Labor’s Tony Burke Name-Checks Your Fave Aussie Artists In Parliament While Standing Up For Live Mus

Written by Emmy Mack on 13th October, 2016

Labor’s Tony Burke Name-Checks Your Fave Aussie Artists In Parliament While Standing Up For Live Mus

Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke has gone into bat for live music during a sitting of Aussie parliament this week.

Spurred on by the Turnbull Government’s controversial plan to hike up visa processing fees by a whopping 600 per cent — a move which Live Performance Australia says could dramatically impact the ability of international acts to tour Australia — Mr Burke took the Coalition to task on their lack of support for live music and implementation of decisions that could destroy the sector.

Name-checking the likes of Julia Jacklin (who he seems to be a big fan of, BTW) and Sticky Fingers, Burke schooled the House on the challenges faced by the modern music industry and explained that new artists are facing a “very different situation in Australia to that faced by bands like Midnight Oil or Cold Chisel”.

“Whereas previously bands were able to take a portion of their income from album sales and a portion of their income from live performance, many now have to work on the basis that the album sale part of the royalty is effectively written off because of streaming,” he explained.

“What that means is that live performance needs to fill the gap if we are going to have the sort of live music industry in Australia that members of this House grew up with.

“Major decisions will have to be made by the government that will have a very real bearing on whether Australian artists are able to make this transition in getting continued access to live venues in Australia, internationally and on the festival circuit,” Burke continued, going on to lament the loss of Sydney venues that have replaced live music with pokie machines, and explaining how Aussie artists will be negatively impacted by the Government’s planned increase on international entertainment Visas.

“We have some changes being mooted to visa fees which create a real question as to whether or not the festivals will be able to get the headline acts which are required to provide space for the local artists,” Burke said.

Watch Tony Burke’s speech alongside its full transcript, below.

Transcript:

Live music has provided the soundtrack for the lives of Australians for a very long time, and live music is now going through an extraordinarily challenging transition, with the advent of streaming and difficulties that many are facing in having access to live venues. If you take a typical weekend like the one I have just had, the soundtrack went through Jimmy Barnes, the Oils, The Cat Empire, Josh Pyke, Sticky Fingers and a fantastic new album by Julia Jacklin, with a very special title that we would all ascribe to, Don’t let the kids win. She is a wonderful artist from the Blue Mountains, whose album has come out only in the last few days.

New artists like Julia Jacklin or the members of Sticky Fingers are facing a very different situation in Australia to that faced by bands like Midnight Oil or Cold Chisel. Whereas previously bands were able to take a portion of their income from album sales and a portion of their income from live performance, many now have to work on the basis that the album sale part of the royalty is effectively written off because of streaming. What that means is that live performance needs to fill the gap if we are going to have the sort of live music industry in Australia that members of this House grew up with.

Live performance needs to fill the gap in all three ways: access to live venues in Australia, access to live venues internationally and the importance of the festival circuit, which in some ways has provided some additional opportunities for Australian artists that were not there previously. However, with respect to all three, major decisions will have to be made by the government that will have a very real bearing on whether Australian artists are able to make this transition in getting continued access to live venues in Australia, internationally and on the festival circuit.

I saw a terrible time in Sydney when venue after venue decided to remove their stages and instead fill their venues with poker machines. What we established in place of that was the Live Music Office, to actively be in there helping remove the type of red tape that effectively reduced the volume to zero.

Similarly, Sounds Australia requires a level of support which is not currently there. The Australia Council has made an attempt to fill the gap by providing some funding to both the Live Music Office and to Sounds Australia, but the Australia Council can only do so much. At the same time, we have some changes being mooted to visa fees which create a real question as to whether or not the festivals will be able to get the headline acts which are required to provide space for the local artists.


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