More than 3200 people have signed a petition calling on Woolworths to play more Australian music on its in-store radio.
The change.org petition is demanding the supermarket giant play 50 per cent local artists as a way of supporting a music industry devastated by COVID-19 lockdowns.
Petition founder Luke Hall, who is an employee at Woolworths, was inspired by Jack River’s successful campaign to get Channel 7 to feature local music in its Olympics coverage.
Hall says large corporations such as Woolworths claim they support home-grown talent need to do more.
“Their entire brand at the moment is to say, ‘Hey, we support Aussies, we support local’,” Hall says.
“All of the messaging they put out implies that they want to do that.
“They had one Aussie song come on when I was working the other day and they had a little thing come after it say ‘Woolies: Supporting local Aussie music’, and then I listened for the next two hours, and one more Aussie song played.”
Statistics from Radio Today show that Coles Radio is the No.1 digital radio station in Australia, with a cumulative audience of about 242,000 people across the five metro markets – Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.
With live shows halted for months at a time, the licensing revenue generated from regular in-store play serves as another source of income for musicians.
“Given the music industry can’t support itself with streaming and there’s not any insurance for artists that exists in every other industry, I think business support is an important piece to that,” he said.
“Businesses can fill the void.”
Hall recognises that the increased flow of customers into supermarkets due to lockdown restrictions could also serve as free advertising for struggling musicians.
“It’s pretty much the only place you can go at the moment, and the amount of times I’ve been at work or doing the shopping and heard a nice song, Shazamed it and thought, ‘Oh this is cool, I’ll listen to that later’ is such an easy way to make an impact,” he says.
There’s plenty of opportunities for there to be more partnerships between business and local artists.
The Federal Government’s failure to commit funding to the arts industry made corporations the obvious choice to target, says Hall.
“The way business works is they respond to what their customer base and the general public wants more than politicians do,” he said.
“The power of the dollar has more impact on business.
“It’s this particular space of music that’s underrepresented; it’s underrepresented in government funding and it’s underrepresented by the support it gets from business.”
A survey from I Lost My Gig Australia found that 32,000 gigs were cancelled from July to August this year alone.
The campaign’s Facebook page, Music in Stores from Our Shores, has more than 300 followers.