Author Archives: Rob Walker

Low Value GST Threshold Abolition Postponed in Federal Budget

It is frustrating to report that the Federal Government has postponed the abolition of the Low Value GST Threshold on Imports until at least July 1, 2018. Apparently, the government has been under pressure from the major internet sellers, who, together with the bureaucracy, claim to have had not enough time to adopt the procedures necessary for collect GST at the border on all overseas purchasers.

The Association will continue to make representations to the government in an attempt to ensure that the abolition of this unfair tax on our industry is implemented by the now projected date of July 1, 2018.

The AFR reported that Retailers hoping for a boost in 2018 from the reduction in the GST-free threshold on goods bought online from overseas will have to wait another year.

The Government has postponed reducing the low-value threshold on imported online purchases for 12 months, until July 1, 2018, after e-commerce giants eBay, Alibaba and Amazon warned that the proposed regime was impossible to implement by July 1 this year.
Citi said the government expected the new regime to raise $70 million in the first year, suggesting that it would only relate to roughly $700 million or less than one-third of total spending through offshore online retail channels.

“The government’s estimates indicate expected challenges in collecting the GST,” Mr Woolford said.

Citi believes that only 20 per cent to 33 per cent of offshore online spending will eventually flow back to Australian retailers, which would lift discretionary retail sales by between $140 million and $2331 million or 0.1 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

AMA and Soundhouse Music Alliance Sponsor Up the Guts Tour

Soundhouse Music Alliance, the music products industry charity, has with a donation from the association sponsored the second Up the Guts Tour. It it’s second year, Up the Guts is reaching out to communities in country and regional areas from Melbourne to Darwin.

The tour is a celebration of Australian rock’n’roll with gigs in 15 towns across Australia.

Up The Guts isn’t just about the shows. A series of learning and development workshops for youth aged 12 – 18 will be rolled out in 10 regional towns.
Local high schools, and other community groups are invited to take part in a 2 hour session built to inspire young people on all things music!

The sessions will harness the knowledge and experiences from all members on tour including the bands, singer-songwriters, production managers, tour promoters, and media producers. It will give participants a look at the triumphs and challenges that young people in the music industry face.

The industry is happy support the spreading of music making into these areas and wish safe travels to all.

Industry News

Catch up on the latest industry news and activities in our regular update. There’s always a lot going on behind the scenes. If members have got any news from around the traps feel free to send us a presser, and we’ll give it a run.

Yamaha donates $90,000 Instrument package to Apollo Bay School

Yamaha Music Australia has announced Apollo Bay P-12 College as the winner of the inaugural national Great Start Giveaway – an initiative which sees the winning school awarded a prize package that will revolutionise its music curriculum.

Comprising of $90,000 worth of Yamaha instruments, three days of professional training from Dr Rob McWilliams, Australia’s leading band expert and Yamaha’s Education Outreach Clinician, and a launch event with Guy Sebastian– the prize pool will kick start Apollo Bay P-12’s College’s music programme.
Over 90 schools applied for the grant by submitting letters of support for a music program from principals, teachers and parents. “Over the course of the two months, we received some incredible nominations from schools from all four corners of Australia,” explained Dr McWilliams, “And while we were all hugely impressed by every single submission, the judging panel believed Apollo Bay P-12 students would benefit most from the prize fund.”

For the full story click here

2016 Market Report
The 2016 printed version of the market report will be posted out in hard copy this month with member renewals. Thanks for your support this year. The Report is also available in the members only section for download.

Musico honoured by international supplier

The Schimmel Piano Company’s fourth generation CEO and President, Hannes Schimmel Vogel, recently made an exuberant commendation of their Australian representatives, Musico, particularly commending the launch of their new website,

“We are looking back to a year with major achievements in Australia. They all culminated in the new website that is so perfectly representing what we are: A traditional and innovative brand that is carried by family spirit and love for music! And I know it made this way because this is also exactly the same way Musico works and operates. We are so proud to be represented by Musico in Australia and the new website is perfectly mirroring the perfect blend of spirits”.

For further details Musico PRESS RELEASE

Stuart Fraser Appeal
As some of you may be aware Stuart (Chet) Fraser has been unwell for sometime and sadly has been diagnosed with cancer. He is continuing treatment and is in the care of The ONJ Wellness centre.

A fundraising appeal to provide support to Chet’s family has been set up through Support Act – Help a Mate. 
Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

“We have all enjoyed Chet’s amazing guitar skills over the years, and he has appeared at many AMA events and shows over the years. Thank you for any support you are able to provide”.

There has also been announced a major fundraising concert lead by John Farnham and Jimmy Barnes and many others – details here at Australian Musician 

Big Music and Port Mac Guitars Named in the Top 100 Global Retailers

Australian retailers Big Music and Port Mac Guitars have been named in the prestigious NAMM Top 100 Global stores.

Richard Berkman from Big Music said, “After 8 years serving our local community through our retail store and music school, Big Music is delighted to receive this international recognition as a NAMM Top 100 Dealer” says Big Music’s Managing Director, Richard Berkman. “Playing a musical instrument enriches your life and we feel rewarded every day seeing the positive impact that music is having in the lives of our customers and students.”

Rob Mestric of Port Mac Guitars said “We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised as a Top 100 Dealer for the second year running. Winning the award for Best Online Engagement in 2016 was the highlight of our year and we look forward to attending the awards ceremony in Nashville in July.” said Rob Mestric, CEO & Founder, Port Mac Guitars.

In addition to their honour as a Top 100 Dealers, Port Mac Guitars and Big Music will be in consideration to receive a “Best Of” award in one of seven categories: Customer Service, Emerging Dealer/ Rookie of the Year, Store Design, Marketing and Sales Promotion, Online Engagement, Store Turnaround, and one recipient will be honoured with the Music Makes a Difference award. The coveted Dealer of the Year award will go to one of the recipients in the aforementioned categories.


Consumer Beware if Buying Rosewood Overseas – CITES (Rosewood Trade) Update

Our industry, like many globally are dealing with the impact of the CITES ruling on the trade of rosewood. While supporting moves to protect the specis, for many the administrative and financial implications are numerous.

Interestingly, In a recent ruling by the Department of Energy and the Environment, private purchases of instrument containing rosewood are deemed as ‘commercial’ transactions and therefore subject to the same regulations as other imports and exports. It would be fair to suggest that ‘private’ purchases may have been absolved from the need for export certificates, as they could be considered for household or personal use, or been caught where a personal instrument containing under the 10kg of rosewood which was designed for travelling musicians carrying their personal instruments.

If this is the case the consumer will need to be vigilant when ordering from overseas, as goods may be held at point of entry.

The need for a streamlined Import Permit process is urgent, as inventory cannot be shipped without one being obtained, causing delays for retailers and customers.

Updated Industry Advisory
The Industry Advisory issued by the Department of Energy and Environment is available at this link

NAMM to Interview for Oral History Project in Australia

NAMM believe in music

2017 is the 40th Anniversary of the incorporation of the AMA. To celebrate this, as well as mounting a new conference format, NAMM is sponsoring it’s historian, Dan Del Fiorentino to come to Australia in September to do a series of Australian interviews for the NAMM Oral History program.

Invitations are currently being sent to industry pioneers and long standing contributors to make themselves available for an interview, either at the AMP Conference or in Sydney or Melbourne, both of which Dan will be travelling to either side of the conference.

The executive committee is seeking suggestions from members as to who might be worthy of recommendation for interview. Many retailers for example have been in the same family for generations, and we would be pleased to hear from anyone who should be considered for an invitation for interview. Please contact Rob Walker – to recommend any candidates or if you, the reader is interested. If there’s a story to tell, now’s the opportunity for our industry.

2017 Melbourne Guitar Show Near Sell Out

Guitar Show near Sell Out. The exhibitor’s floor at the 2017 Melbourne Guitar Show is almost sold out. Late interest may see some space freed up by re-design, but the original offering is almost gone.

A star studded line-up is being assembled and the fretted talent on display will be the usual high standard. This year we’re pleased to welcome Genesis founding member, Steve Hackett, in an exclusive acoustic performance, Canadian gun Nick Johnston here for Schecter and Alex Hutchings is coming for BOSS. Local heroes, Lloyd Spiegel will be presenting for Cole Clark Guitars, and punters can see players like Nick Charles, Bob Spencer, Doug Devries, James Ryan and many more. All the details are at Australian Musician.

Exhibitor support has been strong this year, with many new entrants, and more stands occupied than in 2016. See the Exhibitor List here.

Inaugural Sydney Drum & Percussion Show a Success!

From all perspectives the inaugural Sydney Drum and Percussion show can be considered a success. Post show exhibitor surveys, media reviews and customer feedback have been most positive and it augers well for the drum and percussion retailers and wholesalers putting on a repeat performance. According to the feedback people are looking forward to next year.

The AMA’s Rob Walker said; “from over 70% of exhibitors telling us that the Show met or exceeded their expectations was reward enough for us. It seems the feeling is let’s go again too. The fact that a decent crowd turned up, and saw top class performances too was a real bonus.”

“We appreciate the effort that the members put into the show, and our sub committee – Danny Boldiston, Carolyn Watson, Brendan Callinan and Mark Trask – thank you for your significant part. Like Melbourne’s Guitar Show, from humble beginnings to bigger things”

#SDPS2017. You can check out the first review here

Checkout the post show highlights reel

Check out the daily reviews and there’s some great shots here by Greg Phillips.



Maryborough Music Conference 2017

The biennial Maryborough Music Conference, run by Queensland’s Department of Education and Training will next occur from the 5-9 July 2017 where again over 900 delegates are expected.

This conference is the premier music education event in Australia and this year welcomes the most eminent and extensive faculty so far including:

·        Ryan Nowlin – Assistant Director of the United States Marine Band “The President’s Own” and eminent and prolific composer and arranger

·        Brian Balmages award-winning composer, conductor, producer, and performer and Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

·        Rodney T Whitaker – Internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist, currently the Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and a member of Jazz at the Lincoln Centre Orchestra.

·        The entire 50 piece Royal Australian Navy Band (Sydney) under the baton of Lieutenant Brian O’Kane as Ensemble In Residence

These will be joined by numerous other clinicians from the USA, UK and Australia.

Further Information including registration is available on the website.

Vale Steve Legg


Yamaha Music Australia has advised today that “It is with a tremendous amount of sadness that we announce the passing of Steve Legg last Sunday night April 9th, after a cancer diagnosis less than a year ago. Steve spent the last 10 years of his working life with YMA, continued to play professionally, and was well liked by all staff and the dealer network. We at Yamaha, feel a real sense of loss and struggle to find the right words to express”. Steve was only 45.

Steve was a valued member of the association’s executive committee, representing Yamaha Music, for all too short a time, joining us in 2015, not long before his battle began. All industries need their future leaders, and in this case, we lost a good one far too early. He displayed keen insight and an understanding of the industry and it’s needs. Importantly he encouraged and assisted the AMA in its efforts to promote music retailers in his short time on the committee. This work continues.

On behalf of the industry, we express our condolences to Steve’s wife Felicity and his two children, his friends and his fellow musicians.

His industry colleagues, like us, are somewhat stunned by Steve’s passing and the sadness felt by so many can be encapsulated in the following tribute from Chris Davis at DW Music, sent to the Yamaha Music staff.

“May I express my sincere condolences and deepest sympathy on the untimely passing of Steve Legg, sad news indeed and I know these thoughts are shared by all our staff who knew him and benefited from his quietly spoken, straightforward and helpful nature.

A most unfortunate loss of an esteemed colleague, an invaluable member of the Yamaha staff and a respected and knowledgeable member of the music industry, who was a fine musician in his own right.

Steve was always an insightful and thoughtful person to share a problem with, to whom we often outlined challenges we faced.  He was always empathetic, with a sincerity and sensitivity, which might not always have provided the immediate solution, but gave some vital comfort that the issue was understood and appreciated.

His untimely passing is a great tragedy and must surely present a gaping hole in the lives of his children and his widow. A rather poignant reminder of the delicate thread, by which life hangs and how we must all cherish our time.

Our thoughts are with you all at this sad time.”

Funeral notices have been posted today (Thursday 13th April) for 11am Wednesday 26th April funeral being held in Macedon Victoria. All are welcome to attend.

AMA Public Events Gear Up in 2017

The AMA has at the spearhead of its efforts in promoting music making, two major events this year, both of which have proved very popular with members.

The inaugural Sydney Drum and Percussion Show to be held at Rosehill Gardens from May 27 – 28 has sold out all it’s floorspace to a combination of retail and wholesale businesses. You can see the latest exhibitor list here.

The show has attracted some big international names with Thomas Lang and Virgil Donati playing together for the first time, sponsored by DW Drums and D’Addario Australia. Michael Schack from Belgium will also be there, compliments of Roland Corporation. These guys are joined by some Aussie guns in Lucius Borich, Lozz Benson, Pete Drummond and many more. Check them all out here.

Likewise the Melbourne Guitar Show floorspace was taken up in quick time this year, with only a handful of stands still available, before an extension to the show must be considered. We have some exciting news to follow with some big names to be announced in the coming weeks.

AMA executive and organiser of the shows, Rob Walker said “we are very excited about our events in 2017. To sell out all stands in the Sydney Drum and Percussion Show is a great result, and we will be presented some of the best talent in the world”. It shapes to be a huge weekend. Likewise the Melbourne Guitar Show continues to grow, and we look forward to increased interest in guitar products and the stimulus it provides our market”.