The links to particular categories of the music sector through Overview of Music Statistics: ABS and Overview of Music Statistics: Other Sources review the available statistics. The main criteria for their usefulness are:
The three criteria are assumed to be of equal overall importance. Readers of the knowledge base will have their own statistical needs but many will also want to know how much their own area contribute to the economy, directly and indirectly, and gain an idea of how a nation's cultural life may support its long-term economic growth.
After concluding the initial identification and analysis of available statistics in Overview of Music Statistics: ABS and Overview of Music Statistics: Other Sources, it would appear feasible to proceed along lines like the following from 2012:
There is a great need for statistical research into this major sector — with a focus on primary and secondary schools but including early childhood and studio music teaching, and analysing the contribution made by tertiary music education. The first step has been to show how little is known statistically (see Music Education Statistics). It is a major research project which should be started in 2012 to help close this major knowledge gap.
This unique source, sponsored by the Australia Council, comprises our longest potential time series on individual artists in Australia. The task, for which the editor has previously obtained Professor Throsby's verbal approval, is to define the dimensions and complete a research program that respects the original research while using it in the framework of the general statistical planning for the knowledge base.
Quite apart from their major role commissioning the Ernst & Young study of the economic contribution of the venue-based live music industry summarised here and further described in Venues, the Australasian Performing Right Association and its sister organisation are a potentially rich data source which the knowledge base has not explored sufficiently. With the cooperation of APRA/AMCOS we will work towards rectifying this as a priority in 2012.
A number of areas are difficult to cover statistically except through survey methods. The most important areas (but not the only ones) would be:
The first step in this research, which can be undertaken successively commencing if possible in 2012, is to define an internally consistent research plan and construct lists. The lists will give rise to more detailed classifications which will be reflected in the final survey forms (this may even reduce the need for surveys to the extent that sufficient data have in fact been collected, as may prove to be the case for major venues, and some genres).
It is desirable to limit survey forms to within two pages, both in the interest of obtaining sufficient response, and keeping the subsequent analysis as simple and inexpensive as possible. Essential information would include employment (full-time, part-time and casual, or other suitable classifications), income (funding by level of government, private funding, earned income, other), expenditure, year of establishment, location, legal status, and aims and objectives of the organisation. It is also important to provide respondents with an opportunity for written comments, going beyond the statistics.
Finding ways and means of organising and funding this research may delay this program; however, it is difficult to establish alternative means of obtaining representative statistical data in the absence of central organisations providing this service.
This involves ongoing updating of studies based on continuing statistical research — building up knowledge incrementally. One major problem is how to pick structural change, which is undoubtedly happening due to digitization and other factors — which will increasingly distort structures identified in previous studies.
The ultimate aim is to clear the way beyond "narrowly based economic and financial data which look no further" towards a full understanding of the economic, social and cultural role of music. Cultural goods and services as they are generally measured do not include the value of infrastructure support, or the value of the importance of music for other cultural industries or for long-term economic growth. Furthermore, comparison across industries ignores the long-term values of the cultural sector, partly because they are hard to measure. Social Impact Assessment (SIA) methodology discussed at the end of the description of the Deloitte Access Economics study of live music in Victoria should be explored as a possible approach to extending the analysis beyond economic statistics. While these techniques need further development and have to be adapted to provide a meaningful input into the understanding of particular topics, trying to cover the cultural and social impacts on the music sector (and the economic feedback that would result) remains a priority in the development of this knowledge base.
The narrow view of economic statistics may be justified in the conventional national accounting sense, but even at this level there have long been developments of supplementary models, under the name of satellite accounts. A "tourism GDP" has existed for two decades, showing the extent to which tourism activities add to conventional industry groups. The concept of derived GDP models such as the tourism satellite account is discussed in Estimating the Value of the Music Sector, suggesting that it should be possible in theory to build a similar framework for the music sector. This would be a first step towards a better statistical definition of the role of music for Australian economic, social and cultural development.
The intention is to check the adequacy of Australian music sector statistics on criteria such as (contributions invited, please!):