The 'music nation': popular music and Australian cultural policy

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The recent unprecedented export success of Australian popular music is regarded as a sign of the maturing music industries that are now much more capable of producing sophisticated acts across a range of international genres. At the same time, confusion exists about the right policy settings for ‘contemporary music’ in ways that do not apply to classical and other high art music. This chapter takes the Gillard Labor government’s 2013 policy, Creative Australia, as the departure point for current conceptualizations of nation-building and culture and the role of popular music. It investigates more recent invocations of ‘creative industries’ discourses advocated within popular music policy, and how (and whether) the ‘nation’ retains some ideological and practical purchase. While some older examples of the national ‘cultural hearth’ exist (for example, the ABC’s music video program Rage), substantial broadcasting and media policy changes have altered the ways in which popular music is audible/visible. This chapter views recent copyright battles and the implications for the older nationing instruments, such as local content regulations. It also responds to the fact that, as the federal government departs the policy field around popular music (at least for the moment), intra-state policies have shouldered much of the policy burden, particularly in the case of ‘music city’ policies established by State governments. As a consequence, the chapter suggests, such State policies have become de facto national policies for ‘Australian music’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking Culture
Subtitle of host publicationCommercialisation, Transnationalism, and the State of 'Nationing' in Contemprary Australia
EditorsDavid Rowe, Graeme Turner, Emma Waterton
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315106205
ISBN (Print)9781138094123
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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