Australian singer-songwriter and APRA AMCOS Chair Jenny Morris gave a formal address at the National Press Club today (August 5) about the economic benefits of supporting local music.
Titled “Australia – A Music Nation And The Path To Become A Music Industry powerhouse”, Morris’ address highlighted the profile and growth of Australian music in recent years and the importance of addressing policy, investment and industry settings to maintain its sustainability.
Morris, who was diagnosed five years ago with spasmodic dysphonia, had enlisted fellow singer-songwriter Gordi (aka Sophie Payten) to help deliver portions of her speech.
Through Payten, Morris spoke of the economic benefits of supporting homegrown music: “A good song also builds Australia’s intellectual property assets, generating big incomes – including export earnings, because a good song travels the world finding new performers and new audiences.”
Morris made direct arguments toward the policymakers in attendance, noting how Australian artists have continued to make a name for themselves overseas each year. To illustrate her point, she referred to artists such as Tones And I, The Kid Laroi, Sia, Courtney Barnett, Rufus du Sol and more. “Year upon year Australian acts are booked for career-defining festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball,” she added.
But Morris also outlined three major pain points that affect the Australian music industry’s sustainability and growth, which included education, red tape in planning decisions and national music quotas.
On the first point, Morris called for songwriting as part of quality music education, saying, “Teaching composition and songwriting invests in Australia’s intellectual property, so we’re creating careers and generating income for the nation.
“Not only that but music is often the subject that entices school attendance, especially in low socio-economic and remote areas,” she said.
To conclude her address, Morris called for four actions. The first was a federal, state and local, whole of government policy and investment commitment to Australia as a net exporter of music. Second, a commitment to providing equity of access to music in schools nationally and songwriting as part of the national curriculum.
Thirdly, she called for the protection and promotion of the cultural infrastructure of live music venues. And lastly, to incentivise and ensure the production and performance of local music content across all media platforms.