Report: Musos Make $12k From $1.2b Industry
News posted Monday, September 19 2011 at 05:00 PM.
Related: SLAM, Music Victoria, Live Music Report.
If you make live music in Australia, you’re probably earning little more than $12,000 a year.
This from a new report – yes, another – detailing the economic benefit of venue-based live music to the Australian economy. Launched today (September 19) by accounting firm Ernst & Young, the report concluded that live music fuels the Australian economy to the tune of $1.2 billion, generating about 14,800 full-time jobs.
The cut for musicians, however, is rather grim: $277 million out of the venues' profit and salaries of $652 million equating to a mean average of $12,200 per performer. “Life is better with live music for everyone, except the practitioners, Australia’s musicians, who continue to earn much less than the dole,” Helen Marcou, co-founder of industry lobby group SLAM, said.
In the wake of the report, she said SLAM would be calling on equality in arts funding for contemporary music, as well as the distribution of revenue from the Alcohol Excise and Wine Equalization Tax to musicians. “Whilst alcohol remains the currency of live music, the government and alcohol companies continue to reap huge rewards, however, our musicians who provide the draw card, the background, the ambience, the excitement and the passion are cut out of the profits.”
The announcement follows the recent $1.88 billion figure estimated by Live Performance Australia for big ticket concerts (festivals, stadium shows, opera and theatre), as well as last month’s landmark report into the contribution of live music to Victoria’s economy. That report suggested Victorian musicians make around $19,500 a year, prompting a controversial op-ed from Kim Salmon, which was echoed on M+N by label manager/musician Andrew Keese.
While the new figures might not make good reading for musicians, Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan said putting a dollar amount on live music will help shape government policy.
“Music Victoria commends APRA, the Australia Council, Live Performance Australia, Arts Victoria and Arts NSW for commissioning the national live music report. It is long overdue and will help inform the national regulatory framework and policy direction of governments. The industry will be seeking funds to undertake a similar report biennially so the industry can measure any changes or trends.”
Another positive to come out of the report is the finding that venues have been hosting live music for an average of 13 years, making an even more compelling case for the adoption of the “agent of change” principle, which protects established venues from gentrification and the resultant rise of noise complaints. “[Venues] need stronger protection in planning law to ensure that they can’t be shut down by one complaint by a new neighbour in a hastily built new apartment,” Donovan said.
Music Victoria will be making submissions to next month’s Tax Summit and National Cultural Policy arguing for live performers to receive a share of the alcohol excise tax which they help fund, as well as working with Centrelink to recognise musicians’ work as a legitimate career.