“How do you get a musician off your property?”
“Pay him for the pizza.”

This is no joke in Australia, 2016. Even the Greens want to throw a lifeline to musicians on Struggle Street.

Labor wants to throw much-needed money at the Yarts, some of which might even flow on to a lucky few in the local music industry. At LNP headquarters, the party faithful continues to dream of superfluous coinage trickling down to anyone with sufficient patience.

A bright shining blip, however, is now pulsing on the Jobs’n’Growth Radar.

A package of reforms that would arrest further damage and put the wheels back on a derailed local industry, is being presented to politicians of all persuasions.

The reforms, cleverly engineered by The Association of Australian Musicians (AM), have emerged from the ranks of Australia’s independent musicians. Around 10,000 of them have been galvanised by circumstances dominated by powerful forces hell-bent on leaving artists with only the chewed-off remains of the short end of the straw.

Among the more obvious problems facing Australian musicians who don’t enjoy cushy Beyonce levels of fame, are the difficulties of getting air-play on TV and radio, a depressed live music scene, and under-representation at festivals and in media reportage.

On top of this, copyright is under attack. The current federal government is hoping to limit songwriters and composers from earning royalties for any longer than 15–25 years.

If the new copyright conditions come into force, a song such as The Easybeats’ ‘Friday On My Mind’, could be used without permission from its writers, Harry Vanda and George Young. And they can forget about payment for use of their intellectual property — the song was written 40 years ago.

The reforms proposed by AM, deal with all these problems directly.

AM believes copyright is intellectual property that should be dealt with the same as real property, arguing that it would make no sense at all if a house you built would be free for the taking, 15 or 25 years after you built it.

Where air-play is concerned, the recommended quota for local content simply needs to be enforced. Logically, demand for products and performances would follow and, by extension create further demand worldwide. This would also transform the live music scene and fuel interest that would flow on to service and tourism industries.

The reforms have the potential, across multiple industries, to create many thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.

On Wednesday 15 June 2016, AM will be releasing a policy statement with comprehensive plans to revive the Australian music industry.

Please contact AM for further comment.

John Prior — AM Secretary
The Association of Australian Musicians (AM)
PO Box 150 Erskineville NSW 2043
website: theassociationofaustralianmusicians.com
email: moreaussiemusic@gmail.com
phone: 0424450881

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Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.