Music Australia is the only body in Australia devoted to music in its entirety.
Music Australia is a not for profit national umbrella body and champion for all music. We work independently and with members and partners to stimulate and promote the value of music, school music education, sector professional development and public engagement. We provide advocacy and information services to strengthen music in Australia, and run projects including Australia’s largest school music program Music: Count Us In; and a contemporary music industry conference. The organisation enjoys high levels of respect and utilisation by the professional music sector, has a growing membership, a well-equipped Sydney office, solid digital platforms, and substantial engagement with over 700,0000 Australians accessing services annually.
Music Australia was established in 1994 as the Music Council of Australia by Dr Richard Letts to provide a unified voice in Australia for all forms of music, a role that remains unique to this day. Over twenty years the organisation has brought people together from across the music sector to work with a common purpose to advance musical life in Australia. The outputs and achievements have been numerous including:
- Equally championing the professional industry, community sector and music education, encompassing all aspects of contemporary and classical music
- International recognition as winner of the UNESCO linked International Music Council’s Musical Rights Award in 2011 for the national advocacy campaign Music: Play For Life
- Principle project Music: Count Us In has grown into one of the world’s largest school music participation programs – uniting 3,000 schools and 660,000 student annually
- Over 300 national music experts have served as Councillors representing all facets of music and major national organisations
- Engaged advocacy for music has been delivered through numerous government submissions and representations
- A passionate commitment to music education has contributed to arts being included in the Australian school curriculum
- A national Contemporary Music Plan has been produced, developed in partnership with a broad industry coalition
- The National Contemporary Music Roundtable has become Australia’s leading policy and industry development conference.
In 2013 founder Dr Richard Letts retired, and a thorough strategic review led to a rebranding in 2014 as Music Australia, together with new staff and website, revamped communications and programs, and the opening of a first ever office in Sydney. By 2016 sector engagement and reach had grown to the point where Music Australia services reached a record 700,000 Australians.
In 2017 a new chapter commenced – without operational government funding – leading to a more independent and streamlined operation, with a stronger project focus underpinned by Music: Count Us In and the Contemporary Music Roundtable. Information services continue to play a central role, centred around a widely read newsletter, providing credible music information for the whole sector.
In December 2017 second CEO Chris Bowen retired after five years service. During his tenure Chris oversaw a rebranding, expanded involvement in contemporary music, instigated a new national conference and Contemporary Music Plan, introduced new services and digital assets, and substantially expanded Music Australia’s reach.
Music educator, composer and producer Rhonda Davidson-Irwin commenced as new CEO in February 2018.
Music Australia strives to demonstrate national leadership, be collaborative, inclusive, credible, respectful and responsive, and to equally value tradition, innovation and diversity.
Music Australia’s Sector Framework
Our work is shaped by our commitment to the whole music ecosystem, illustrated in the diagram below. This approach values and nurtures elements at all levels, to stimulate interconnections, and apply policy and market opportunities to achieve key priorities.
By way of illustration, we believe that strengthening music education can provide more pathways into professional practice, to in turn assist with industry development and participation, and stimulating music at the community level can raise public awareness and demand for music education for young people.
Music Australia Goals
Music in Industry
To work independently and with partners to effectively foster discourse, learning and exchange, disseminate information, and contribute to innovation.
Music in Communities
To expand our reach fostering music with more communities across Australia.
Music In Education
To work with music education sector and key stakeholders to improve quality, quantity, and profile of music education in Australia.
Position Music Australia as a nationally respected provider of high quality services and advocacy for Australian music and music professionals.
To provide an organisationally robust, financially sound and innovative company that delivers excellent value and services to the music sector.
Music Australia Organisational Structure
Music Australia is a not for profit proprietary limited company with a national board of directors, and 50 expert Councillors who include nominees of national music organisations, and individual experts. Music Australia has Deductible Gift Recipient status and receives multiyear funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Education. View more information about the Board and staffing structure here.
Previous Annual Reports are available for download. You can access reports here.