Those following Music Australia’s transition over the past couple of years will be aware of quite a few changes. We’re pleased to report our transformation agenda is now largely complete. With a fully operational Sydney office, skilled staff, specialist part time writers, effective branding and trade mark in place, our organisation is now fully fit for purpose. Music Australia is proud to have significantly strengthened our role and services as Australia’s leading national service and development organisation, devoted to advancing all forms of music.
Our growing constituency and increasing readership are generating solid demand for our services. This in turn is increasing our influence and impact. We now have real capabilities as a change making organisation strategically positioned across professional, education and community sectors, working to strengthen Australian musical life for the sector, audiences and the broader community.
Our refreshed activities program has had good uptake and 2015 highlights include:
- A coalition we have built with all contemporary music peak bodies, which will see us produce a National Contemporary Music Plan for the whole industry in 2016
- A sold out national Roundtable we convened is set to become the contemporary music sector’s major policy and industry development forum and clearing house from 2016
- Implementing a national agenda with stakeholders to foster growth and development of classic and art music practice that is future focused, working towards a 2017 National Art Music Forum
- Music Talks, a well-attended national industry seminar series held in three cities with partners
- A school music education program which is the largest in the country, and in 2015 broke all records with participation by 550,000 students, 2,100 schools and 3,500 teachers.
On the communications front, a suite of new digital tools are in place, and delivering results. Our website users have tripled in 2015, over 13,500 people subscribe to our fortnightly enews growing at 35 percent, we enjoy consistent social media uptake growing at 25 percent, and our current combined digital reach exceeds 67,000.
Demand for our services continues to grow, evidenced by the unanimous backing for a significant national plan by our music industry peak bodies, similar leadership requests from national music education associations, and an ever expanding education program.
Central to our impact is our people. We are proud to have over 600,000 Australians accessing our services annually – the largest reach of any music service agency in the country. The engine room for this are the 300 professionals who work with us; including our staff and board, advisory groups, working groups, expert Councillors, peak body members and industry partners. This represents a powerful coalition and expert national brains trust for music. We thank and salute you all!
Financially, Music Australia is in a solid position as we prepare our next strategic plan. City of Sydney have expanded their venue support, our schools program is funded for three more years, and we have financial support from APRA AMCOS. Our strengthened platforms and services are more attractive to advertisers and members, with a forty percent increase in earned income this year. At this point we are making application to the Australia Council for core funding for another four years from 2017, to enable us to continue to play our part as a strong national contributor to the strategic development of music.
We’ll release our 2016 program early in the New Year, but for now we share two key priorities:
- Maximising our influence into the wider music community as a national leader to deliver high level benefits to the Australian public
- Working with key partners to contribute to growth of live music audiences.
The first of these go to the heart of how we work as an organisation. We seek to leverage our influence to foster high value propositions across the music community and to act as a catalyst with other peak agencies to achieve a powerful multiplier effect on behalf of the broader sector. As always, leveraging our independent, honest broker status, and fostering cooperation with all our allies, is the key to our strength.
The second is, we believe, the major national priority for music, and so for ourselves. Paid audiences represent a key challenge for the whole sector, from popular to art music. Data shows audiences are under pressure, and impacted by multiple digital, demographic and economic factors. We will work with our industry partners to champion and support audience growth – by fostering shared learning, improvement, and sector development via quality information and representation.