The Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) has partnered with Australia’s major contemporary music bodies to launch an in-depth survey on live music remuneration.
The Live Remuneration Survey will be distributed to over 100,000 live music performers through APRA AMCOS, MEAA, Music Australia, Sounds Australia, Association of Artist Managers, Association of Australian Independent Record Labels, AMRAP, Live Music Office, MusicNSW, Music Victoria, Music NT, Music SA, WAM, QMusic, Music Tasmania and Music ACT .
The music industry is one of Australia’s most profitable creative industries. Despite this, artists report they are frequently underpaid or not paid at all. While Australian classical orchestral musicians enjoy secure and regulated pay rates, contemporary musicians are not faring so well. Award rates for contemporary music are commonly ignored, leaving artists to make the impossible choice of accepting low pay, requesting better pay and potentially being replaced by someone cheaper, or saying no and losing the opportunity completely. A seemingly endless supply of artists willing to play for little-to-nothing means the economics of performing live is uncertain at best.
The live music industry itself operates under a set of unique challenges. Onerous regulation, a lack of best-practice standards, significant operating costs for venues, reliance on alcohol sales to underwrite gigs, and shifting audience behaviours have created a fraught ecosystem.
The Live Remuneration Survey aims to understand the dynamics of performer income, the conditions under which artists are paid and whether additional costs such as travel, parking, accommodation or rehearsals are taken into account. It will also look at what percentage of artists have superannuation, income protection insurance or public liability insurance.
Emily Collins, Chair of AMIN states “ In such a volatile market, it’s important that we understand the experience of the artist, as central to the live music experience. So often we hear about how our industry is thriving, yet many musicians we work with earn less than $12k annually with little to no financial security. Live performance used to make up a significant proportion of annual income for musicians – we want to test if that’s still the case and if not, what’s changed.”
This survey will collect data on the artist’s experience, including current average rates of pay for bands and individuals, annual income derived from live performance, the ratio of live performance income to other income for artists, agreement types between artists, venues and bookers and contributing factors to these agreements, and more.
Jana Gibson, Head of Member Services at APRA AMCOS states “Performing live provides an essential income stream for so many of our members. The outcome of this survey will assist APRA AMCOS and the music industry to advocate for more live music funding and investment, and devise programs to better support musicians at all stages of their careers.”
The survey results will assist AMIN and partnering organisations to:
● Create audience-focused campaigns on the value of live music
● Implement industry campaigns to stamp out ‘good exposure’ gigs
● Investigate the potential for an industry-supported award rate for live performance
● Assess the commission structures of booking agents, promoters and artist managers and develop best-practice templates
● Make a case for better support for live music funding and investment
● Work with banks and insurance companies to create accessible products and services for musicians
● Work with industry to improve artist conditions
● Take steps toward securing superannuation for musicians
The data collected from this survey will be published through AMIN and the survey partners. Australia’s live music performers including musicians, DJs, solo acts, duos and bands from every contemporary genre are encouraged to get involved and be heard. There are major prizes on offer including $1000 cash prize, a home studio recording package from RODE Microphones, and a 12-month Performers Liability Insurance Policy from AON.