September 29, 2020
Greetings from isolation,
For us Victorians life has become unpredictable and we’ve endured an absence of the usual things we took for granted. With the Victorian Premier’s announcement several weeks ago announcing extensions to COVID restrictions for Victoria the prospect of retailers not being open until nearly November was heartbreaking.
Today there was a glimmer of hope with announcements around Melbourne moving into ‘Step 2’ on the recovery roadmap. Further reviews are to take place in October with the decision being based on 14-day infection averages rather than a specific time line. It was clear in the Premier’s press conference that the government is driving towards a “Covid-normal Christmas” (whatever that means!) which will bring some welcome relief to our Victorian economy and our MI retail business.
For now, MI retailing is very tough nationally. Wholesalers too are feeling the pinch of not being able to get enough stock into their warehouses to meet demand and our major local manufacturers have only just recommenced operations again in Victoria, adding to the shortfall of guitar supply over the coming months. Additionally, there are now further challenges with lengthy supply delays due to industrial disputes at the Sydney docks and a global shortage of containers.
However we now look forward to the potential of a much needed income producing eight week trading period through November and December. If this is the case, we anticipate our industry will be back to a more normal level of operations nation-wide in early 2021.
In my role with the AMA, I have presided over efforts to reorganise our administration services to be as efficient as possible, while still delivering core member services. Unfortunately, our main event ‘Melbourne Guitar Show’ has been postponed this financial year which will cause both some short-term financial pain and have us dip into the association’s reserves. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome crowds to our events again, hopefully as soon as August 2021.
The executive committee has met twice during Covid via video link-up and the finance sub-committee has met more often this year to guide our financial decision-making in what has been a tough year for the association. Thank you to Rob for being flexible in accommodating needed adjustments to our (his) administrative function to enable us to continue to provide our core services.
In 2020 we have produced the Annual Market Report, maintained our NAMM Foundation support for Make Music Day Australia and developed other programs planned for 2021. Also, we have provided a communication service to members and the industry at large with the latest information on the COVID-19 situation. We have maintained our membership of the ARA and distributed resources, information and guidance for retailers and we have continued to communicate to the end-user through the Australian Musician online network.
What is gratifying is seeing the rate of membership renewal this year. It gives the AMA executive confidence that we are being of service to our membership with the various roles we perform. We encourage the industry to join the association and support the work we do on your behalf. The AMA has been serving the industry for over 40 years and your support will see that continue.
Despite this difficult time for the NAMM association with Covid in North America, the NAMM Foundation Grant has just been announced for 2020/21 confirming their support for our industry’s activities. AMA wishes to convey appreciation to the NAMM Foundation for all the assistance in running music making projects like Make Music Day and other programs over the years such as Musical Futures etc. The relationship with NAMM has been strong over many years and provides much benefit to the industry in Australia.
This year we are planning for the AGM on November 24 via online streaming service. We will advise of the method with plenty of notice. Nominations for committee positions will be called for in late October. Our office bearers have flagged they are happy to retain their roles providing some stability to the association’s operation. It has also been flagged that some retirements from the executive will occur so as always we encourage people to participate and contribute to the work we do on the industry’s behalf.
Finally, if you are not already part of the AMA, I encourage wholesalers and retailers to join the association and contribute to the work going on behind the scenes. If you’re not familiar with our current activities, please visit the website or call the office on 0424 902 321.
Our mission is to be the voice of the Australian Music Products Industry and grow music making in Australia – new members increase our ability to meet this mission.
11th November, 2019
I am very honoured to have been nominated, and to serve as President of the Australian Music Association.
After 30+ years in the industry both in retail and wholesale sectors, I feel I’m in a unique position to be able to serve the interests of both wholesale and retail AMA members.
I would like to thank past serving members of the executive committee, particularly Tony Burn serving as past-President and more recently as Treasurer, and Craig Johnston for his service as President for the last two years.
Also, I would like to thank both Anthony Ursino for stepping-up as Vice President and for long serving executive member Graham Hoskins, for jumping in as Treasurer for the next year.
There are many projects for the committee to tackle over the coming year, including the now famous annual Melbourne Guitar Show, continued development of AMA’s online presence including Australian Musician, YouTube Channel and Socials, plus various Government relations activities including engagement with the Department of Environment, on topics such-as CITES and Ivory & Mammoth Regulations, and saving our musical instrument making and maintenance qualification.
More recently the AMA was invited to participate in the APTTA (Australian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association) National Conference, striving to be fully representative of the membership. The AMA committee is aware the association is viewed by its membership and the industry with a bias toward ‘rock n roll’ promotion and less about ‘traditional’ instruments. This we would like to change, starting with joining over 800 locations around the world making music on June 21, the third annual Make Music Australia Day event.
The AMA has a long tradition of serving the industry – it has made concerted efforts to develop the market and advocate for music education. It has run trade shows and represented the industry in the halls of government as well as internationally. It has seeded and developed many activities and initiatives that individual members cannot do in isolation.
Whilst the primary purpose of the AMA is to support and encourage music making, the AMA is here for its members to help address industry issues, therefore, the AMA committee would like to hear from its members regarding any burning issues (other than price!).
You will see a ‘re-shaping’ of the AMA over the next three years, sharpening its focus on some key industry issues, addressing its purpose and managing future management transition. We need and appreciate your membership as it enables for much work that benefits the whole industry.
Happy Music Making,
President’s Report | 2018-19
The AMA’s mission is;
To be the voice of the music products industry and grow music making in Australia.It is my honour to report on our activities that support this mission;
In my term as president our committee has had a focus on providing value to our members and to provide events and activities that are greater than what could be achieved individually by our members.
Thank you to all members of the association for supporting the efforts of my colleagues on the executive committee and the AMA staff. Your sharing of our vision has seen us achieve impressive results and benefits to our members.
The AMA’s Report Card for the 2018-19 Year is accessible via this link 2018_19 Report Card
During the 2017-18 year the AMA has celebrated 40 years of service to the music products industry.
We have continued to pursue an agenda that has required the association to invest for the future. The deficit posted this year in the accounts was much reduced on last year and as the Treasurer has reported we are budgeting for a surplus in 2018-19. Our deficit was largely due to the lack of commitment to our AMP Conference in September 2017 – an event which yielded great benefit to those who attended. The conference focused on the highly relevant issues to our industry, including keeping in touch with current online trends and financial management. We also added to our Honour Roll, recognising Margaret O’Loughlin and Ross Cole.
In partnership with NAMM’s Oral History Library we completed more than 50 videos to document Australia’s music industry history. This project was undertaken in the first half of the year and during our AMP Conference, we continue to add people who have contributed to our industry over the past 40 years
We invested a lot of resources into planning and running events. Attendance and exhibitors at the Melbourne Guitar Show grew for the fourth year running and the surplus achieved has allowed us to invest in two more consumer events; the Melbourne Synth Festival in November and the Sydney Guitar & Drum Show May 2019.
We have focused on end-user activities and events. Our online footprint has increased markedly, with the AMA You Tube channel increasing to over 1.2million views this year, with most of these videos highlighting our member’s products. Our social media channels have also played a key role in promoting Australian Musician online and our consumer events.
Our activity with government this past year has included preparing submissions and appearing before the federal Inquiry into Ivory and Rhino horn, while supporting member’s concerns to the Department of the Environment with regards to the trade in rosewood and CITES. We have just completed an industry submission to the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music Industry.
The AMA has been the grateful recipient of funding from the NAMM Foundation in the 17-18 year. The funding has allowed us to progress our Young Warriors pilot programs to local government with four programs rolled out. It enabled us to run our first Make Music Day Australia – an event joining with over 800 cities and 125 countries around the world in celebrating music making. The committee is very appreciative of the partnerships we have developed with NAMM and its Foundation.
We are pleased to announce that this funding will continue and I encourage our industry to engage with Make Music Day 2019 and beyond. It is a great way to showcase what we do. Its unlike any other festival – it is DIY – and anyone can participate. It’s a great way to engage with your customers and music making.
Like any membership body, the AMA strives to connect with our members and provide services that benefit their businesses. Our member numbers are lower than they were a decade ago, and this reflects an industry that has had to reorganise and recalibrate facing diminishing number of bricks and mortar stores and a consolidation of the wholesale sector over the last five or six years. We are striving to have a bigger proportion of our stores as members by creating opportunities for them.
The association has developed a solid online footprint in an age where it is essential to harness this medium, it has supported our local music industry and our artists in generating activity that otherwise would not be present. We have provided training and professional development opportunities, been a voice to government, increased sales and acted in a central marketing role for our industry.
In our 41st year the association continues to work as hard as ever in serving our members, and I thank you all for your support.
Craig Johnston, President
I hope you’ve all had a happy and successful end to 2017, I’ve heard many positive results over the silly season with several at wholesale and retail reporting record sales levels. Our market report briefs are showing an industry on the rise.
I’m honoured to serve the AMA as President and as a retail member, a strong members association gives strength to the success of its industry. Our motives are to create the best environment within the music products industry and the programs and initiatives we run help do this.
The AMA can do so much more than any individual business it is representing. Read more.
Our online publication Australian Musician connects with your customers, a gateway to letting them know what’s going on in live and recorded music performance and products.
The AMA administers Weekend Warriors, a program my store has participated in for the last few years, this program that gets strangers playing music together while being mentored by rock royalty has created a new base for the store of loyal and in many cases affluent customers. Warriors is available exclusively to our retail members.
We’re currently working on Australia’s first Make Music Day for 2018, cities all over the country will get together to celebrate making music with free community based live performances. We’ve been promoting this to city councils with many eager to participate. We work with the NAMM Foundation which contributes to this and other programs including our youth music program “Young Warriors”
The Melbourne Guitar Show will return to Caulfield race course, 3 days of ridiculously hectic work, 5000+ through the doors to experience the best our industry can offer, a consumer facing promotion that gets the till ringing not just for the weekend but for the weeks and months following.
The AMA has recently connected with Special Claims Services, a business that makes our members preferred suppliers to the insurance replacement industry, diverting money away from cash settlements on insurance claims to a direct supply model fulfilled by our retail members.
Next time you’re asked “But what does the AMA do?” you can answer, they put customers in my store and money in my till. We run a multitude of events and programs that benefit not just our members, but the whole industry, this is why myself and the rest of the executive committee contribute our time to the AMA, we all believe that working together we make the industry better.
If you haven’t participated in the programs and events mentioned you are missing out, talk to us, we can help you grow your business.
Craig Johnston, AMA President