The Department of Environment Water Heritage and The Arts have been working with the CMWG to develop a Federal Contemporary Music Industry Strategy, a final draft was provided to the CMWG in June 2009 for final comment prior to final consideration by the Department.
The Cultural Ministers Council, an intergovernmental forum for ministers responsible for culture and the arts in Australia and New Zealand established the Contemporary Music Development Working Group to consider and develop opportunities for the Cultural Ministers Council to work collaboratively to support the growth of the contemporary music industry. Activity has included 2008 support of a Manager Mentor Program, Drafting of Best Practice Guidelines for the legislation of Live Music expected for release 2009 and the development of a National Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan.
Source: Simpsons Solicitors
Out of what is a relatively small population Australia has produced much musical talent – both creatively and through the industry that has formed around that creativity.
There is, however, an acknowledgement that the industry has the talent and scope to achieve more than it already does. Within this the primary challenge that faces the industry is the fragmentation that defines it – meaning that stakeholders views on almost every issue differs. The effect of this is an industry that lacks a cohesive vision and a coherent path of how to get there, especially when it comes to the role of government. The effect of this can mean a series of institutions, programs and strategy created to address inappropriately articulated needs within the industry.
These core issues led to the identified need for an Industry Action Agenda, a document that would facilitate that integration and develop strategic solutions for the contemporary music industry.
In April 2006, on behalf of the Australian Contemporary Music Industry, the CMWG submitted an application to the Federal Government for that Industry Action Agenda.
Source: Simpsons Solicitors
In 1998 a $10 million Contemporary Music package was funded by the Commonwealth Government to “…provide support for the music industry and …promote its long term sustainability”. A number of initiatives were funded including the Australia Council for the Arts Contemporary Music Roundtable meetings. Taking place between 2001 and 2003, in bringing together the contemporary music industry, identified that the challenges facing the industry stemmed from or were agitated by a fragmentation within the industry. These roundtables isolated integrated communication within the industry; integrated and representational communication outside the industry (to government and the community, both nationally and internationally); integrated information (particularly in terms of local industry statistics); and integrated planning (particularly in terms of setting industry goals and developing a vision) as the fundamental issues that needed to be addressed within the industry.
A range of challenges were identified relating to:
- funding – need for tax incentives to be provided or financial assistance to the industry in order to encourage investment and participation in the industry;
- industry skills – need for individuals and organisations to be assisted to develop skills to develop Australian music;
- information – need for improvement of information available about the music industry from the collation of robust statistics in order to allow more informed decisions;
- market access and distribution – need to raise exposure of Australian music through promoting local content on Australian radio and supporting live music venues, and the need to assist Australian music to reach overseas markets through export initiatives;
- cultural – need to identify, protect and develop music that is culturally significant to Australia, including indigenous music; and
- intellectual property – need to protect Australian music by using existing laws and actively seeking changes.
Participants at these sessions recognised the responsibility the industry held in addressing these issues. Through these sessions and because of that recognition a working group was formed around those participants under the title the Contemporary Music Working Group. They were tasked with creating a report to develop strategies to address the core outcomes from these roundtables.
The result was The Power and The Passion, a report that identifies the challenges for the industry. A follow on from this report was commissioned by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), the Austereo Group, the Australian Council for the Arts and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Performers’ Trust Foundation (PPCA) where it was recommended that a Contemporary Music Industry Action Agenda would be the most effective way of reaching the desired outcomes of both these reports and the roundtables.
Out of this the Contemporary Music Working Group created a steering committee to support the development of this submission. To encompass the range of stakeholders in this endeavour the Contemporary Music Working Group Steering Committee was built to include key representative organisations that appropriately reflected the majority of the Australian Contemporary Music Industry.
Source: Simpsons Solicitors
April 2008: Contemporary Music Working Group and the 2020 Summit
Over recent years the CMWG has been building long term goals for the contemporary music industry. At 2008s 2020 Summit many of the issues identified in the “Creative Stream” were issues common within the contemporary music industry. Based on the ideas shared at the 2020 Summit there is now a common framework within which to embark upon a cross platform approach to achieve those goals.
April 2008: CMWG Work Acknowledged in Speech by Minister Peter Garrett in Key Note Speech at APRA|AMCOS Song Summit Conference
The Minister said “…Many of you will know of the CMWG which was formed in 2003 in the interests of achieving greater industry cooperation and cohesion in what has often been a highly fragmented industry… .The arts policy Labor took to the election included a commitment to work with industry in developing a Strategic Contemporary Music Industry Plan. I’m really keen to ensure the excellent work of the CMWG is not wasted and look forward to working with them to implement this plan”
Full text here.
December 2007: Change of Government
Since the change of Government, the CMWG has been working with the Cultural Ministers Council and the Contemporary Music Development Working Group to progress issues across State and Territory Governments.
September 2006: Contemporary Music Working Group Meets with Politicians in Canberra
In September of 2006 Paul Bodlovich (WAM) and Adam Simpson (Simpsons Solicitors) met with members of Federal Parliament as a follow-up to the April application of that same year for a federally funded Industry Action Agenda targetting the Australian Contemporary Music Industry.
Legislation and Reports
Contemporary Music Working Group: The Power and The Passion