In Australia, music is our national identity.
With a looming Australian election, Australian music industry sectors like songwriter royalty collection and community radio are creating campaigns aimed at the political players to argue for better industry support whomever holds power come election night.
Music is a booming industry sector in Australia that receives much less in the way of government support than sport, for example, or even other arts sectors. As a small business person, much of my skills building came from the years I spent playing in and managing live bands — budgeting, marketing and PR, tax, booking, tour logistics and travel booking, Web 2.0, video production, plus the technical skills to play and produce records in the record, mix, master and press processes.
I have supported hundreds of small and large businesses through my small business, from airlines to music stores, from car mechanics to arts accountants, from community radio to clubs and pubs.
I’m reiterating the professional and economic benefits here, rather than focusing on the creative skills, community and soul-satisfaction I’ve earned in 25 years playing and writing live music, but these ‘soft’ outcomes are what makes music such a vital part of Australia’s identity, not just a thriving part of Australia’s economy.
If we, as a nation, could really take as much pride in our jobbing musicians as we did in our farmers, entrepreneurs and sports people, if we identified ourselves with their creative struggles, and financial ones, as we did with the business of dairy farming or the politics of our favourite team, I think we would see that we have much within us to be proud of through WHAT WE DAILY CREATE, rather than what is handed to us as ‘our culture’ or our ‘national identity’.
Our achievements are creative, living and tangible, enmeshing us deeply in our communities and creative spaces, whether we listen to community radio, sing once a week in a choir, bash away on stage as a weekend warrior, spend all our spare time in music, or whether we are successful and renowned, or managing, somehow, to scrape a living together as live musicians and songwriters.
We are Australia. Our innate creativity is what made the idea of being Australian palatable for me when the political options seemed dire (and I grew up under the 19-year reign of Queensland National Party leader Joh Bjelke-Petersen). This should be recognised, valued and supported because it is the best of us all.
Australian writer Samantha Wareing lives in Berlin making music, radio and mischief. Find her on social media: