Making Music Work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians. Australia Research Council Linkage Report

Brydie Leigh Bartleet, Dawn Bennett, Ruth Bridgstock, Scott Harrison, Paul Draper, Vanessa Tomlinson, Christina Ballico

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review


[Executive Summary]
Making Music Work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians (2015-19) was a national Australian project which examined the ways in which Australian musicians navigate their 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, further complicate the factors which impact how musicians 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.
Making Music Work employed a national survey of 592 musicians and 11 in-depth interviews with a diverse group of musicians. Participants, who were aged from 18-24 years to over 75 years, practised in a variety of genres with popular music the most common. More than four in ten musicians reported having more than 20 years’ professional experience, with another 25% reporting between 11-20 years’ professional experience. Participants reported between one and five concurrent roles including in performance, composition, direction, production and teaching. The most common mode of employment was self-employment, which accounted for almost half the responses. The project was funded by an Australia Research Council Linkage Grant (2015-2019, LP150100497) and led by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, with one chief investigator located with Curtin University. Industry partners included the Australian Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, the Western Australian
Government Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) and the Music Trust.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrisbane
PublisherQueensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University
Commissioning bodyAustralia Research Council
Number of pages122
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-6488150-0-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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