Over the past couple of weeks, you may or may not have noticed that our government have been saying things about musicians making money and how that they can ‘help’ us out. Well without this becoming a column aimed at slandering Tony Abbott and his ridiculous government that really can’t seem to get anything right – half the world has legalised gay marriage why can’t we! But that’s a story for another day, no the Australian Taxation Office or ATO as they are affectionately known, has released a report saying that Australian musicians earn on average $300k a year. Using a fictional character ‘Stephanie’ as an example to illustrate the benefits to new tax breaks for small business.
It’s funny to think that this example of ‘Stephanie’ is a good one because according to the ATO and our government, she rakes in 300k just for playing her guitar. Now reading this column, I think that I am probably just stating the obvious here when I say that there are many other musicians in the same boat and you simply aren’t able to just play guitar and earn three hundred thousand dollars a year. Mr Hockey, it takes a little more than just that to make things work. To a certain extent talent is one of the main factors to being successful in the music industry, but there are many other things that come into play as well.
Earlier in the year, I remember when Tony Abbott now infamously said you either have to ‘Earn and Learn’ and so now under that guise, why don’t we all dust off those acoustic guitars in our bedrooms and head out on the road and be rock stars? Given that it is really ‘that’ easy, what are you waiting for? He does listen to Nickelback and so quite possibly we can’t take a word of what he says as the truth, but Joe Hockey wants us all to get a good job that pays good money, so why don’t you head out and play with your friends.
For most musicians, it isn’t about the money, it’s about the gratitude that you get when you play at a gig and how great you feel when you play something someone knows and you have the whole crowd singing along with you – there really isn’t a bigger buzz that you can get than from a big crowd that is behind you. What I don’t really understand is how stupid our government is; I know that I said this wasn’t a political rave, but seriously how are these people running our country?
Yes, this time around in 2015 they acknowledge that music making is a part of the economy that’s great, however their figures are seriously a load of complete bollocks. If you are a small sole trader, according to the new budget website that was released recently you earn a taxable income of $300,065. Really Australian Government? If this is the case, then I’m booking a vacation tomorrow.
Luckily, Johnny Barrington from Canberra band Super Best Friends, who released their debut album Status Updates (which is brilliant and well worth checking out) earlier this year, wrote a letter to Joe Hockey, telling him to check his figures and stop listening to Nickelback. The latter I don’t think of which will be possible, but maybe, just maybe.
After Johnny Barrington took to Mr Hockey to tell him that all of this budget stuff was complete nonsense, the government came out and said that they made a slip up. Oh well, that’s a change then isn’t it? Whilst they admit that Stephanie isn’t real there are actually musicians out there making close to that figure. Who knows whether the government is talking about the likes of Tame Impala or more local and grassroots level artists, however, Neal Hunt a band manager for 28 years said that the government was out of touch, and those figures were a complete fairytale’.
More realistically bands are more likely to make between $350-800 dollars a night but then if you split that between five members and costs to get to the gig, it doesn’t really even out does it? Anywho, music is about playing for thrills and not as Mr Knopfler put it “Money for nothing and your chicks for free”.
Written by Tex Miller