The Turnbull Federal Government is planning to axe all funding for Sounds Australia at the end of 2016.
A statement from Tony Burke, the Shadow Minister for the Arts, confirms that the Australian government has no current plans to continue to fund Sounds Australia past the end of this year, putting Australian acts who export music around the world via conferences such as SXSW, Musexpo and Canadian Music Week at a loss for overseas support.
Mr Burke’s statement reads:
In Senate Estimates last night it was confirmed that the Turnbull Government is planning to axe the funding for Sounds Australia at the end of this year.
Sounds Australia has been responsible for a massive increase in opportunities for Australian artists around the world. The figures speak for themselves. In 2009, Australian 49 artists were appearing at international events. In just 5 years Sounds Australia took that to 263 – an increase of 437 per cent.
SENATOR BILYK: Sounds Australia does a brilliant job promoting Australian music to the world, but I understand that funding for this vital work has not been guaranteed beyond 31 December 2016?
ARTS DEPARTMENT: That’s correct Senator.
This government seems determined to attack live music from every angle. Support has dropped off for the live music office, the Australia Council funding has been attacked and visa arrangements look set to cause real damage to the touring and festival circuit.
Live music matters, with the advent of streaming Australian artists rely more and more on live performance to be able to remain in the industry. Accessing the international market is essential to making sure Australian music can thrive. The Minister can fix this with one simple decision.
At the exact time we should be turning the volume up for live music this government is reaching for the off switch. It can be fixed, it must be.
All it takes is for the Minister Mitch Fifield to guarantee funding for Sounds Australia for next year and beyond and our live musicians will be able to continue to have the opportunities and support essential for an Australian soundtrack.
Sounds Australia is dedicated to Australia’s export music market and development it is a joint initiative of the Australia council and APRA/AMCOS and in the past has been supported by the Federal Government and the State Government and Agencies.
The Australian music industry has been reliant on the work of Sounds Australia to navigate Australian acts through the international music maze. Australia sends around 50 acts to the world’s biggest music conference SXSW in Austin, Texas every year in March. When acts arrive in Austin they are confronted with over 2000 other artists from all over the world competing for the same ears to arrange recording contracts, distribution and touring as well as synch deals for TV and movies, merch manufacturing, marketing and promotion.
As most Australian acts operate as small businesses, they are not resourced to best exploit the international market. Sounds Australia is that support. Without Sounds Australia, the Turnbull Federal Government is turning its back on the small business sector and a business sector with proven success in export.
Last week Tony Burke spoke of the importance of the Australian music industry in Parliament. Watch the video here:
Watch the video on Noise11.com: Tony Burke – The Importance of Live Music