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News July 29, 2020

How the music sector will benefit from Victoria’s latest funding grants

How the music sector will benefit from Victoria’s latest funding grants
Isol-Aid organiser Emily Ulman

Of the Victorian government’s $2.3 million of grants yesterday (July 28) to keep the across-the-board creative sectors afloat, $857,000 was specifically for contemporary music.

It will be split between 103 projects by musicians, music businesses and virtual and live events through the Sustaining Creative Workers program.

Rapper Briggs and his First Nations label Bad Apples Music will use a grant to support five to ten emerging artists to create an album.

Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett’s Milk Records can expand its international profile through a retail marketing campaign and also develop merchandise, artwork and other assets.

The $200,000 grant is a game-changer for digital festival Isol-Aid, one of the big success stories in the post-pandemic scenario. It was started in March.

Last weekend was its 19th episode, drawing thousands of viewers and featuring acts from Australia, as well as US and France.

Isol-Aid can now to continue for more months, employ six behind-the-scenes staff and cover performance fees for artists.

Band booker and artist Emily Ulman told TMN, “Until now, I’ve managed to fund Isol-Aid by spending my JobKeeper, dipping into my savings and using the old credit card.

“It’s an amazing feeling, and a huge relief, to be able to pay off my debt, pay people who until now have worked for free, top-up donations to performers, create some new jobs and, more importantly, allay my parents’ fears that I will go broke keeping the festival going.”

The grants will enable creatives to develop, deliver and adapt their work in a changing environment, including equipment upgrades, research and development and digital initiatives.

They will allow events like the Festival of Jewish Arts and Music, Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, and others as Rhythms Magazine, to go online.

Several other live-streaming projects also got the green light.

Among them was Audrey Studios which will produce virtual house concerts by singer-songwriters Mick Thomas and Liz Stringer. These will be streamed but with a three-camera set up and TV studio edit, and can also be sold to fans.

Studio owner Craig Pilkington said, “People are looking for the silver lining when it comes to the live experience, and I think livestreams will be here to stay.”

Audrey Studios

OK Motels, which runs music events in regional towns, gets a website to promote businesses.

The latest round will see 40 new albums, including those by Adalita, Bodyjar, Dallas Frasca, Amos Roach. The Merindas and Jess Ribeiro.

Others included disability plans to make websites and online activities accessible, building a recording studio, skills upgrades, podcasts, studio engineering, research for everything from music skills tutorials to online audience development, and adapting a live performance to suit distancing requirements.

Minister for creative industries Martin Foley said; “Victoria’s $1.7 billion music industry is globally renowned but the pandemic has had a devastating effect. 

“These latest grants are part of our ongoing work to protect music jobs and help local music businesses survive. We’re proud to back our music industry to keep working behind the scenes now, and to plan for the future.”

Check out the full list of recipients here.


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