Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers, and a big welcome in particular to all the new members who signed up during our inaugural membership drive, Jump on the Bandwagon.
We boosted our membership by more than 100% during the drive, which culminated in a wonderful get-together at Richmond’s Corner Hotel with more than 150 members enjoying live sets by Dan Sultan, Brous, Graveyard Train and Courtney Barnett.
May is budget time and the arts sector is always going to be a little nervous with tight budgets handed down in fiscally challenging circumstances. Music Victoria received two years funding in May 2011, on the condition that the organisation works towards self-sustainability, so we will be presenting our business case next year. We will soon be employing an Operations Manager and using our momentum to shore up some new revenue streams.
It was great to see the Office for Youth finding an additional $1.6 million over four years to boost the Push’s FReeZA mentoring and skills development program for young people. Our major cultural institutions were the main beneficiaries from the Office for the Arts in the budget.
A week later, Treasurer Wayne Swan handed down the federal budget which included $3 million over four years to assist the Australian contemporary music industry. While Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean postponed the announcement of the National Cultural Policy Review, some of the beneficiaries of the budget included Sounds Australia to encourage music exports and encourage international acts to use local support acts; the South Melbourne-based Australian National Academy of Music; and the National Film and Sound Archive.
Sadly, AMRAP (the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) did not have its funding renewed. AMRAP provided a critical support role to Australian artists by distributing new songs to more than 1500 broadcasters from 300 community radio stations. Good luck to AMRAP manager Chris Johnston and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia in their attempts to keep this important project going.
The decision to cut AMRAP funding by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy was particularly surprising given the support Australian music received in the Convergence Review’s recommendations released by the Department’s Minister, Stephen Conroy, last month.
Concerning music on radio, the independent review recommended that Australia music quotas should continue on analogue radio and be extended to digital-only radio services, while temporary digital radio services, such as Austereo’s 24 hour Pink and Metallica stations set up to coincide with tours, should be exempt from quotas. This is what the contemporary music industry has been arguing for, and at a recent Music Council of Australia Symposium into Media, in which Music Victoria participated, the industry agreed to lobby the government to amend regulations to require those quotas to be fulfilled during peak listening times (between 6am and 7pm). The AMRAP project was exactly the kind of infrastructure radio needs to get easy access to the best new music.
Community radio is vital to the health of Victorian music, so make sure you get behind PBS’ Be Our Hero radio drive over the next fortnight. And check out Triple R’s new radio on demand service which lets listeners hear any show at any time.
Congratulations to Balnarring’s finest, Wally De Backer aka Gotye, who continues to create history this week by becoming the first artist in US history to hold the top position on four of Billboard’s biggest charts with his smash hit Somebody I Used to Know. The international career of his collaborator in the song, New Zealand-born and Melbourne-based Kimbra, looks bright too after she recently took out the US-based International Songwriting Competition for her song Cameo Lover. Our congratulations also go to Missy Higgins, Michael Paynter and all of the other Victorian winners and placegetters.
Congratulations also to all of the winners at the 10th Annual Australia Jazz Awards held at the Regent Plaza Ballroom on 3rd May: Andrea Keller Quartet, Peter Knight, Nick Haywood Quartet, Luke Howard and Janos Bruneel, Alan Browne and Brian Brown.
Music Victoria was sad to hear that our neighbour, the Phoenix Public House, will close its doors to live music on 12th June. Band booker Paris Martine said the closure was due to their inability to negotiate viable terms for a new lease. While liquor licensing issues didn’t contribute to the closure, it’s a reminder of precarious situation for many of our venues.
The good news is that the Premier has sent out invitations to members of the Live Music Roundtable, which Music Victoria will be part of. One of the first issues we will be raising will be the very important Agent of Change issue, which we wrote about recently in the Sunday Age.
Music Victoria is thrilled that the National Library of Australia has requested to include our Melbourne Music City guide in its publishing collection to recognise our contribution to Australia publishing. We are looking into developing iPad and Smartphone applications to support the physical guide this year and will be offering advertising opportunities to the industry.
Music Victoria has a series of education workshops coming up over the next few months in Melbourne and around the state. You can catch us in Ballarat, Wangaratta, and Geelong; at the Abbotsford Convent, the Darebin Music Feast and the Small Business Victoria Festival over the next few months. Check out our website for all details.
And finally, Music Victoria would like to acknowledge the contribution made to the Victorian music industry by Greg Ham, who passed away last month. Not only was Greg a vital member of one of Victoria’s most successful groups, Men At Work, but he gave plenty back as fearless Chairman of The Push in the 1990s. He left a wonderful legacy and his tireless work will continue to benefit young artists for decades to come.
That’s all for now, see you at a local venue soon
Patrick DonovanRead more »