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ARC Linkage: Making Music work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians

Jul 01, 2020


The Australian study Making Music Work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians (2016-2019) explored the conditions and strategies needed for musicians to sustain successful portfolio careers.

The vast majority of Australian musicians undertake a portfolio career which encompasses a variety of concurrent and often impermanent roles. While this is not a new phenomenon, major shifts in how music is made, paid for and consumed, as well as a changing commercial, funding, educational and policy landscape, all impact how musicians currently develop and sustain their careers.

Making Music Work sought to provide a more nuanced and granular understanding of these key sector dynamics and how musicians navigate them. The study included a national survey of 592 musicians and 11 in-depth interviews with a diverse

group of musicians.


The project drew on data collected through a nation-wide survey of 1,000 musicians, as well as building a more detailed picture through 12 in-depth case studies with musicians navigating portfolio careers. Interpretation of the data was guided in multiple ways including through cluster analysis and multiple regression analysis.

Project ID




Administering organisation

Griffith University

Partner organisations

Curtin University
Queensland University of Technology
Create NSW
Creative Victoria
Department of Culture and the Arts WA
Australia Council for the Arts


Click here for more information on ARC Linkage projects.