The fledgling Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC) is taking shape, with the unveiling of its first full board and the appointment of the advocacy group’s inaugural Executive General Manager, Craig Spann.

Spann, a veteran presence in the Brisbane music scene, brings to the role more than 20 years’ experience, from government and business relations, to media and communications, music policy development, strategic planning and more.

A former journalist and artist, Spann’s CV includes stints working with Virgin Australia, AMIN, QMusic and News Corp.

“The live music industry has always been innovative and resilient, but 2020 has challenged our industry like never before,” Spann comments in a statement issued Wednesday.

Live music… pre-COVID

“Now is the time to unite and use the collective strength of our voices to ensure the survival of our industry and be ready for a strong recovery,” he continues.

“I am both humbled and excited to work with the ALMBC and all our members to not only recover from this crisis, but build a stronger live music industry able to weather future storms.”

The council launched July 2 with an interim committee, as a “collective voice for small businesses” and to advocate on behalf of the “backstage voices” in the live music ecosystem.

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Now, the organisation boasts 500 businesses in its membership, representing over 30,000 employees with a combined revenue upwards of $300 million.

Meanwhile, the council today unveils its newly-appointed board. Its members are: Stephen Wade (Select Music), Sharlene Harris (ALH), Brian Chaldil (OzTix/Media Rare), Sophie Kirov (Lost Motel/Badlands), Christina Allen (Seamlaas), Nicholas Greco (Untitled), Phaedra Watts (Nannup Music Festival), Emily York (Penny Drop), Ross Macpherson (Macro Music), Jess Mizrahi (Deloitte Access Economics) and Haydn Johnston (Architects of Entertainment).

“Our recent member survey clearly showed the crisis our industry now faces as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, meaning it is now more important than ever that the live music industry speaks with a united voice,” explains Wade.

Also, notes Wade, ALMBC is working with a range of First Nations organisations and community leaders to nominate a representative to the ALMBC Board, and a range of resources and services are in the works, which are intended to help live music get back to health.

Settling on the makeup of the board “has been a detailed process to ensure it reflects the real-world experience of our industry and acknowledges the diversity of people and business across the country,” he continues.

Stephen Wade

In related news, Wade was presented with a Special Achievement Award at the National Live Music Awards, for his work in setting up the ALMBC.

The fifth annual awards took place Tuesday night.