The federal government’s inquiry into the music industry is gathering pace, as scores of submissions have been delivered, accepted, and many are now open to public scrutiny.

TIO understands the committee overseeing the inquiry, led by chair Luke Howarth MP, met yesterday to process and approve a round of documents for publication. At close of business, the number of submissions had swelled to 67.

Documents from Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Music Australia, Australian Venues Association, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and others are among them. More are expected. A spokesperson for the committee says the final figure could top 100.

On the instruction of Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts is conducting an inquiry into the “factors affecting the growth and sustainability of the Australian music industry.”

Speaking on behalf of the committee, Howarth noted at launch, “We believe that Australian music can be more competitive and we will be investigating ways the Australian music industry can continue to grow sustainably.”

It’s unclear when the inquiry may start proper, though a committee secretariat rep tells TIO hearings could kick off as early as December, though a date and venue hasn’t been locked in. The committee will meet again next week to consider the last batch of submissions.

TIO explored some of the reading material now at the committee’s fingertips.

The Association of Artist Managers (AAM):

“A range of structural, cultural and economic barriers impede the growth and sustainability of the music industry, and artist managers navigate these every day,” the trade body’s submission reads.

“Without solutions, new models and successful managers the hurdles for new Australian music to be discovered and successful, both domestically and internationally, are increasingly difficult to overcome.”

The AAM conducted a membership survey that found its members manage seven individual musicians, and they’re generous contributors of unpaid time, expertise and cash to the music biz. A lot of cash.

They’re managing Australian cultural production valued upwards of $390 million each year, of which 20% originates from abroad.

leanne de souza
AAM’s Leanne de Souza

Its key identified opportunities for the next five years: access to international markets; data, new technologies & income streams; access to funding, education & professional development activities; next generation management business model development; and human resources support services

Nightlife Music:

According to a new study published by Nielsen Music, the music industry squanders a fortune –$2.65 billion — from shops and businesses that misuse personal music-streaming services. It’s a timely report, and its argument is one Nightlife has been making some years.

“Our primary concern relates to the proliferation of consumer streaming services into the public performance environment with no effective policy or party(s) assigned to address the issue.

“Whilst these services are fantastic for personal use and essential to the resurgence of the Australian Music Industry, they are not targeted, licensed nor priced appropriately for use in our sector,” Nightlife’s submission reads.

Generally speaking, the public has little grasp on the public performance sector, a space which “is in the early stages of a similar digital disruption where once again technology is dictating business customer expectations faster than rights holders can anticipate.”

Among its recommendations: the creation of an independent body to oversee the public performance sector.

RMIT University:

No doubt about it. The music industry is a lad’s game. In her submission on behalf of RMIT, Dr Catherine Strong addresses gender equity and explains how we got to this male-dominated field. Networks, gatekeeping; confidence; gendering of music; education and technology all play their part.

“These factors ultimately lead to an extraordinary loss of talent to the Australian community, and also to the Australian economy. The music industry thrives on having a large pool of creativity and innovative ideas to draw upon.

“The contributions that women could make if access to music making was made easier, and if they were actively encouraged to move into this area, would be of benefit to all Australians, as well as to these women themselves.”

Strong pitches a framework for women’s equal participation in music which would include research, funding and assessment.

The federal government is “uniquely positioned” to provide that support in a way that is “sustainable and equitably distributed across the country,” the paper reads.

ARIA:

The record industry has seen good times, and terrible times. ARIA wants to plant the seeds for many more good times ahead, by making a suggestion the industry and government “works towards an ambitious goal of Australian music gaining a 5% market share of the global music market by 2030.”

Based on discussions with its members, ARIA rolls out the key themes creators’ rights; investment; export; local content; music cities and live music; and music education.

Commercial Radio Australia:

“Playing music is just a small part of commercial radio’s contribution to the Australian music industry,” reads the CRA’s submission.

“The Australian commercial radio industry also provides a substantial amount of support for the music industry through its broader content, competitions and events.”

The peak body for commercial radio shares a long list of its success stories with promoting homegrown artists and assures that it’s working closely with APRA and ARIA to monitor the proportion of Australian music played on its members’ stations.

“Indications so far are that compliance is very high,” the CRA report reads.

Read the submissions here.