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The Plectrum for Australia’s Economy

Today COSBOA congratulates the Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO) on a very important piece of research into the business side of the music industry. The report, entitled Career Paths: The Victorian Music Business Career Life Cycle, maps out the careers of people who have worked in the Victorian music industry in roles such as artist manager, promoter, publicist, agent, and record-label manager, and aims to uncover where support is needed so that strategies to help people sustain careers in the industry may be developed. It’s an important report because it recognises that these people are, for the most part, small business operators.

COSBOA CEO Peter Strong stated “this is fantastic research. The music industry is an important and growing part of our economy but there’s sometimes a lack of understanding that people working in this industry – and other creative industries too – are in fact small business operators. Even people working in the industry themselves often don’t realise that they’re running a business, which can stop them getting the skills they need and get in the way of their success.”

The report was commissioned by the VMDO and completed by researchers at RMIT. It interviews 27 music industry professionals with 10 or more years of experience and looks into the various ways people begin their careers in the music industry, attitudes towards higher education, desirable personality traits for success in the industry, where people acquire their skills and what the skills gaps are, how people maintain long-term careers (or what “anchors” people to the industry), barriers people encounter, and how and why people end their music careers.

Mr Strong continued “Like with every industry, there are problems that are unique to the music sector, or perhaps more prevalent there, and we have to acknowledge that. But many of the challenges identified in this report are common across all small businesses. These are things like turning a hobby or passion into a business; acquiring the right skills and knowledge to run a business; where to get these skills and the role of the VET sector in teaching them; looking after your mental health when you work long hours and spend a lot of time alone; and paying yourself superannuation and planning for retirement. Music business people should see themselves as part of the small business community and the rest of us should welcome them here.”

Mr Strong concluded “One of the things that the interviewees of this study agreed on is that what the Victorian Music Development Office is doing for music business people in Victoria is fantastic. It would be great to see other states in Australia develop similar organisations and for similar support to be offered to people running businesses in other creative industries.”

To read the report and find out more about the Victorian Music Development Office, go to



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