What the Coalition’s election win means for the Aussie music industry
The Coalition has not had a good history of investment in the arts. In fact, it’s remained at a low rate: $2.355 billion in 2011-12; $2.361 billion in 2012-13; $2.29 billion in 2015-16; and $2.384 billion in 2016-17.
What the Coalition offered the music industry going into the May 18 election was nowhere as expansive or as visionary as Labor’s Renewing Creative Australia package.
Nevertheless, federal arts minister Mitch Fifield’s new four-year $30.9 million Australian Music Industry Package suggested he had been listening to concerns raised by the music industry during the House Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts inquiry. The package includes:
The Live Music Australia initiative: $22.5 million over four years to assist small businesses with grants of up to $10,000 each to generate more gigs, covering artist fees and upgrades.
Women in Music Mentor program: $2.1 million to deliver a mentoring program to help women take their music career to the next level, including professional training in contract negotiation, marketing, and finance.
Indigenous Contemporary Music program: $2.7 million to establish a national development program for touring, recording and planning effective touring circuits.
Contemporary Music Touring program boost: $2 million to the Australia Council to increase performance opportunities for musicians, including in regional venues.
Sounds Australia expansion: $1.6 million to expand the program to assist the Australian music industry to capitalise on emerging markets in Asia.
Fifield also promised over $100 million in support for existing Australian music organisations, projects and programs.
“Live music in our cities, regional centres and towns provide them with a competitive advantage, driving jobs, tourism and supporting the night-time economy.”
Ormston also applauded the funding for Sounds Australia.
Live Performance Australia’s chief executive Evelyn Richardson appreciated its support for live music but noted that the Coalition had no comprehensive cultural policy.
In comparison, Labor had committed to a Creative Economy Summit to inform the development of a Creative Economy Strategy 2030.
What the music biz will miss out on due to Labor’s failure to take power is the doubling of the new recording program to $300,000 over three years, music hubs in places like Newcastle and Fremantle, and the introduction of national legislation to attack ticket scalping through bot bans and 10% resale caps.
Labor had also promised support for Woodford Folk Festival and an Academy for WOMadelaide, $4.2 million in support for charities working with well-being in music, expansion of SongMakers to support youth music, $1 million for regional musicians, restoring Australia Council’s budget by at least $20 million, and $750,000 over three years for the Association of Artists Managers to train new and emerging music managers.
Three more years.