opinion Features April 1, 2019

Jeremy Neale on government’s multi-million dollar election promise for contemporary music

Jeremy Neale on government’s multi-million dollar election promise for contemporary music

Live music is so many things to so many people. It’s more than just that one moment as a performer or as an audience member. It is the foundation on which so many other moving parts in the creative industry, retail and hospitality sectors rely.

My journey in live music began as a teenager in the outer suburbs, where I would chase down any and every opportunity I could find to attend an all ages event.

During those years and later as an adult it helped me to forge my own identity and it gave me a home. Live music has gifted me a community and friendships with warm, passionate and creative people.

My fiancé said to me on Thursday that as someone who moved from Townsville to Brisbane straight after high school that she never really felt like she’d found “her people” until she found live music.

And now we’re getting married in June and I couldn’t imagine the reception without a live band made up of a crew of Brisbane’s finest entertainers.

Having a strong live music scene puts us on the map. Domestically and internationally. And when major industry figures travel to Brisbane for Bigsound, the investment we’ve made is very apparent to outsiders, and contributes strongly to making Brisbane a truly world-class city for the arts.

You’ll know yourselves from travelling to another city on holidays – you have free time whilst you’re away and you’re happy to be out every night exploring. The availability of and proximity to live music is a sign of a vibrant and diverse night life which is so important from a tourism perspective.

Investment in live music also leads to greater recorded products. The live environment is the testing ground for new songs – the trial and error of what works and what doesn’t, and is essential in order to create the best possible recordings.

Every bit of income I’ve received from live music has been invested back into the local and national music industry – for example the recording of my own music, which supports producers and sound engineers, or film clip production, which supports directors and film crews. As well as into marketing and merchandise which once again funds local publicity firms and manufacturing.

Live music also supports so many adjacent industries. When I worked as a bartender and door person for a number of years at Black Bear Lodge – it was live music that kept the bar busy enough to pay me a living wage.

The other exciting news is the funding for Sounds Australia to expand their work into Asia. As a two time attendee of the industry event Music Matters in Singapore – I have witnessed first hand how their powerful presence on ground helps make valuable and genuine local connections for Australian musicians and industry representatives. With new funding they will be able to better capitalise on these opportunities moving forward.

It’s also important to note that through it all – has your back as an artist out there in the Wild West of the biz. Ensuring artists are getting paid their performance and broadcast returns due, educating them on their rights, funding important projects and creating opportunities for collaboration and community in their SongHubs program.

Live music is such a crucial part of a nation’s ecosystem and the flow on effects from this investment are going to be many and varied but all incredibly positive. I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things in store for live music in the next 4 years and beyond and I’m very thankful to be here right now at the announcement of the beginning of a new era for live music in Australia and abroad.

The Federal Government’s new $30.9 million investment in the music industry was announced over the weekend and you can check it out here.

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