As previously reported, the Federal Government have promised a new National Cultural Policy, which will “set the framework for Australian Government support for arts, culture and creativity for the next ten years.” The first initiatives of the new policy coming directly from Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean.
Sr Crean championed Aussie music for his keynote address at the Music Connects India conference in Mumbai last November, before returning home to announce the Government was injecting $200,000 towards helping Aussie artists tour and deliver workshops nationally and through regional areas.
Today the Arts Minister has announced the appointment of Dr Ianto Ware as National Live Music Coordinator for Sounds Australia, a brand new role that will see Dr Ware using his expertise to advocate on live music as well as acting as a consultant to the new National Cultural Policy.
“DrWare’s appointment as National Live Music Coordinator will further support contemporary Australian musicians and songwriters to go from the local to the international stage,” Mr Crean said.
Dr Ware’s background includes a number of industry connections, work with state and local governments, as well as his years with artists, venues, and local councils in his associations with live music, particularly in South Australia, where he is the CEO of Renew Adelaide and founding director of Format Adelaide.“DrWare’s appointment as National Live Music Coordinator will further support contemporary Australian musicians and songwriters to go from the local to the international stage” – Arts Minister, Simon Crean
His latest role as National Live Music Coordinator is part of a raft of new measures announced for the 2011/12 Budget aimed at supporting Australian music in “the local venue-based live music industry and develop Australia’s music export potential,” said Mr Crean. “The creation of this new position is part of the Australian Government’s $3million commitment to boost industry innovation, music export and address skills development in the live music sector.”
APRA|AMCOS CEO brett Cottle, who is part of the joint Sounds Australia initiative, said that they had long advocated for national support for the live music industry. “A healthy venue-based live music industry is good for songwriters, musicians, venues and audiences,” said Mr Cottle.
Cottle’s comments are echoed by a 2011 study commissioned by APRA|AMCOS, and funded by the Australia Council, found that venue-based live music added $1.2 billion to the economy, servicing almost 42 million patrons and creating nearly 15,000 full time jobs Australia-wide.
Australia Council and APRA|AMCOS’s Sounds Australia have helped put together a number of international initiatives to promote Australian music, most prominently the SXSW Aussie BBQ, which showcases the acts that head to the Austin, Texas industry conference, with 40 acts confirmed to head stateside at this March’s 2013 edition.
“Sounds Australia has been very successful in connecting Australian musicians with international markets,” said Australia Council Acting CEO Libby Christie, saying that Dr Ianto Ware’s new position “allows it to focus on the domestic music landscape – local artists, venues and industry – to support a robust Australian live music scene. We’re excited to see this industry partnership expand.”
In related news, Greens party leader Christine Milne announced at Tasmania’s MONA FOMA festival, which drew to a successful close this weekend, that the political party would be pushing for three new initiaties – valued at $10 million – to support emerging musicians, artists, and live performers.
“I think that in Australia it’s the usual story where so many artists struggle to make a living and they’re trying to work two or three jobs in order to be able to keep a roof over their heads, while they pursue the love that they have for their art,” said Senator Milne.
The Greens confirmed they would advocate their new arts policy – which includes government grants, funding for touring artists, and financial support for more ‘experimental’ ventures – to be included as part of the 2013-14 Federal budget as it is developed in the coming months. If the Greens’ policies don’t make the May budget cut, they plan to use it as a major platform in the federal election.