A Shorten Labor Government will introduce the most comprehensive contemporary music policy by an Australian government.

From encouraging more Australian children to learn and play music, to assisting young bands reach overseas markets, to more support for live music and ensuring fans aren’t being ripped off when they buy tickets – Labor wants to see more Australians making music, listening to music, and seeing music live.

The music industry contributes nearly $6 billion to the Australian economy each year. According to ARIA, the Australian music industry will be worth $100 billion globally within a decade. Live music alone supports around 64,000 jobs in Australia. More Australians attend live music than sport.

Labor wants to make sure the live music industry continues to grow, and to see more Australians with stable jobs in a thriving local industry.

Labor’s music policy all comes back to one single objective: We want to inspire the next generation of Australian artists and to see more international success stories.

Labor wants to make sure Australian kids have the chance to learn music, regardless of where they live. While many Australian kids are lucky enough to have parents who encourage them to learn an instrument at a young age, more and more kids now rely on their school to learn to play an instrument. To help schools facilitate learning, a Shorten Labor Government will provide $7 million in extra support for music education and music teachers. The funding will go towards expanding school programs such as SongMakers which brings musicians into schools, and Song Room, dedicated to providing music and art lessons to disadvantaged kids.

One of the biggest barriers for younger musicians is having a space to practice together. Labor will provide $5 million in grant funding to establish and grow music hubs around the country. This funding will provide support to councils, schools, neighborhood centres or community spaces to set up a music hub where students and musicians in the local area can come, learn, collaborate and practice. Funding could be used for soundproofing, equipment, instruments, acoustic assessments or refurbishments.

Labor wants more emerging artists to have the opportunity to record an album for public release and to play at live music venues. Labor will commit over $10m to the “new Sounds Australia” to deliver the functions of the office of live music to help them work with local governments to remove barriers for live music venues around the country. This means more places for young musicians to play, but also more venues for music lovers to see live performances locally. Labor will also double the funding to the New Recordings program to help a further ten new Australian artists record an EP. The current program allows for ten albums to be recorded a year, and has helped artists such Courtney Barnett and Alex the Astronaut gain an audience.

One of the key foundations of Sounds Australia is to showcase Australian music overseas. Labor’s commitment to the new Sounds Australia will expand its reach and build on the 1500 Australian groups that have been showcased at international events in over 23 countries. This means more musicians have a pathway to staying in the industry and more Australian music is heard here and around the world. Part of showcasing our music overseas will be small grants that are made available to help promote emerging Australian bands around the world, particularly in new markets such as Asia. Sounds Australia and the Association of Artists Managers will work together and, when needed, provide modest grants to assist with practical measures to help bands get a foothold including costs of airfares, local management and connections and assistance with booking venues. These grants could mean the difference between a new band making it in a new market or not.

Labor’s music policy will also include measures such as:

  • cracking down on ticket scalping websites such as Viagogo
  • increased funding for music and mental health programs.

The policies we are announcing today are aimed at boosting every aspect of Australian music. We want Australian music to be heard, Australian artists to stay in the industry and the next generation to be inspired. And we want to make it easier for music fans to buy tickets to the bands they love.

We believe in what our songwriters, musicians, performers and music industry do. We think it matters. Our Australian soundtrack matters. Let’s turn up the volume.

More information on Labor’s policy can be found here.

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