Paul McCartney has deemed Italy’s refusal to give ticket goers refunds ‘outrageous’ as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the music industry.
Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last three months, you’ll have noticed how disruptive the coronavirus pandemic has been on normal life for nearly all of us since February.
Large events have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed across the globe for the foreseeable future, including music gigs, festivals, and club nights. The live entertainment industry has come to a complete stand still and for most of us, the only real silver lining has been that we’re at least saving a bit of extra money with all these refunded tickets.
At least that’s the case for everyone except those in Italy. The Italian government has issued a decree that means no concert tickets can be refunded, regardless of whether or not they ever took place. Instead, customers can receive compensatory vouchers for use at a later date. It’s a controversial move that’s been met with criticism from artists such as Paul McCartney, but it may be the only way to keep the lights on for venues while coronavirus keeps us tucked up at home.
Italy’s government issued this new refund policy with the recommendation of Assomusica, Italy’s association of organisers and producers for live music shows. Those who bought cancelled gig tickets will receive a voucher that can be used within 18 months – but you can’t get your money back entirely.
Assomusica has been involved in a number of support campaigns since the pandemic began, including requests for VAT suspensions, mortgage cancellations for venues, and tax exemptions while the industry recovers. Italy’s entertainment sector is facing huge financial struggle this year, with roughly £40 million lost in March alone.