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Where is Music Heading?

The Music Trust's Knowledge Base combines two big tasks:

*To complete the analysis of the present status of all music in Australia — culturally, socially, economically and politically. Music faces formidable competition from numerous other activities, especially in the economic and political areas. What's more, the globally open music market makes it subject to huge threats and opportunities.

Alt=Best and worst cases

*Since 2014, the Knowledge Base has developed four scenarios to 2035 ranging from "best" to "worst" case — the chart shows a very wide range with no certainty of what can happen if no action is taken. Uncertainty starts at the global level. International politics and economics follow unpredictable directions, affecting individual countries and their respective economic and cultural sectors.

The first of fourteen scenario papers outlines the vision and also contains a list of the subsequent papers (paper #15 is in the pipeline). The four scenarios, with numerical forecasts for each, will be published as a Music Trust e-book in mid-2016. This will provide a means for corrective planning to secure the best possible solution for all activities, including the music sector — how to promote the best and shun the abysmal. The project is a world first for any artform.

  Learn more...

Complex Adaptive Systems (see middle column of this page) is a basic part of this research. Again, applying it to an artform is a world first.

The scenario papers form the category "Scenarios for the Future", which is found by clicking on Browsing on the menu bar above, then on All Categories.

Valuing the invaluable

Alt=Music TEV

Reflection should make anyone realise that culture is literally beyond valuation. One can put an economic value on traded goods and services and perhaps estimate other services derived from our great and indispensable cultural and ecological assets and ecosystems, but much remains out of reach. This is important for our music sector scenarios. Much ecological and cultural damage is beyond measurement.   Learn more...

Cultural funding is drying up


This is not news but our "money pig" keeps an essential issue open. Funding has been declining for several years now and institutional funding arrangements are under threat. We can hope that positive changes will happen under the Turnbull government but not too much is visible yet.   Learn more...

New on the Knowledge Base

Full list here .... Selected summaries below.


The author reflects on her experience teaching music to children in a government primary school, preparing them to perform in a regional school festival, and compares their participatory art to the superficial experience of many participants from other schools who “danced” to popular music soundtracks. She applies a broad critique based on pedagogical and social theory.

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This SWOT is for the organisation, the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW. It has a history going back to 1912. MTANSW has several levels of membership linked in part to levels of pedagogical expertise, maintains a Code of Ethics for members, offers professional development workshops and other services. It also administers Accreditation for studio music teachers, a role passed on to it from the Sydney Conservatorium. While this SWOT is for the Association, some statements describe or imply the situation more broadly for studio music teachers in NSW.

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The Music in Australia Knowledge Base has commissioned more than 30 SWOT analyses of segments of the Australian music sector. The first analysis has arrived and it sets out a perception of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for opera. These analyses can serve as the basis for planning. The set of analyses will be an invaluable survey of the situation of music in Australia.

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An infographic shows progress for all stages from preschool to tertiary education. There is some very good news and some not so good. The study does not include music education but gives us general context.

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Attendance at cultural venues and events

This is a summary of the attendances in the various performing arts, as discovered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its quadrennial Multi-Purpose Household Survey, with additional data from Live Performance Australia’s annual report on actual ticket sales. You can see how the various art forms stack up, audience and box office trends, and the respective levels of activity in the states and territories. (The Northern Territory does very well!)

Popular music attracts by far the largest audience (33% of the population aged 15+), twice that of theatre or musicals+opera or other performing arts, and more than three times the audiences for dance or classical music. There is much more information to be found in the article.

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National Opera Review: propping up the 19C

The Commonwealth’s National Opera Review has published its analysis and recommendations. Richard Letts has prepared a commentary in these two articles, suggesting actions additional to those from the report.

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The role of the creative industries in climate change action

Developing strategies for music and the arts to influence opinions and action in support of a healthy climate..

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Trump’s win shows how vital the arts and humanities are

As one of the commentators in the New York Times wrote yesterday in relation to the way the polls had missed the sentiment of the American people, notwithstanding that Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote, “data cannot capture the human condition that is the blood of American politics”.

Learn more...



Loudmouth whispers!

The Music Trust’s monthly ezine has music news, articles, reviews, goss from Australia and all over the world. CLICK for current edition.

Music World News

The wonderful bulletin of the International Music Council.

Some stories from the current edition:

  • From Berlin's warehouses to London's estates: how cities shape music scenes
  • The music business re-imagined
  • Scientists have found a way to help you learn new skills twice as fast
  • Pussy Riot: more professional
  • Europeana Music Collections: the best music recordings and other music collections from Europe's libraries, archives and museums.
  • 6 incredible TED talks about classical music

About Us

The Music Trust’s Music in Australia Knowledge Base is the principal source on Australian music sector facts, figures and issues. It covers the entire music sector including the music industry, music education, and music in the community. This superior source constantly takes new steps to understand the future — including the milestone 2014-16 scenario planning project.

The Knowledge Base content is prepared by authoritative writers, contributing their work freely. Readers are invited to comment, contribute or suggest new content. Guidelines for Contributors allows your personal style to fit in. Please contact us with original material or changes to existing articles.

Finding your way around


See the full-size Tree of Knowledge. Despite its rapid development many gaps remain. Do have a look - we need help to fill the gaps!

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