The Brag Media
Opinion July 3, 2018

OP-ED: Why the Live Music Office must get government support

OP-ED: Why the Live Music Office must get government support

Last weekend, at the NSW Labor conference, shadow minister for the arts Tony Burke made his live music motion speech.

“What I want to note first of all is we have no history at conferences at the federal or state level of having a live music policy.

“And the reason is that it’s always been area where it’s been commercial, that’s really never needed federal government or state government or even local council to think too much about it.”

That was a necessity, he said, because while the shift to streaming has meant less royalties for Australian musicians, it had not been balanced out as more and more music venues close.

The shadow minister said: “That’s what this is about, that’s what we’re making sure [of] – that at state and federal level, we’re defending live music.

“We’re defending copyright for artists and we’re making sure that as every generation grows up in this country, they’re hearing our stories, our music, our voices as a pathway to make sure the Australian soundtrack is always our own.”

In May, the shadow minister had also used these points to explain to parliamentary colleagues the need to continued support of the Live Music Office, which Labor set up in 2013 to continue confronting issues.

“Some are caused by government policy, some of those need to be facilitated and improved through government policy,” he said.

He emphasised the need to ensure the echo system around the live music industry survives. 

So it’s ironical that APRA AMCOS, which administers the Live Music Office, has revealed that with LMO losing government funding there is a need to review its future direction.

APRA AMCOS’s new head Dean Ormston says they’ll “continue to seek government investment in the important work done by the Office.”

He continues, “However, it is vital we review the success of the Office and evolve not only the priorities around the development of audience and live venue frameworks but to also look to where the work of the Office is best focused over the next three to five years.”

The review will be conducted by Jana Gibson, head of member services, and Nicholas Pickard, director of public affairs and communications, APRA AMCOS.

It will survey and interview key stakeholders and host roundtables to seek feedback from industry partners.

Findings from this review will be considered in a new Live Music Office blueprint to be announced later this year.

“APRA AMCOS will review the scope, structure and objectives of the Office, consulting with industry and government stakeholders over the weeks ahead before deciding how best to fund and build on its achievements to date.

“We will announce plans for the future of the Live Music Office following that consultation and review.”

Spearheaded by jazz guitarist and activist John Wardle, among some of the LMO’s achievements are:

Creating the NT Music Industry Council with MusicNT, Hospitality NT (formerly NT AHA), artists and venues as well as 2017/18 research initiatives including the 2017 NT Live Music Census to be released in July 2018.

Writing the Cool Little Capital report with MusicACT with the subsequent Urban Sounds Discussion Paper investigating entertainment precincts in Canberra.

Successfully campaigning for removing the requirement for SA liquor licenses to require consent for live entertainment, also delivering exempt development for low impact entertainment alongside the Small Arts Venue variation to the National Construction Code in SA.

Establishing the Central Geelong Live Music Action Plan development process and providing the framework and terms of reference for the City of Ballarat Live Music Strategy in Victoria with active participation in state regulation roundtables also providing national perspective and support.

See here for the full post on the LMO’s achievements in the past five years.

Related articles