Australia’s Music Industry Welcomes New Arts Minister – Billboard

BRISBANE, Australia — Australian politics’ worst-kept secret was made formal Wednesday (June 1), when Tony Burke was sworn in as federal minister of the arts.

Burke, an avid music fan who has enamored himself with the domestic music industry and, during his years in the shadow cabinet, pledged to champion the creative industries. He can now prove his support as Australia’s arts minister, an appointment that was confirmed earlier this week when prime minister elect Anthony Albanese unveiled his cabinet.

The incoming minister will be expected to deliver a “national cultural policy that recognizes the true social, cultural and economic value of music – and of creativity at large – to the lives of Australians,” reads a statement Thursday (June 2) from ARIA and PPCA.

In welcoming Burke to his high-profile new role, the trade bodies note Burke “has an obvious passion for local music and understands the opportunities and challenges that the industry faces.” The message continues, “for too long our industry has been lobbying for measurable and considered support taking into account the disruption over the last years; we look forward to working with the minister on a roadmap to real recovery and growth.”

Burke is a regular, visible presence at concerts and music industry events around the country. He attended the most recent Bluesfest with Albanese during the Easter long weekend, and he was among guests at the 2022 APRA Music Awards and the 2022 Australian Women In Music Awards in Brisbane, where he presented one of the night’s 20 categories.

APRA AMCOS also welcomed Burke, noting “we look forward to working with you and the Albanese Government on a plan to develop the next chapter of success for the great Australian music industry.”

The next chapter, the industry hopes, will form around a three-point plan, presented by an alliance of 16 music industry organizations ahead of the May 21 election.

In an open letter under the headline “Live, Local, Digital, Global,” creatives called on the nation’s leaders to prioritize issues around direct investment in the creation of homegrown music; skills development and global exports; incentivizing the use of local content on streaming and broadcast platforms; a federally implemented and government-backed insurance system, similar to those in place in New Zealand and element; and more.

Australia is a Top 10-ranked market, according to the IFPI. Wholesale revenue in 2021 came to A$565.8 million, up 4.4% from A$542 million in 2020, for a 15-year high, ARIA reported in March. Those results, however, were tempered by the IFPI’s findings that Australia “was the lowest performing market globally,” the Federation’s CEO Frances Moore confirmed during the presentation of the Global Music Report 2022. After two-plus years in a state of deep freeze, the domestic touring market is warming up.

Also on Thursday, ARIA and PPCA welcomed the appointment of Mark Dreyfus as Attorney-General, a position with responsibility for copyright; and new communications minister Michelle Rowland.

Separately, Ford Ennals, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, welcomed Rowland as “an excellent appointment” who “has deep media expertise and the radio industry welcomes her stated commitment to bringing Australia’s media laws into the digital age.”

With his own social post, British singer, songwriter and activist Billy Bragg gave a shout out to “old mate Albo,” declaring the new PM as “the right person for the job. He has a socialism of the heart.”

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