Meet the Music Australia Council tasked with solving local music’s struggles

todayAugust 23, 2023 3

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Popular musicians and key industry figures will head up the Music Australia Council, a new government-backed body established to support and grow Australian music at home and abroad.

Music Australia is one of the central bodies of the federal government’s national cultural policy, revealed in January and titled ‘Revive’, which operates within Creative Australia and will benefit from an investment of $69.4 million over four years towards contemporary music (as outlined in May’s Federal Budget).

The Albanese Government has talked a big game about resuscitating local arts and culture – a sector worth $17 billion – following the devastation of the COVID-impacted years, which saw live music suffer a crippling loss of $1.4 billion in revenue.

The task of the Music Australia Council – comprising eight members appointed by Arts Minister Tony Burke – is to reverse those fortunes.

“Australian musicians have been crying out for greater support and strategic investment. Music Australia will deliver what the industry needs to grow and realise its potential, at home and internationally,” Mr Burke said in a statement.

Who is on the Music Australia council?

The appointees most familiar to music fans will be Gordi, the folktronica singer-songwriter known for her excellent J Award nominated 2020 album Our Two Skins (which the PM is a fan of). Offstage, she’s Dr Sophie Payten, who worked on the COVID frontlines as an emergency doctor.


Also on the board is Mama Kin, real name Danielle Caruana, a solo artist and co-founder and director of The Seed Fund – an arts grant fund established with her husband, acclaimed WA-based muso John Butler.

Fred Leone, the award-winning Butchulla Songman who scored a streaming hit featuring on his cousin Birdz’ track ‘Bagi-la-m Bargan’, which charted at #30 in triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2020. He is also the founder of Impossible Odds Records.

Other appointees include Michael Chugg, the legendary Australian promoter behind Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring; Petrina Convey, industry veteran and owner of UNITY Mgmt. Group, and Nathan McLay, founder and CEO of Future Classic – the independent label and management company best known for giving the world electronic super-producer Flume and non-binary drummer-turned-solo star G Flip.

Rounding out the council appointments is Fred Alale AM, co-founder and Chair of African Music and Cultural Festival Inc.; Lisa Baker, City of Playford’s arts and culture manager, and Creative Australia CEO Adrian Collette AM.

“It’s essential that Australian musicians and industry experts themselves have a seat at the table – and that’s what these appointments will achieve,” said Mr Burke.

“With their dedication, passion and expertise in Australian music, the appointees will make sure that Australian music is the soundtrack to life in Australia.”

Australian music is world-class, remaining a Top 10 market globally – and even surpassing the growth of the UK and US — according to reports from the IFPI, an organisation representing the worldwide recording industry.

But beneath the surface, Australian music is struggling.

What will the Music Australia Council do for Aussie artists?

Following consultation with Australian music industry bodies – such as ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) and royalties agencies APRA and PPCA – one major issue Music Australia will invest in is making artists export-ready.

Artists who’ve found success Down Under – such as Amy Shark, Budjerah and 1300 – have told Double J firsthand about the difficulties of ‘making it’ overseas.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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todayAugust 23, 2023 3

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