Australian music industry rocks federal parliament ahead of budget

Friday, 18 Mar 2016

Australian musicians Jimmy Barnes, Suze DeMarchi, Josh Pyke, Paul Dempsey, Benny Walker and Gordi performed live at Parliament House on Tuesday night to back a call for government recognition of the contemporary music industry.

Convened by Townsville MP Ewen Jones (Lib) and Parramatta MP Julie Owens (Lab) in partnership with APRA AMCOS and the Australian Hotels Association, the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Music (#PFOAM) event saw the Australian music industry come together to speak to the issues facing their sector, and to seek an investment and industry development partnership with the government in this year’s federal budget.

Key industry priorities include:

  • Industry and government co-investment in a local-to-global sector development structure for Australian music artists and businesses.
  • Support for a broad based tax offset for the venue-based live music industry which could increase the number of venues presenting live music by 50%, provide an additional 250,000 performance opportunities for artists, and provide a cash flow positive contribution to the Australian economy.
  • Industry and government co-investment in Australia's future as a centre of music creating excellence.

Highlighting the plight of songwriters, composers and artists who struggle to make close to the minimum wage, the assembled artists spoke of the heavy reliance on live performance and touring income to earn a living, the impact of lockouts on venues, streaming income and the conflict in being both an artist and a small business.

“Musicians struggle for most of their careers. It’s a struggling business…I have spent 45 years touring this country and this country has been really great to me, it’s been really supportive of me but in that 45 years I’ve seen a lot of great musicians and songwriters starve to death. The live music industry needs to be supported.” – Jimmy Barnes

The key message to Canberra is that the contemporary music industry is economically, socially and culturally significant.

APRA AMCOS Head of Member Services, Dean Ormston, said, “The Australian contemporary music sector contributes over $5 billion to the Australian economy, employs thousands of people, and has tremendous export potential. More Australian artists than ever are touring internationally, exporting their music - the soft diplomacy and tourism values are substantial. We are an innovative industry and we’re looking for government support in leveraging the industry’s potential.”

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