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News February 16, 2018

Amrap v CBAA fallout: Music biz professionals demand answers

Lars Brandle
Amrap v CBAA fallout: Music biz professionals demand answers

Music industry professionals are calling for a full investigation into the messy situation surrounding Amrap and a slew of unresolved accusations levelled against the CBAA.

Earlier this week, TIO revealed the CBAA sacked the six staff of Amrap after the team went “rogue” and accused the association of advancing a damaging restructure.

A CBAA spokesperson confirmed the board had terminated the staff “due to breach of contracts,” a decision made after the Amrap six spoke out about a range of governance and management issues.  The organisation has denied the allegations. Meanwhile, the CBAA has hired a new point person for the publicly-funded project and the organisation says it’s “fully committed to delivering Amrap and its services.”

The break-up has created ripples across the Australian music industry and some important questions remain unanswered, executives and supporters of Amrap tell TIO. Read some comments below.


Stephen Green, SGC Media

It’s a shame to see the AMRAP dispute come to this, but now that it has occurred, it deserves more of an answer than just pretending like nothing happened. To be honest, I have no idea and nor does anyone else unless they are internal to that organisation whether the allegations raised are based in fact or whether the team there just overreacted and shit the bed. What I do know though is that Chris, Brooke and the team there have been around for over a decade and in my experience have worked tirelessly and consistently for Australian music and community broadcasting and in this case have even put their careers on the line for what they clearly believe to be necessary for the future of Amrap. Whether you think they are right or wrong, I reckon they’ve earned enough respect to at least be heard.

Surely a proper investigation is the only positive way forward so that either necessary changes to the administration of funds can be made or the allegations can be properly dismissed and the CBAA get on with the job. Music funding is hard to come by and community radio funding isn’t exactly growing on trees either and Amrap isn’t an insignificant government investment, so it needs to be not just used wisely, but also be seen to be. The biggest threat to both sectors is that the rumour of mismanagement, whether it be true or false, ends up resulting in a lack of confidence from government and the funding being cut. And that’s something that neither community radio, nor Australian musicians can afford.

Dean Ormston, APRA AMCOS Head of Member Services

Our members are the real stakeholders in Amrap and we are disturbed by this major upheaval. Amrap was established to assist Australian artists reach diverse audiences, and to support community radio in discovering great Australian music – much of which they would never have access to without Amrap’s services. It’s critical that Amrap continues to operate and evolve as an innovative service that ensures Australian artists are heard by Australian audiences.

Frank Varrasso, Varrasso PR

I’m a massive supporter (of Amrap). It’s crucial for my business, and more so for the thousands of young Australian artists attempting to find their mark in the music industry. Those at Amrap are a huge cog in the Australian music industry and without them the voice of many musicians will never be heard. The team behind it were passionate and pro-active on so many levels…surely an agreement can be reached?

Metropolitan community radio station leader*

It’s been disappointing to be kept largely in the dark on what’s happening with Amrap over the past month. We rely heavily on the website services and streaming platform tools they have developed and are deeply concerned about the CBAA’s capacity to support it for the foreseeable future. Also, six people who we and the music industry have a close working relationship with and now gone. The separation of Amrap from the CBAA, be it now or in the future, should be been considered as a better solution than the current outcome.

(*source spoke to TIO on the condition of anonymity)

Ian James, Mushroom Music Publishing

Community broadcasting has been very important to musicians and the music companies that work with them. It is an ideal model with lots of volunteers, subscribers putting their money up, live to air performances, quirky interviewers. So I found it curious to read the recent statements from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia in reference to Amrap. They sounded very corporate. It appears that there is a standoff between the CBAA board and the Amrap staff led by Chris Johnson. The important role of Amrap shouldn’t be caught in the crossfire of whatever this dispute is about. Can you all calm down, get back to the negotiating table and fix whatever isn’t working. Play your favourite songs during the discussion. That lifts the spirits.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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