How the Federal Government can help the music industry grow

There were hundreds of ideas discussed at a recent parliamentary meeting.

At a parliamentary committee meeting set up by Federal Minister of Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, on how to help the music industry, the industry submitted hundreds of ideas.

These are some of them, profiled at a hearing in Canberra:

  • The Recording Industry Association of Australia (ARIA) has a target of Australia getting a 5% share of the global industry by 2030. It’s currently less than 1%. By 2030, Goldman Sachs forecasts that global recorded music will be worth $50 billion (or $100 billion if you include publishing and live). To achieve this the Government needs to set up a music export initiative, ensure that Australian musicians are booked for its events around the world, use embassies to promote local music, and help artists and musicians do business. ARIA says “It's something that we're good at (already)” and points to how the UK market has 11%-13% of the global market and Australia has its advantage because most of its music is in the English language.


  • To give musicians a chance overseas, they need a strong home front. This includes Australian quotas for streaming services and playlists, a 35% local quota for all radio formats like Canada, state governments and councils with strong live music policies, venue protection, buildings for rehearsals, entertainment precincts and copyright protection.


  • Tax credits for investors who finance recordings and tours (ARIA), venues which host music (Live Music Office), and for established artist managers “to take on new artists in those emerging years when there's a lot of work being done with no income,” says the Association of Artist Managers.


  • Music Cities link local authorities, businesses, community groups and the creative sector to use music to grow their cites. This means musician-friendly policies from licensing and liquor laws to parking and planning regulations to affordable housing and artist entrepreneur training, music tourism initiatives and setting up Music Offices as a link between the industry and government circles.


  • Negotiate cheaper visas with the US, and also accept that the first three visits to the US is not about earning money, but spending on hotels and travel to network and chase deals.


  • Fund think tanks between tech and music sectors to find 21st-century solutions.


  • Follow the Canadian lead of 35% airplay quota for all formats, which has made it the sixth biggest music market.


  • Invest in music business colleges and also fund skills of managers as their duties expand.


  • Increase funding for the Australia Council because it needs $3 million a year to meet unmet demand for grants, especially from the music sector.


  • A system of small loans to aspiring musicians to be repaid when they become successful.


  • Establish a Music Export Council.


  • One in four schools don’t have a music program – fix this.