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Queensland Music Industry Value Web: From the Margins to the Mainstream

Rogers, Ian K., Ninan, Abraham, Hearn, Gregory N., Cunningham, Stuart D., & Luckman, Susan H. (2004) Queensland Music Industry Value Web: From the Margins to the Mainstream. Mapping Queensland’s Creative Industries series. CIRAC, Creative Industries Faculty, QUT.

Abstract

This report analyses the contemporary music industry in Queensland in cultural, economic and industry development terms. It is one outcome from an Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project titled "Creative Industries in Queensland: Cultural Mapping and Value Chain Analysis". It should be read in conjunction with the two additional reports: Queensland Music Industry Basics: People, Businesses and Markets and Queensland Music Industry Trends: Independence Day? The framework for this report is an adaptation of Michael Porter’s concept of a value chain. Many aspects of music production and consumption can be adequately described in terms of a straightforward linear supply chain. However, in Queensland, a predominance of independent music activity means that a purely linear value chain analysis (developed for mainstream industry practice) needs to be modified. The music industry in Queensland is clearly comprised of two tiers. The first is made up of the activities of major music labels and commercially successful artists who at times attract significant sales. The second tier - the "grassroots" - largely consists of independent musicians, production personnel and producers attracting both niche and at times mainstream audiences. Characterised by informally networked micro-economies, independent artists, niche markets, and the exploitation of new technologies, the second tier creates value through networking and creative entrepreneurialism. The second tier is also of interest to cultural researchers who have tended to concentrate on subcultural music communities and music produced outside of the mass market first tier. We use CIRAC’s (Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre) Music Industry Codes (CMIC) (refer to the accompanying report Queensland Music Industry Basics) to map and profile the players in each tier and their relationships. The ‘value web’ is a better descriptor of these relationships than ‘value chain’. The report demonstrates how second tier practices (such as a reliance on social networking to achieve recordings and performance opportunities, as well as a Do-it-Yourself – ‘DIY’ - culture and innovative business approaches) offeralternative methods for "doing music" and generating value in the creative industries. The advent of affordable recording technologies and online distribution in particular presents opportunities as well as issues for the independent sector. Such technologies have enabled a DIY ethos within second tier industry and culture which plays a significant role in community infrastructure in the independent sector. Likewise, increasing use by consumers of digital distribution through downloading services has positive implications for Queensland music, particularly with the further establishment of an online distribution infrastructure for the independent sector. This could also increase the likelihood of interaction between the independent and mainstream sectors. An online portal, which showcases Queensland music to the rest of Australia and the world, emerges as a potentially significant advance which aligns with strategic direction currently being pursued in Queensland through Creativity is Big Business – A Framework for the Future*. Queensland’s festival culture is ideally suited to our climate and cultural sense of self. Festivals like Livid in Brisbane support the sustainability of microcultural businesses such as promoters, tour managers, graphic designers, publicists and multi-media companies. The artistic and technical needs of aspiring Queensland music workers are, on the whole, being met in Queensland. In the area of business acumen, the report argues that specialist skills are further required to get product to the market. The current mentoring programs within Q-Music are well regarded by music creatives and could be extended within the music industry. A central issue is whether Queensland’s independent new entrants are able to secure sufficient market share to operate profitably. Successful bands,independent labels and performers from the past few years suggest that it is achievable. Recent technological and cultural change has given new entrants access to consumer and niche markets. There also seems a greater readiness on the part of the first tier to work with second tier business, who are being increasingly seen as "serious players". The stigma of second tier production lacking in "quality" has largely been removed and opportunities for financial gain are increasingly opening up. The report identified that the independent sector in Queensland plays an important role in the local and national music scene. Further research may well look at how the independent sector could be "branded" for the further benefit of Queensland’s creative industries.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 2422
Item Type: Report
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Musicology and Ethnomusicology (190409)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (The authors)
Deposited On: 08 Nov 2005
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 01:46

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