In a move that should have been made yonks ago, the Australian Government has elected a National Live Music Coordinator as one of the first steps taken with the Sounds Australia program, which is set to give the Australian live music scene a much-needed shot in the arm.
The decision shows a much more serious commitment to this oft-neglected area of politics than we’ve ever really seen. Arts Minister Simon Crean today announced that Dr Ianto Ware will be rising up to the challenge of supporting local venue-based live music, as well as working towards making Australia’s live music exports far more competitive on the international stage.
“Dr Ware’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.
By all accounts, Ware seems to be the man for the job. As top dog of Renew Adelaide and founding director of Format Adelaide, Ware has been exposed to artists, venues, government, local councils and industry associations and therefore understands the delicate dance between them all.
The Australian government has allocated $3 million to the Sound Australia project – a joint venture featuring both Australia Council for the Arts and APRA|AMCOS with total support from the federal government.
A 2011 study from APRA|AMCOS (Via Watch Out For) may have provided the sort of numbers the politicians needed to get inspired. The study shows that on average the Australian live music scene injected $1.2 billion to the economy annually – collected from almost 42 million patrons – and created nearly 15,000 full-time jobs Australia-wide.
“Sounds Australia has been very successful in connecting Australian musicians with international markets. This 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.” says Libby Christie, Australia Council Acting CEO of the recently announced game plan.