Music boosts WA to the tune of $1b

A  NEW study into Perth’s music scene has found it pumps a whopping $1 billion into WA’s economy.

The study was commissioned by music industry peak organisation WAM, and released on the eve of it’s big awards night, which was dominated by a re-emerging Fremantle music scene.

WAM head honcho Mike Harris says they wanted to use the study to give them ammunition when arguing for a bigger slice of arts funding.

• Freo’s Koi Child had a big night at the WAM awards, taking out four categories.

• Freo’s Koi Child had a big night at the WAM awards, taking out four categories.

Massive industry

“Music is such a massive industry…it’s contribution is significant,” Mr Harris says.

“There was a degree of pissed-offness. We don’t get the same level [of funding] as other art forms.”

ECU, which conducted the study, found there were almost 3000 full time jobs and wages of $149 million associated with music.

The figures could be even higher, as the data was based on people listing music as their primary job and didn’t take into account door sales at smaller venues: “What is missing is the cash economy,” Mr Harris says.

WA performer and WAAPA graduate Tim Minchin put his scathingly stylish seal of approval on the study.

“Trying to convince economic rationalist of the impossible-to-quantify cultural benefits of music is like trying to explain Shakespeare to pigeons,” he said

“This…study proves…the music industry is economically smart.

“The least profound way in which it profits is finanacially…but if that’s the only thing you care about, then fine. Look at the data. Fund the arts. For fuck’s sake.”

Meanwhile jazz-rap collective Koi Child chalked up four wins from five nominations at WAM’s glittering red-carpet music awards at Claremont Showgrounds last week, taking out Most Popular Act, Most Popular Music Video, Best Album and Best Urban Act.

Another troubadour with strong Freo roots, Abbe May, got the gong for Best Single and Best Female Vocalist.

Hip-hop-jazz, psychedelia-grunge-soul band Pow Negro took out Most Popular New and Most Popular Live Act.

• PowNegro, another Freo up-and-comer at the WAM awards.

• PowNegro, another Freo up-and-comer at the WAM awards.


For years Fremantle’s music scene was in the doldrums as cashed-up retirees moved in gentrifying the city, but things are reversing, Mr Harris says.

“Fremantle has the strongest music scene in the country…One of the 10 best bands in the world [Tame Impala] comes from Fremantle.”

From the northern camp, drummer Daniel Susnjar’s Afro-Peruvian Jazz won the Best Jazz Act and Best Drummer/Percussionist.

Camp Doogs won their first Music Event of the Year Award and Freo venue Mojos collected Most Popular Venue for the third year in a row.

Keeping the ball rolling for Fremantle The Triffids, along with Rick Steele, were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Both [were] integral to shaping the thriving musical landscape we see in WA today,” WAM board chair Al Taylor says.



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