Author Archives: Rob Walker

Byron Music Announces New Byron Bay Guitar Festival

Byron Bay Music will present the inaugural Byron Bay Guitar Festival on November 11 and 12. The Festival aims to bring together guitar enthusiasts and music lovers together in the iconic location. Already hosting internationally renowned festivals, Byron Bay is a destination on the music and culture map.

Performers include Phil Emmanuel, Kevin Borich and Fiona Boyes. The Festival will also feature a Car Park Market, Local makers, workshops, demos and supplier product displays and lots of live music.

The BBGF is also partnering with charities, Musicians Making a Difference and the Underage Drinking and Drug Initiative.

Check out the full details BBGF Program 2017


Cranbourne Music Supports School Rock Bands with Growing Festival

Ten Years ago Cranbourne Music started RockFest with 8 Bands and about 30 Students involved. By the next year it had nearly doubled that number to now involving 400 students playing and 100 involved in staging and sound – with junior and senior divisions. The events are held at schools that have a decent Theatre and that will support the event on the day. Some schools have Coffee vans/Catering come in for the crew and parents and arrange for classes from the Host school to make up the Audience on the day which makes for a great and exciting atmosphere.

Cranbourne’s head of Education Luc Travers, is now looking to expand the event into NSW in 2018.

D’Addario have been involved since inception with prizes and Fender has got involved this year as well and provided prizes and the backline for the event.

RockFest Poster 2017 State Final

Melbourne Guitar Show Hailed Best Yet

The 2017 Melbourne Guitar Show has been hailed as the best yet by exhibitors, punters and the artists. Lots of social media feedback particularly has encouraged us to think that we got the program and use of the venue right this year. This included bringing all entertainment inside (into warmer climes) this year, including a food service upstairs. The acoustic exhibits seemed better attended this year too.

The numbers have also indicated the show has achieved sustainable growth since 2015. Once again around 5,000 attendees navigated the Caulfield Racecourse pavilions, with post-show research indicating over 90% were active players, who in the same number rated the show Very Good – Excellent. There was a good feeling around the show.

Thanks go to the members and exhibitors who put so much work into mounting great product displays. The Melbourne winter was certainly a great time for promotion of guitars. The main stream media gave us lots of coverage and social was going off.

Check out the show updates, and pics by Jason Rosewarn and lots more at Australian Musician.

And check out the highlights reel for 2017!

Australian Music Association Receives Grant from The NAMM Foundation

Australian Music Association Receives Grant from The NAMM Foundation

(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia- July 7, 2017) — The Australian Music Association has been named a grant recipient of The NAMM Foundation. The organization was selected as one of 24 organizations to receive a grant to fund vital programs that create and support access to musical instruction and that serve to inspire a life-long love of making music in its population.

“We are so pleased to benefit The Australian Music Association with a grant in their quest to continue to create access and opportunities for all people to experience the joy of making music,” shared Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of the The NAMM Foundation. “It is through their transformative work of nonprofit music service organizations that thousands of people will discover their own musical talent.”

The grants serve to underscore the Foundation’s mission to advance participation in music making and offer quality access to all people. As one of 24 recipients, The Australian Music Association will utilize the resource as a means to support the organization’s From Schools to Commnunity Project, involving the development of programs that enable music making in the community, particularly its work developing its Young Warriors group music making program. The funding will also assist in the establishment of Make Music Day in 2018.

The Executive Officer of the Australian Music Association, Robert Walker, said “the receipt of a grant from the NAMM Foundation makes a huge difference to the amount of market development work can do, in the pursuit of activities that increase the number of active music makers in the community. For many years the NAMM Foundation has been at the forefront of the development of significant programs in Australia that improve access to music and music education”

Since its inception in 1994, The NAMM Foundation’s annual grant program has donated more than $16 million in support to domestic and international music education programs, scientific research, advocacy and public service programs related to music making. The grants are funded in part by donations from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and its 10,300 member companies worldwide.

For additional information about the organization, please contact:
Robert Walker
+613 9254-1019

About the The Australian Music Association
The Australian Music Association is a not-for-profit industry association representing the retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers of musical instruments and equipment. Its mission is to be the Voice of the Music Products Industry while growing music making in Australia. For more information

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members. The Foundation’s mission is to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit

AMP Conference 2017 Provides Best Practice Training Opportunities for Industry

Richard Harris, Managing Director of IQ (Education) at the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising.

The AMP Conference Speaker and Sessions program is all but finished with a further announcement of a key session entitles The State of Play in digital marketing presented by Richard Harris, Managing Director of IQ (Education) at the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising. As technology is more ubiquitous in business, so the risks of non compliance with numbers of regulations increase. This will be a compelling session of critical interest to suppliers and retailers. Marketing compliance, misleading advertising, substantiation, Pricing do’s and don’ts, and our responsibilities using customer data are key issues in today’s world. The penalties for getting it wrong can be severe on the individual as well as your business. The penalties for getting it wrong can be severe on the individual as well as your business. Read more here

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