News February 11, 2018

South Australia unveils five-point plan to accelerate growth of its music industry

South Australia unveils five-point plan to accelerate growth of its music industry

The recent growth of the South Australia’s music industry has been fuelled by a number of factors.

The major one is a far-sighted government that sees a strong music industry as a key element to its wider digital innovation and economic entrepreneurship strategies, and its encouraging of these sectors to collaborate closely.

Economic research consultancy EconSearch found that South Australia’s music scene contributed $375 million to the economy in 2015/16, and the music industry generates employment for 6300 South Australians.

The ABS lists 1200 full-time musicians (and thousands more part time/ amateur), and 5050 songwriters registered with APRA.

Being designated a UNCESO City of Music in December 2015 seems to have given both the Government and the music industry the incentive to come up with new ideas.

The South Australian Music Industry Strategy released this month was put together by the Music Development Office  (MDO) – another Government initiative – after consultation with over 2000 stakeholders.

Its aim is to develop baselines, ensure that government support continues to align with industry needs, encourage active collaboration between all sectors, and to identify and explore opportunities for industry development.

Five strategic priorities have been identified to help the sector grow over the short to medium term.

(1) Activating Live Music Across The State

The MDO will intensify its collaborating with the Local Government Association (LGA) to support local councils to develop live music action plans through an online resources page and Music SA’s fact sheet.

From last month, the MDO began providing a case management service for live music venues across the state.

(2) Export And International Market Development

SA has already begun International projects with the other 16 UNCESCO music cities including collaborations for musicians and executives, and ensuring Adelaide be part of global events, and hosting a live music summit.

More initiatives around the UNESCO designation are available here.

Other global strategies include the Robert Stigwood Fellowship Program’s international market development for artist and industry fellows; Arts SA’s Made In Adelaide to deliver new SA music at the Edinburgh Festival each year; export sessions and mentoring by Sounds Australia; and international tour grants.

New initiatives will be discussed at an industry roundtable in early 2018.

(3) Music Festivals And Events

The MDO will work with the Government to implement recommendations from the Supporting The Music Festival and Event Industry in South Australia report.

In the meantime, the Live Music Events Fund ($1.3 million over three years), administered by Events South Australia with the MDO, has seen the AIR awards and the Indie Con Australia festival to be held in Adelaide in 2017, 18 and 19.

Music SA has major festivals as Umbrella: Winter City Sounds and Unsound Adelaide.

The Contemporary Music Grants Program includes a festivals category that supports small and emerging festivals with grants of up to $10,000.

(4) Media And PR

A Music Communications Roundtable with industry and government representatives will be convened in early 2018 to discuss strategies on pusingh more stories to the media.

The MDO’s new Adelaide UNESCO City of Music Brief booklet will be distributed in cafes, bars and music venues to promote Adelaide as a city of music.

(5) Technology And Digital Engagement

The MDO is working with Dr Tom Hajdu, the US entrepreneur appointed SA’s first Chief Advisor on innovation, to develop a series of workshops with the Sia Furler Institute at Adelaide University to bring the latest in technological developments to the industry in SA.

The MDO explained, “This initiative will strengthen the connection between university students and the local music and creative industries through targeted ‘talks programs’ to be run at St Paul’s Creative Centre and Adelaide University throughout 2018.”

The strategy also looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the SA music sector against which the new initiatives would operate.

The full report is available here.

The pros included government support, an affordable liveability to do global business from, strong complementary film and game sectors, the achievements of the St Paul’s Creative Centre hub, access to Asia, strong organisations as Music SA and youth brands as Fresh 92.7, Radio Adelaide and Three D Radio, a good network of venues and tourism-drawing wineries that host gigs.

The challenges identified were a small population, difficulties in touring because of geographical remoteness, lack of major labels and publishers, a culture of slow ticket sales, the reduction of street press and businesses with little social media presence and low standard websites.

There are more than 425 live music venues operating in South Australia, and an average of 950 live music gigs take place every month in Adelaide’s metropolitan area.

There are an additional estimated 325 businesses in the music industry.

These include 46 dedicated retailers, 22 recording studios, 19 recording labels. 14 education and training organisations and 10 manufacturers covering pro-audio and CD/vinyl makers.

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