American rock band The Killers has headlined the launch of a campaign designed to leverage big names to support smaller entertainment venues, artists and businesses compete against larger players.
Around 400 people packed Selina’s at Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel on Wednesday night for the exclusive concert with the high-profile act, which American Express used to launch its campaign The American Express Music Backers Program.
“Through The American Express Music Backers Program, we’ll provide a well-needed boost to the music industry and reconnect fans to music experiences that will form lifelong memories,” the group’s vice president of brand and experiences, Naysla Edwards, said.
“On average, more Australians attend live music gigs each year than sporting events, yet despite this, small music venues, often the training grounds for emerging artists, have witnessed a steady decline in patrons and some have shut down all together.”
The campaign includes a grant program worth $1 million, with 12 rounds to continue each month until the end of May 2019.
This forms the Australian leg of a global brand campaign, which My Business understands is designed to redefine the image of American Express away from being the exclusive domain of corporate executives to being inclusive of younger audiences and smaller businesses.
American Express also operates the annual Shop Small campaign, in a bid to highlight the benefits of shopping with local businesses to Australian consumers.
As the first recipient of support from the music backers program, Chris Cheung — owner of the Coogee Bay Hotel — said it was great to see a large, well-known entity giving local businesses and artists a much-needed leg-up.
“It is wonderful that we have American Express turning the spotlight on the live music scene in Australia,” he said.
Under the grant, Selina’s will continue to receive support, including financial backing for a significant refurbishment.
The NSW government in particular has been criticised for damaging the live music industry, and associated businesses, in Sydney following the introduction of its controversial lock-out laws in early 2014.
Disclosure: Adam Zuchetti attended The Killers concert as a guest of American Express.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.