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Music Development Office Strategic Plan

Supporting Revival 2023-2025

The 2023-2025 Strategic Plan focuses on cultivating a globally competitive, inclusive and sustainable ecosystem to underpin a golden era of growth for the contemporary original music industry in South Australia.

It will achieve this through strong partnerships, targeted investments and the delivery of strategic initiatives that are guided by three pillars:

  1. Sustainability – supporting a holistically sustainable ecosystem.
  2. Globally local – enabling local and diverse storytelling on a global scale.
  3. Future readiness – building a smart, innovative, and future-facing industry equipped to leverage the predicted global boom over the next decade.

The Music Development Office’s strategic objectives have been informed by consultation with the local sector in 2021 and 2022 through roundtable discussions with 33 music businesses from across the music industry ecosystem, together with insights provided by a live music venues audit undertaken by the University of South Australia.

It is designed to complement Revive, the National Cultural Policy and in particular Music Australia, aiming to leverage co-investment opportunities to benefit South Australia’s musicians and music businesses.

Key Statistics

$131bglobal predicted live music industry revenue by 2030
$16bvalue of the Australian live music and entertainment industry
90,000FTE workers throughout Australia

A new era of momentum and growth

A new era of momentum and growth is predicted for the recorded and live music industry with multiple reports predicting revenues expected to more than double globally to$131 billion by 2030[1].

In Australia, the live music and entertainment industry is already worth $16 billion to the national economy[2]. Operating nationally and internationally, the sector includes sole traders, small businesses, and large organisations, and employs more than 90,000 FTE workers.

For the first time in our nation’s history, the music sector has been recognised by the Australian Government as an artform and an industry, with holistic benefits that drive economic, social, and cultural impacts. These impacts generate vibrancy and position a city’s cultural brand, which in turn attracts tourism and business outcomes while retaining young professionals.

The introduction of the Australian Government’s National Cultural Policy, Revive, and the investment of $69.8 million into the establishment of Music Australia, has demonstrated this recognition and is set to provide a national overview to the development of contemporary music across the country.

As Australia’s only UNESCO City of Music, Adelaide has had a long history producing global talent including artists Tkay Maidza and Sia, and industry heavyweights such as sound engineer Jon Lemon, music entrepreneur (BeeGees Manager) Robert Stigwood, and Wonderlick Entertainment’s Stu MacQueen.

The South Australian Government also recognises the value of the music industry, which is why in 2014 the state established Australia’s first Music Development Office (MDO). Led by industry specialists, the MDO has been supporting the contemporary music ecosystem in South Australia for almost 10 years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the MDO led one of the first response packages in the country, administering more than $9 million dollars in support funding to 185 music businesses across the South Australian music industry.

This funding contributed to ensuring South Australian music businesses were able to continue to operate while they pivoted and implemented diversification tactics to build resilience. South Australia is one of the only states in the country which did not experience closure of multiple live music venues throughout the pandemic.

[1] 2022 Goldman Sachs Music in the Air report

[2] 2022 APRA AMCOS National Cultural Policy Submission

From 2022, the MDO implemented the South Australian Government’s $10 million, See It LIVE Election Commitment.

This has stimulated live music activity across the state with vouchers and event grants aimed at getting South Australian musicians back on local stages, venue improvement grants to enhance audience experience, initiatives such as mental health support, an events cancellation fund, and the establishment of the Premier’s Live Music Advisory Council.

Currently in South Australia;

  • there are approximately 59 dedicated live music venues across the state, providing audience development opportunities for contemporary original music.
  • there are 6,559 South Australian songwriters registered with APRA AMCOS, an increase of 13 per cent since 2021.
  • and in a first for the state, six South Australian artists were selected to showcase at SxSW Austin.

Additionally, South Australia has always been a thriving destination for festivals, with the likes of WOMADelaide, Spin Off and the new Harvest Rock event driving tourism and contributing to the vibrancy of the city’s music slate.

Through its latest three-year plan, the MDO is aiming to ensure the sector is well positioned to capitalise on the predicted global trajectory and to leverage alignments with Music Australia to foster a golden era of growth for South Australia’s contemporary original music industry.

See it Live logo transparent

The Plan

Supporting Revival 2023-2025 contributes to the vision outlined in the South Australian Economic Statement of ‘an economy that is smart, sustainable and inclusive’.

Initiatives developed under this plan will be designed with a holistic ecosystem view (artistic and business), aiming to foster industry development through creative, business, export and skills development. Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and diverse communities across metropolitan, regional and remote South Australia is a key priority embedded within the plan.

The MDO acknowledges that while there is a growth trajectory predicted, challenges continue to exist for the music industry. These are recognised nationally and include:

  • visibility and discoverability of Australian artists,
  • skills shortages,
  • securing international working visas,
  • increased public liability insurance,
  • decreases in consumer spending due to inflation and interest rate rises,
  • issues with inclusivity and respectful working conditions,
  • challenges in the transition to a green economy,
  • extreme weather events causing cancellations of music festivals and events and slow ticket sales (nationally).

Through this plan, the MDO aims to support the South Australian music industry as it continues to navigate these challenges. Additionally, the MDO recognises the ‘centrality of the artist’ as the creators and generators of Intellectual Property (IP). This creative IP is the central point of music industry supply chains, which include businesses across the areas of production, distribution, touring and promotion.

Therefore, the MDO’s plan targets professional touring artists, songwriters/music creators, dedicated live music venues, festival and event promoters, tour and artist managers, and other music businesses and entrepreneurs within the South Australian contemporary original music sector.

The Pillars

The plan is guided by three pillars: