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Opinion July 13, 2019

Youth music participation is the key to a successful industry

Youth music participation is the key to a successful industry

In a music landscape packed to the rafters with over-age shows and lock out laws, a neglected under-aged audience waits. Waiting for a fair amount of inclusion in music – for some, this is the opportunity for any involvement. I’m part of that under-aged audience. We’re here, and we’re not ready to shut up.

Now I totally get it – licensing laws are largely different from state to state, live music has pretty close ties to alcohol consumption, and budgets sure aren’t our best mates. However, surely, there has to be some way young people will finally be properly included in the music industry?

Now is the time for some real commitment, within Government, both at a Federal and State level. It’s the time for more all-ages shows, more career development opportunities, and legislation to uphold this.

There are several key stakeholders in this sub-section of the industry: venues, youth participants and audiences, artists and their promoters, and music organisations (government and NGOs), as well as Government overall.

Why is experiencing live music so important as a young person?

“Music is a resource of considerable intellectual, artistic, cultural, technological, and economical breadth and depth.” [A quote from T and F online]

Experiencing live music as a young person is absolutely crucial. I think you remember the first time you saw live music – that time when you watched Something For Kate, or The Beatles.

Probably went a little something like this: Your heart melted. That feeling you had – of being ‘whole’ again, your entire being suddenly being fulfilled by every drum beat and guitar strum. That desire you had to experience that concert again. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Here’s a little story of what music meant to a younger me. A 12-year-old me made an effort to buy CDs. You might ask why? I wanted to see who did what on that damn album. I can’t even put into words the feeling I had reading through those darn album credits.

I’m sure you’ve got countless stories, which can talk to the impact music had on a younger you, so please read carefully, and see what more you could be doing to ensure a successful future music industry.

Play/organise more all ages shows.

  • Do your very best to make as many shows as possible all-ages. Young people love live music, just like anybody else does. There is funding accessible to people across the country for these types of things.
  • Victoria:
    • The Push’s All-Ages Events Grants are for up to $2,000 for any costs associated with executing an all-ages event in Victoria. First round applications are open now, and you can apply here.
    • Creative Victoria’s Music Works grants are available for an array of Victorian-centric music industry works. The current round is closed, but find out more here.
  • New South Wales:
    • Create NSW have funding programs to support performance based music activities. Find out more here.
  • Queensland:
  • Western Australia:
  • Tasmania:
  • Northern Territory:
    • Music NT has information around funding opportunities for music industry practitioners and performers. Visit their official site for more information.
  • South Australia:

Moral of the story: There are no excuses anymore not to include all-ages shows on your touring schedule.

Case Study – The Push Inc (VIC)

The Push is ahead of the pack in just about every sense of the phrase. Now in its 30th year of incorporation, the multi-faceted youth organisation has developed the careers of some of our biggest industry figures.

Devout youth music participants (at least 700,000 of them) for years have been to The Push’s live shows, been mentored in their various programs, written songs in their workshops, and developed their careers under the guidance of The Push.

A brief look at the current music landscape will show you just how important organisations like The Push are. They’ve helped shape the careers of an abundance of our industry heavyweights.

Some people who have counted themselves as being involved with The Push include:

  • Paul Dempsey (Something for Kate)
  • Alice Ivy
  • Angie McMahon
  • Alex Lahey
  • Mallrat
  • Japanese Wallpaper
  • Memphis Kelly (Saatsuma, Memphis LK)
  • Oh Pep!
  • Adalita

As well as successful music industry practitioners including:

  • Fay Burstin [Splendour in the Grass]
  • Quincy McLean [Bakehouse Studios]
  • Sara Glaidous [APRA AMCOS]
  • Rochelle Flack [Ditto Music]
  • Damien Platt [Palms Management]

For the most part, The Push Inc has been instrumental in shaping the careers of these people, through either the shows it hosts, the mentoring program it runs, songwriting workshops and other opportunities.

The Push Inc is, and should be considered as being, the basis of what a future youth music organisation should operate like, if something similar were to be established anywhere beyond Victoria.

Bring more young people into your teams.

  • That kid pestering you weekly with an email keen to learn from you? Take ’em in whenever you can. They are the future of music, and who knows what kind of knowledge they may have that you don’t?

Bring more young people into conversations and consultation around the future of music.

  • There must be a holistic approach across the board around getting young people included in conversations around the future of the music industry. By bringing young people into these conversations, you will receive an unprecedented insight into where you can do different.

There needs to be commitment, both at a State Government, and Federal Government level, to making music accessible to those of all-ages.

  • If youth music organisations like The Push could be funded to operate across the country, the options are endless. The audiences dying for youth music around Australia will finally have their desires met.
  • There needs to be an adequate amount of funding for programs around the country to exist. Funding should be made available to all sectors within the industry – radio, print/digital media, marketing, labels, publicity, festivals and promoters – to employ young people, and provide adequate training and support to do so.
  • There needs to be a national Youth Music Strategy – which includes young people in its creation – which should be implemented as a priority.

Watch this documentary about The Push’s music industry work:

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.



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