Iva Davies’ Icehouse brought some Hall of Fame cred to the second NSW Parliamentary Friends of Australian Music (PFOAM), staged Wednesday night in Sydney as a friendly reminder to decision-makers of the greater good of the state’s music industry.

More than 100 ministers, senators, Parliament House staff and members of the PRO watched on as Icehouse, William Barton, Leah Flanagan, William Crighton and KLP took the mic at NSW Parliament House, notes APRA, one of the organisers of the gathering.

Guests learnt the state’s contemporary music live concert revenue and festival circuit generates more than $200 million in annual revenue, based on LPA data, and that, without support on the big issues, from copyright and pressures on live venues through to Australian content on radio and streaming services, everyone hurts.

Icehouse’s Davies noted his alternative rock outfit last year played 35 shows, to more than 300,000 people, many in regional spots. His band travels with a core touring party of 16 people and, along the way, “every hotel is full, every restaurant is buzzing, and we are employing around 400 people.”

Iva Davies at PFOAM
Iva Davies at PFOAM

The industry is “running on its live business,” Davies said. “And what radio and all those other outlets does is promote where the money is coming from and where the life blood of those artists come from, which is what we do – we perform. You can have your recording and listen to it whenever you want, and you can listen to your radio, but there’s one thing you’ll never be able to put in a bottle, and that is a performance.”

Also taking the stage was singer-songwriter Leah Flanagan, who talked copyright and noted, “Royalties, for me, makes a dramatic difference to my life, whether it be paying my office bills, or my rent for a week, or the power bill, copyright and the royalties that it facilities make a huge impact to me as an artist.”

Leah Flanagan
Leah Flanagan

Wednesday’s event also saw rising Sydney rockers Spruced Moose celebrated as the winner of this year’s AHA NSW Rockin’ The Puburbs , a competition launched last year to support live music throughout the state and give a leg up for young and up-and-coming musicians.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting at Bigsound last month, APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston called for the industry to present a united front ahead of a crucial federal parliamentary inquiry. “One of the key messages we want to take to government is, we’re not a one portfolio horse, we cross all government portfolios. There’s a relevance to our industry for all portfolios,” he said. “The conversation amongst all of us over the next couple of weeks will be really important in terms of bringing our various views and opinions together and articulating clear strategy to government.”

Musicians are so often the industry’s most powerful voices. In March of this year, John Paul Young, Kasey Chambers, Ian Moss and All Our Exes Live In Texas were on hand to unpack the key issues affecting the music biz with government leaders at Parliament House in Canberra for a PFOAM “Rock the House” event.