Monday, October 15, 2012

Matt Finish and the golden age of Australian content on Australian TV

Matt finish drummer John Prior et al set up a great Facebook group to discuss how Australian musicians would like to reform the business ...

I am Matt Finish fan! One of my favorite Australian groups of the golden era of Australian Rock when there was much more Australian music on the TV and radio. Among other things John is pushing for 50 percent local content on the local media. Here is a clip of the group in their prime in the 80's 

I wrote a long post today for this group which I thought would be worth sharing. In the modern world a decent Australian music database and portal for new Aussie music would be a great thing if it was done right. Here is my post on the forum .... 

With it's funding the government should provide infrastructure that every Australian musician ( someone that earns their living from music ) can access. 

Australian musicians and the industry could have accommodation, travel ,venue , recording , video , distribution costs subsidized.

I imagine a venue at least in each capital city that has a van to pick up musicians from the airport. The venue has an apartment attached for the musicians to sleep in. The government could subsidize music related travel on buses, trains and airplanes. The venue could have recording and video equipment provided by the government for every musician to use. A website would be set up on the ABC that would allow users to search for Australian content by genre and location and would have audio and video footage from the venues in each state. Musicians could use the venues to rehearse and teach and could also use the recording/video facilities to interview each other to be put on the website. New venues don't probably need to be built as there are already teaching institutions in each state that are government funded and could be revamped for this purpose.
If the teaching institutions isn't the perfect place the ABC could make venues in its many locations more cheaply available to local musicians. 

It's important to discuss local content on the radio/TV etc but if a really GREAT website and venue was set up in each city it could become THE place for people internationally and in Australia to hear Australian music. A good website which allows users to search easily would be critical as would be the ability for well-known local musicians to create "playlists" of their favorite Australian content. It's important that the punter be given the opportunity to find out things like " What is happening in their favorite style of Australian music " … " What Aussie Jazz CDs came out this week ? " … "What are Peter Garrett's favorite Aussie Blues Bands" … " What is Paul Keating's favorite Australian Classical Cds released in the last month " …. " Which original band from Sydney sold the most Cds in the last year " . A new website doesn't need to be created probably the ABC website can be revamped at minimal cost and access needs to be given to Australian musicians ( again I mean people who make a living from music not anyone) to post their own content to it. Australian music history also needs to be better archived . I would like to see an interview with James Morrison discussing his 20 favorite Australian Jazz compositions with links to each one. 

I think the infrastructure could be set up at minimal cost compared what it is costing already to pay large orchestras. I think that tradition should continue but that it would be possible for musicians to ask for a new digital "countdown" or something to be set up that works in the interests of all Australian musicians regardless of their genre or popularity. Protectionist legislation may be a good thing and some sort of minimum wage for musicians is also good. The danger with the minimum wage is that if it is set to high the end result may be that the only gig in town is something like an ABBA covers band. Jam sessions and experimental music need to be able to happen too but not in a situation where venues are expecting musicians to play for tips or a ridiculously low fee. 

My years of time spent overseas has only deepened my appreciation for Australian music of all genres. The best Australian musicians have something very valuable to say it just needs to be presented to the world properly in an interface that allows people to find it. A better presentation of the great music that is happening and also reference to Australia's rich cultural history is what is needed to make music a more viable business in Australia. Local content on the TV and radio may help but in the future I believe it is all going to be on the internet . I don't watch anything on my TV anymore except the nightly TV bulletin. I don't listen to music radio any more either I have Pandora for that. Imagine an Aussie Pandora where you stuck the Divynils or Peter Sculthorpe in and it only played related Australian music or videos. That's what Australian music need most in my not so humble opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds Good, We would listen to this band back in the day in the USA.