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The State of Play - National Music Issues

Updated on December 9, 2013

National Office for Live Music

Support for our struggling live music scene has come in the form of the National Live Music Office (NLMO). It is supported by $560,000 in funding over three years, with the specific aim of developing practical strategies for promoting collaboration and cooperation to make sure we find the right environment for live music. The NLMO is administered by APRA (Australian Performing Rights Association) and managed by the recently appointed National Live Music Coordinator, Dr Ianto Ware, who attended the AMIN panel.

National Music Issues

Major Problems for the Australian Music Industry

Each state and body representative was asked for the biggest problem they see in the Industry. The following table provides their many and varied responses.

Artist Income Alert

Artist income was widely discussed as a key concern. Artists are earning less now than they did 15 years ago. This affects the entire Industry, as when Artists earn more money the industry grows, and when Artists earn less money the industry shrinks. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average income for a musician is just $13k per annum. The current median annual salary for a full-time worker in Australia is $57,400.

Industry Weakness: Lack of Reporting

Australia is the sixth largest industry in the world, but until recently it hasn't collected the data and statistics necessary to seek support from Government. Now that we have a clearer picture on the size of the Australian Music Industry, it is more conducive to Government support given the number of people the industry employes, and the number of votes associated with political party support

Impact of the September 2013 Election

What changes can we expect as a result of the September election? On 16 September 2013 the Prime Minister announced Senator the Hon George Brandis QC would become the Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts. Although Senator Brandis has a fine Arts background, he seems to be open minded to the needs of the contemporary music sector and Dan Rosen (ARIA) does believe the new Minister will listen to AMIN concerns.

Put simply, of the Music Industry needs money, it will look to the Government for handouts. If the Industry becomes stronger and more self sufficient, it's pull on the budget will diminish.

VET (Vocational Education and Training) Review.

David Grice from MusicSA said they are fighting a major battle in relation to the VET review, which intends to merge the music industry with that of film and other media. It will also merge music business with other "general" business education. This will dilute much needed education for the music industry sector.

The Piracy Problem

As CEO of ARIA, Dan Rosen expressed some optimism in relation to the issue of piracy. There is a coalition between other creative content industries, TV, film etc, and together the problem of piracy is given more significance and should force Government to respond to the crisis.

AMIN - Control and Release

There are two major projects of interest provided by AMIN to assist in the growth of the Australian Music Industry.

CONTROL is an intensive five stage program for music managers based in Australia and wanting to grow their business both locally and offshore. It incorporates a residential workshop which includes a comprehensive review of many different business models found in the contemporary music sector. Local and international advisers work with program participants.

RELEASE is a five stage program designed to assist independent label owners to grow their businesses. It incorporates two residential labs, working with a number of business advisers and provides participants with practical business guidance.

The Future of our Music Industry

The fact that AMIN has united key stakeholders in our industry, and joined forces with the National Live Music Office provides a ray of hope. In order to solve a problem you must first identify its source, and AMIN are openly discussing short-falls and sharing its battles in order to defend our music industry with a united front.

Anthea Palmer presents Face the Music - a brief on the November 2013 Conference.
Anthea Palmer presents Face the Music - a brief on the November 2013 Conference.

The AMIN panel:

Dan Rosen (CEO, ARIA)

Dario Phillips (Program Manager, Music Tasmania)

David Grice (General Manager, MusicSA)

Denise Foley (Executive Officer, QMusic - Chair, AMIN)

Dr Ianto Ware (Co-Director, National Live Music Office)

Kirsty Brown (Executive Officer, MusicNSW)

Mark Smith (Manager, MusicNT)

Patrick Donovan (CEO, Music Victoria)

Gordon Andersen (Industry Development Coordinator, MusicSA)

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