Yesterday, (August 5) Musician and APRA AMCOS Chair Jenny Morris addressed policymakers at the National Press Club in Canberra, calling for broader support for the local music industry in Australia.
Highlighting the growth of Australian music in recent years in global export markets, Morris said the contemporary Australian music industry is “yet to achieve its potential,” calling on the Australian Government to acknowledge the economic value of local music. Having been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia five years ago, Morris largely spoke through songwriter Gordi (Sophie Payten), who delivered parts of her speech.
“A good song builds Australia’s intellectual property assets, generating big incomes – including export earnings, because a good song travels the world finding new performers and new audiences,” Morris commented, referencing Australian artists who had achieved overseas success such as Tones and I, The Kid Laroi, Courtney Barnett and Sia.
“Year upon year Australian acts are booked for career-defining festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball. Music is a major commercial activity,” she added. “There used to be years and years between Australian artists breaking internationally. Now, our global popularity multiplies every year.”
“Now is the time for Australia to make a big statement about the economic value of our culture. We need a clear vision and I think that vision should be for Australia to become a net exporter of music.”
“We need to back ourselves. The potential reward is nation defining.”
Morris’ speech was part of a broader panel on the future of Australia’s music industry with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, and also included a discussion that included Payten, rapper L-Fresh the Lion and artist manager John Watson. Future-soul artist Ngaiire closed out the event with a performance.
Back in June, the federal government announced a $250 million rescue package for the arts and entertainment sector. While the news was largely welcomed by the industry, Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke acknowledged the length of time taken to deliver a targeted support package for the industry, pointing out that action may never have taken place without campaigns mounted by the sector.
“For months, Scott Morrison and his ministers stubbornly insisted it wasn’t necessary – that somehow an industry that had been completely shut down by coronavirus restrictions didn’t need any extra assistance. This totally unnecessary delay has done enormous damage to this industry and its workers.”
“We remain concerned that there is still no direct support for the workers themselves, many of whom miss out on JobKeeper but won’t be able to return to work anytime soon.”