Checking in with WAT Artists during Covid-19

15 April 2020
Posted by Jennifer Tutty & Sara Giampa Kease

This is the first in a series of chats with some of our clients in different industries, to find out how they are going with running a business during the COVID-19 crisis.

This week we focus on the music industry and chat to James Ware from WAT Artists about the challenges they face being in one of the hardest hit industries of the Covid19 crisis – the music/arts/entertainment sector.

With the ban on events and social gatherings, how has this impacted your business?

95% of our revenue is generated from live performance. We have over sixty artists on our domestic roster plus an international touring arm. Apart from a small amount of royalty and licensing income, our revenue has completely disappeared.

How are you changing/reviewing your current processes and/or agreements to adapt to this immense change?

We are in the process of updating all our contracts. They now need to address what is happening with the pandemic. Artists, agents and promoters all need to be protected and the good thing is we are seeing a willingness from all stakeholders to toe the line in some way.

With the hovering unknown aspect of this restriction period, how is your team using their time?

We are currently catching up on video chat once a week which is really great. We are taking the time to update databases, refine systems and also connect with our artists. Every agent is bringing a project to the table that they are going to work on in this down time. I am also in the A&R process with a number of artists so it’s great to be able to give that some real focus.

Can you plan ahead and forge forward in your business even with such uncertainty?

We have to. There is no other option. I am optimistic that the government support will relieve some of the uncertainty for the time being. It remains to be seen when our scene will reopen but we have to be optimistic and nimble with whatever eventuates.

Is there a silver lining?

I am getting the feeling that our borders will be one of the last things to reopen forcing promoters to look inwards and book local acts in place of internationals. I think Australians were already starting to champion local heroes and I am optimistic that this will be supported by the music buying public and our scene will end up in an even stronger place.

If you need help navigating your legal obligations during this time, we would be happy to assist!  Please contact us on 03 9521 2128, or email us at


The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not constitute formal legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please see the full disclaimer in our website terms. Please contact Studio Legal if you are seeking advice about a specific legal matter.