Australia’s Music Industry Responds to Government’s ‘Revive’ Policy
After the lean years of the pandemic, and a leadership that is sometimes distracted or uninterested in the plight of the music industry, the Albanian government is pushing the restart button with its Revive package.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and federal arts minister Tony Burke on Monday (January 30) presented the long-awaited National Culture Policy, a 116-page document that charts the way forward for the music industry.
The takeaways are many and varied.
From the very top is a commitment for new, additional investment totaling $286 million over four years; the creation of Music Australia; a regional push for Double J; and a timeline to legislate for local content citations on streaming platforms.
As the industry ruminates over the details and ponders the next step, the initial reading is enthusiastic.
“The government has responded to our collective call, which I think is very positive,” APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston told The Music Network.
The policy is an outgrowth of a two-year industry call to action, which saw 18 organizations come together “like never before”.
At the top of the agenda was the establishment of an “overarching strategic and policy investment in the contemporary music industry. We called it Music Australia. The government has responded,” says Ormston.
“I think it’s an enormous victory that for the first time ever there is a government-wide recognition of us as an industry. They are actually referring to us as an industry for the first time in my living memory.”
‘Revival: a place for every story, a story for every place’ – Australia’s new five year national #culture policy has been released! Supported by $286 million in dedicated funding, it’s renewing our #arts, #entertainment and #cultural sector ➡️ https://t.co/udLCHBO39d pic.twitter.com/m9pyqWh6ZW
— AusGov Office for the Arts (@AusGovArts) January 30, 2023
The thorny subject of local music regulation has been tackled within the pages of the culture policy, with a commitment to take “necessary action” so that “Australians continue to see and hear quality homegrown content, regardless of which platform they are used.”
As well as this, the government outlines a roadmap for binding laws, promising that Australian music “remains visible, discoverable and easily accessible across platforms for all Australians, driven by a vibrant, agile, sustainable and global local music industry.”
Local content is king, and the government seems to understand that.
“We’ve been pleading with the government – and I think we’ve been heard – that local content is important in all media,” says Ormston, “whether it’s traditional commercial radio broadcasts to the audio streaming services and video streaming services. Local content is an issue that needs to be looked at across (all media) and visibility is critical in terms of the health of the local industry as well as export opportunities. We told the minister that there is an opportunity for policy related to the use of music for the screen.”
Revive will provide a much needed boost of strength, energy and funding in our arts community:
✔️ Establish Creative Australia
✔️ The founding of Music Australia
✔️ $70 million injection into Music Australia
✔️ Support the artist as a worker and a creator https://t.co/56aXgFrPt9
— APRA AMCOS (@APRAAMCOS) January 30, 2023
Whether the funding pledge ticks all the boxes is a moot point.
“The key point at this stage is getting the framework in place,” explains Ormston.
“There is an enormous opportunity in terms of how music Australia links with industry and specific government portfolios.”
Following the morning launch at the Espy in St Kilda, several key music industry organizations and advocates welcomed the new policy.
“The strategic focus, backed by new investment in the Australian contemporary music industry and a whole-of-government approach,” says Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA and PPCA, “is a fantastic first step towards realizing music’s true potential as a ‘ to realize a social and economic contributor. .”
The policy “is an excellent indication that the government agrees and is committed to growing our music industry, as well as securing the global audiences for our artists that they are so ready for,” she continued.
There remains “a lot of work to do” and the detail behind the announcement “will be crucial to our success, but this is truly a good start.”
The announcement “cannot be understated,” said Jenny Morris, chairman of APRA.
“For the last century, Australian contemporary music has been fairly absent from cultural policy development.”
The former pop icon adds: “We also welcome the Australian Government’s commitment and investment in First Nations-led cultural and creative practices. This is a serious signal from the government of the importance and centrality of First Nations artists.”
Today @APRAAMCOS wholeheartedly welcomed the Australian Government’s national culture policy, Revive.
In the words of @deanapra: “Long time coming – WELCOME! Vision, strategy, investment!”
Congratulations @Tony_Burke @AusGovArts @AlboMP pic.twitter.com/pI5nE1iWXN
— APRA AMCOS (@APRAAMCOS) January 30, 2023
Music industry charity Support Act welcomed the government’s funding commitment, with chief executive Clive Miller pointing out, “having this increased level of financial security will enable our efforts to support music workers in need, and to continue to support a more mentally healthy music industry.”
Stuart Watters, chief executive of the Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC) “welcomed the injection of almost $70 million” for the creation of Music Australia, within Creative Australia, and several “important new approaches to ensuring worker safety and mental health, building First Nations leadership and support for the important work of Sounds Australia and Support Act”.
The ALBMC represents hundreds of members from across the living sector, many of whom have borne the brunt of the health crisis.
Watters adds, “we are very excited to sit down and hammer out the details with our industry colleagues, the government and its agencies to ensure that the support for the hundreds of Australian businesses in the live music industry is represented and supported by this important policy announcement. This is a critical opportunity to ensure that the diverse voices that make up the Australian music industry are truly and fairly represented.”
ARIA welcomes the new National Culture Policy announced today by the Hon. Tony Burke MP and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. https://t.co/w2hlbCkxju
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) January 30, 2023
Artist and advocate Deena Lynch (aka Jaguar Jonze), who served on the panel for the “centrality of the artist,” one of five pillars on which Revive is built, was on hand for the announcement.
“An emotional day at the National Culture Policy launch where our artistry and survivor cries were heard,” she writes.
An emotional day at the National Cultural Policy launch where our artistry and survivor cries were heard @Tony_Burke @AlboMP @AusGovArts pic.twitter.com/LNOimmbimZ
— JAGUAR JONZE (@JaguarJonze) January 30, 2023
What happens next is not so clear.
Talks between industry leaders and officials will continue over the coming days, and appointments are thought to be made at Music Australia, which Albanese is keen to get underway in 2023.
“The runway is short to get this done by the end of the year,” notes Ormston.
“We need to understand what it looks like. The commercial music industry needs to feel that (Music Australia) has autonomy in relation to government. There are many questions in that space. If we take the glass half full approach, we heard very clearly that the autonomy we asked for is recognized, the contemporary music industry is recognized, let’s dive in now.”
Read the report in full here.
TMN will join Adrian Collette AM (Chief Executive, Australia Council) and Dr Stephen Arnott (Deputy Secretary, Creative Economy and the Arts) in conversation on Thursday 9 February at 14:15 (AEDT) to discuss the implications of the National Culture Policy for the music to discuss industry, including the development of Music Australia. Click here to register.