Australia’s Live Music Biz Gets Gov’t Funding Boost

The Australian government has pledged A$560,000 ($508,000) for the creation of an office dedicated to supporting the country’s live music scene.

The Federal government has allocated the funding over three years for the National Live Music Office, which will be housed within the Sydney headquarters of the Australasian Performing Right Assn.

Recently appointed national live music coordinator Ianto Ware will helm the office. Ware will help make sense of the regulations which strangle so many smaller live venues.

The office will “identify and advocate for reforms to the planning, building and licensing laws that have been ravaging live music and arts venues in Australia in recent years,” according to a statement issued by APRA.

Among the office’s projects will be the launch of a “National Best Practice Guide,” which would set a standard for state and local governments who wish to support the country’s live music industry.

Australia’s live entertainment business generates some $1.2 billion in revenues, services almost 42 million ticket holders and creates almost 15,000 full-time jobs, according to a 2011 study commissioned by APRA/AMCOS. But live also has its problem.

The owners of the iconic Sydney venue the Annandale Hotel lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills fighting restrictive licensing restrictions. When similar problems threatened the existence of Melbourne’s Tote Hotel in 2010, tens of thousands took to the streets for the Save Live Australia’s Music (SLAM) rally. On that occasion, people-power saved the venue.

In a show of solidarity, hundreds of live venues around the country perform under the SLAM Day banner each February.

“There have been a couple of reports that show whilst live music is one of the most popular forms of cultural activity in the country,” Ware told this reporter earlier this year, “something like 70% of venues said regulation had a serious impact on their capacity to host it.”

Ware is keen to cut through the red tape.

 

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