Five years on from the establishment of the Live Music Office, APRA AMCOS as the key industry body administering the Office, is reviewing its achievements and surveying industry and government to identify future priorities of a live music organisation in Australia.

In 2013, the Australian Government announced funding for the creation of the Live Music Office to identify key policy, regulatory and process reforms to better support a robust live music scene. The Office was charged with the responsibility to ‘partner with governments, local councils, communities, businesses, musicians and songwriters on how to lift barriers to ensure more acts can perform at venues around the country’.

APRA AMCOS incoming CEO, Dean Ormston, said, “If Australian artists are to continue to be heard and recognised internationally, they must first have the opportunity to be heard, to build audiences, to hone their art and their craft, locally. In just five years, the Live Music Office has made great gains in the policy and regulation space to support these Australian artists to be heard through live music across the country.

“APRA AMCOS remains committed to the original objectives of the Live Music Office and we will continue to seek government investment in the important work done by the Office. The work of an industry body that provides regulatory guidance on best practice models for the support of live music remains critical for the future sustainability of an Australian music industry and we take seriously our responsibility to make this possible. However, it is vital we review the success of the Office and evolve not only the priorities around the development of audience and live venue frameworks but to also look to where the work of the Office is best focused over the next 3-5 years.

“APRA AMCOS will review the scope, structure and objectives of the Office, consulting with industry and government stakeholders over the weeks ahead before deciding how best to fund and build on its achievements to date. We will announce plans for the future of the Live Music Office following that consultation and review”.

The review will be led by Jana Gibson, Head of Member Services, and Nicholas Pickard, Director Public Affairs & Communications, APRA AMCOS. It will survey and interview key stakeholders and host roundtables to seek feedback from industry partners. Findings from this review will be considered in a new Live Music Office Blueprint that is expected to be announced later this year.

Mr Ormston acknowledged the support of APRA AMCOS’ funding partners over this period and the significant work done by John Wardle, Ianto Ware, Damian Cunningham and Lucy Joseph in the five years of the office.

“Each Live Music Office consultant has brought a unique mix of skills, influence, expertise and ability that has cumulatively delivered tools and references that have empowered, built capacity, and brought direct benefits to artists and industry across Australia. We thank them for their commitment and contribution,” Mr Ormston said.

The Live Music Office has delivered significant gains for the live music sector, since it was first set it up in 2013, in partnership with the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts and the Australia Council for the Arts. However, APRA AMCOS has been advised that the most recent applications for funding of the Office have been unsuccessful. The review will also consider how industry and government can partner to ensure the sustainability of the office in delivering for the sector and agencies.

The mission of the office has been to:

  • review the impact of federal, state and local government policy frameworks on the Australian live music sector
  • advocate for policy changes on behalf of the sector, across Australia
  • provide information, guidance and research on live music best practices to the state music organisations, researchers, the media, the hospitality industry and all levels of government
  • innovate and implement audience and industry development initiatives to build long term capacity and connectivity for local government and the sector, especially in the suburbs and regions


The following provide a snapshot of some of the many projects the Live Music Office has delivered in collaboration with local industry and state, territory and local government;

  • Creating the NT Music Industry Council with MusicNT, Hospitality NT (formerly NT AHA), artists and venues as well as 2017/18 research initiatives including the 2017 NT Live Music Census to be released in July 2018.
  • Writing the Cool Little Capital report with Music ACT with the subsequent Urban Sounds Discussion Paper investigating entertainment precincts in Canberra.
  • Successfully campaigning for removing the requirement for SA liquor licenses to require consent for live entertainment, also delivering Exempt Development for low impact entertainment alongside the Small Arts Venue variation to the National Construction Code in SA.
  • Establishing the Central Geelong Live Music Action Plan development process and providing the framework and terms of reference for the City of Ballarat Live Music Strategy in VIC, with active participation in State Regulation Roundtables also providing national perspective and support.
  • Working with the WA Government and WAM in creating the WA Live Music – Arts and Cultural Regulation Working Group.
  • Liaising with Arts QLD and Department of the Premier and Cabinet alongside QMusic as a resource for the QLD Live Music Industry Working Group, as well as City of Gold Coast Live Music Taskforce membership and working with Sunshine Coast Council on night economy planning.
  • Participating in the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy, the Night Time Economy Roundtables 25 point action plan for the NSW Government, and the Committee for Sydney Night Time Economy Commission.
  • Drafting and negotiating venue criteria for Sydney lockouts exemptions (now 30 live music venues) in collaboration with Music NSW.
  • Collaborating with the University of Tasmania on Research – The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in Australia 2014, Sector consultation in Hobart and Launceston supporting Music Tasmania in building ongoing contemporary music strategy.
  • Delivering the Western Sydney and Regional Live and Local Strategic Initiative with CreateNSW across 10 Councils in Western Sydney and 8 Councils in Regional NSW (18 Councils, 60 events, 236 venues, and 872 musicians employed to date).
  • Committed National Conference Participants – Presentations, panels, and stakeholder engagement.
  • Live Music Map – Publishing an online map of live music venues, businesses and community radio across Australia as well as providing 20 online templates and resources covering the practical and business side of producing live music.