Singapore’s creative industry loses S$18.6M in lost work due to COVID-19

Singapore’s creative industry loses S$18.6M in lost work due to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has seen unprecedented ramifications for the creative industry. Music tours have been put on hold, major festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury have been cancelled, and events in Singapore with more than 250 people in attendance must be suspended.

The sudden dearth of events means a stoppage in the flow of income, and threatens to leave many—especially freelancers—in a financially precarious position. According to I Lost My Gig (SG), at the time of publication, an estimated total of S$18.6 million has been lost, with 1077 people affected and 3349 jobs lost. 

The website, which crowd-sources its responses and tallies them up to derive a rough gauge of the impact, is the local permutation of the original version from Austin, Texas, which was created for locals who lost work after the cancellation of SXSW. As of 15 March, I Lost My Gig (Austin) has recorded over 750 submissions, with a projected loss of USD$4,285,037.

The Australian counterpart, I Lost My Gig (Australia), was created soon after Austin's, and as of 21 March, recorded a total loss of AUD$300 million, with 599,000 people affected and 274,000 events cancelled. 

New Zealand version of the website was created on 17 March, although it seems to still be processing submissions. Estimations of the impact have yet to be published. 

In another 30-day Update Survey for Singapore's media freelance professionals, businesses and companies, which received 232 submissions as of 23 March, responses outlined the effect of the pandemic on jobs, the kind of support needed to alleviate the impact, and more. 

Image credit: Nicholas Chee from Sinema. Full post can be found here

What has been done to help so far?

The pandemic has also seen burgeoning efforts to relieve the impact on the creative sector. The Recording Academy and Musicares have set up a $2 million Covid-19 Relief Fund to aid affected individuals in the music industry, with Spotify reportedly "working to assist them through [the fund] to provide much needed assistance”. Netflix has also recently launched a $100 million fund that will be directed to affected individuals in the film and television industry, while Australia has come up with a national initiative, Sound of Silence (SOS), to support the music industry. 

Members of the creative industry who are struggling with th current situation can find a list of resources provided by I Lost My Gig here

The National Arts Council (NAC) has also introduced two local initiatives to support individuals who are affected by the crisis. 

They will provide a one-time grant, Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (CDSA), for eligible arts organisations and individuals to encourage upskilling through local courses. The grant is open for application from 16 March - 15 June. There will also be a 30% subsidy for venue rental and associated costs for arts and culture activities, including productions, workshops and masterclasses taking place from 7 March - 30 June 2020

Heard of other initiatives that help the creative industry that you feel readers should know about? Let us know at editorial@bandwagon.sg. 

How can I help?

While organized aid from the government and related organisations would be the most effective, each of us can still lend support on an individual level, either by directly supporting artists, or by checking in on our friends in the industry who have been left vulnerable by the pandemic. 


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends everyone to regularly wash their hands, cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, and shortness of breath, seek medical attention at your nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC). You can locate your nearest PHPC clinic here.