Yes, working in music is a real job

Julie Kerr Blogg's picture
Julie Kerr

It's time to celebrate the perseverance and extraordinary talent of Australian women in music. 

Working in the music business is not all lights, cameras, rock 'n' roll bands and stage make-up. The end result of a performance, album, or film in all musical genres and expressions, is very much the result of countless hours of hard work. And not only the hours that are put in to one particular work.

A musician's professional development and up-skilling is nearly always undertaken in their own time, nearly always self-funded, and often these costs and the time spent are never fully recuperated or appreciated. In addition to this, there are very rare instances of full-time paying jobs in music. Most people working in music have a portfolio of work, and are often jumping between teaching, gigging, management, other non-musical "day jobs" and then rehearsing, writing, creating, and practising after hours.

We all enjoy albums, stage shows and music videos, but not much attention is paid to the actual day-to-day work, rehearsal, creativity, and study that women working in music undertake. And as much as some people refute this, working in music is a real job requiring hard work, dedication, discipline, and time.

The more research undertaken into Australian women in music, the more compelling stories are found of women who work in music, whether on stage or backstage, signed, unsigned, contemporary, classical, industry heads, choreographers, music teachers, music writers, and more. Their collective wisdom and experience largely goes unnoticed.

Yet women truly form the backbone of our music industry. Women who are in music education, women who perform and entertain, women who influence policy, women who are compassionate advocates for those who are disadvantaged, women who know how to make money, women who are at the forefront of this new digital age, and women who know how to hustle. The music business is not for the faint-hearted, and it’s time to celebrate the perseverance and extraordinary talent of Australian women in music.

Julie Kerr is the founder of celebrating Australian women in music. Julie will chair an all women panel talking about forging a career in music at Pathway to Platform: Making it in the Music Industry, Saturday 10 June, 9-11am at the MCA, as part of Vivid Ideas.