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Survey of First Nations Music Artists

Sep 21, 2020

How do First Nations musicians feel about the music industry? What is working? What could be improved on in the music business in relation to their cultural practice and community responsibilities?

First Nations music plays a vital role in Australia’s music identity. At this critical time, it is essential that  the voices of First Nation musicians – custodians of the oldest musical practice in the world – are at the centre of dialogue and decision-making to ensure opportunities for the sector continue to grow and thrive, so the next generation can participate in a cultural future.

The results of the Survey of First Nations Music Artists provide much needed insights into the strengths, challenges and needs of the sector. The responses gathered can provide insights to inform the music industry as it recovers, rebuilds and looks to the future – a future in which First Nations talent and artistry is nurtured, celebrated and central in the music industry and Australia’s culture.

Distributed to attendees of the First Nation music roundtable and through the APRA AMCOS First Nations Music Office in April and May this year, the survey respondents were asked to focus on their pre-COVID-19 activities and attitudes.

Results of the survey show that:

  • The main strengths of being a First Nations musician were inspiring other First Nations artists, opportunities to educate, challenge and build understanding with non-First Nations people and creating pathways for the next generations of First Nations musicians.
  • Many challenges were identified by respondents including lack of financial return from creative practice; lack of time to do creative work due to other pressures and responsibilities; and access to funding or financial support.
  • The greatest needs were financial assistance, recognition by the wider music industry and more networking opportunities.