2017 marks a new direction for Music Australia. For the first time in nearly a decade the organisation will be without operational government funding. After eight years as a multi-year client, our Australia Council funding concludes in December 2016. So we must now adapt to changed circumstances and an income reduction that equates to a quarter of turnover.
The good news is that our School Music Program Music: Count Us In continues to thrive, and has had a record breaking year. Its Australian Government Education Department funding continues until 2018. A new Sydney Contemporary Music Roundtable conference has also grown rapidly, and is now positioned as the go to event for contemporary music policy and industry development. City of Sydney have backed our conference and increased the subsidy on our office rent, and we have same marvellous supporters including APRA AMCOS, our growing membership base, and our partners and advertisers.
Our sector engagement and reach are stronger than ever, and this year our services will reach a record 700,000 Australians. These provide solid foundations to refocus the organisation, and explore new directions.
These will see a shift from a service organisation to a project company offering a smaller range of services. Existing projects will be scaled up and new ones developed. Key projects are the Music: Count Us In school music program and the Roundtable conference – our major platform to service the contemporary sector. We also have a national community music project on the drawing board, and a new music sector statistical report being scoped.
We will continue our information services which enjoy good reach, and are important to our sector engagement. You can expect our fortnightly enews and rich Opportunities listings to continue, across all music – professional, community and education.
We will also continue to cover and speak out on the key issues of the day, with the virtue of greater independence enabling up to be frank and fearless in making the case for Australian music.
We will scale back other services consistent with a 25 percent reduction of turnover and staffing. We will continue to play an active role in music education advocacy, but reduce other advocacy, where we will support rather than lead. Our seminars and workshops will focus on music education. Areas not currently resourced beyond information are classical and community music. The latter can be addressed if our proposed community music project gets up.
To viably achieve the above, we will utilise some reserves to invest in our operations in 2017. This will enable us to properly service our projects, and retain our sector positioning, while seeking new revenue sources and directions.
An operational plan for 2017 has been developed which lays out our activities in detail.
The change in finances also necessitates a rethink of strategic direction and purpose, and the Board and Staff will hold a Planning Day in early 2017 to chart a new strategic plan for Music Australia.
We are tremendously proud of our achievements, enormously grateful to the huge numbers of supporters of our work, and can guarantee we will give you all the best possible service in 2017!