry for many years,” Ms Foley says. “And Virgin Australia should be congratulated for having the willingness to not only listen to the industry’s concerns, but actually putting in place a system that addresses the problem. The impact of this new deal for artists will be significant and ongoing.”
Virgin Australia’s Group Executive (People) Richard Tanner – who made the announcement at the official opening of Brisbane’s BIGSOUND music industry conference tonight – says working more closely with the music industry was a natural fit for the airline.
“Ours is a brand that has a long and historic association with music,” Mr Tanner says. “It has been a pleasure to work with the industry to develop a solution that will deliver real tangible benefits to Australian artists on a daily basis.”
While the discussions have been led by AMIN, a range of key music organisations from around the country have played a key role in the development of the new deal.
They have included the Association of Artist Managers (AAM); Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR); The Australasian Performing Right Association : The Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA:AMCOS ); Live Performance Australia (LPA); Music Council of Australia (MCA); and Symphony Australia – alongside AMIN’s member organisations Queensland Music Network; Contemporary Music Services Tasmania (CMST); Music NSW; Music NT; Music Victoria and The Western Australian Music Industry Association (WAM).
The deal offered by Virgin Australia will be made available only to members of music industry organisations that elect to partner with the airline – the complete list of organisations will be announced over the coming weeks.
Ms Foley explains: “That approach will encourage artists and industry to become more actively involved in the many not-for-profit music organisations doing amazing work within our sector across the country.”
More details will be announced in the coming weeks and available at www.amin.org.au