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The Australian study Making Music Work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians (2016-2019) explored the conditions and strategies needed for musicians to sustain successful portfolio careers.

The vast majority of Australian musicians undertake a portfolio career which encompasses a variety of concurrent and often impermanent roles. While this is not a new phenomenon, major shifts in how music is made, paid for and consumed, as well as a changing commercial, funding, educational and policy landscape, all impact how musicians currently develop and sustain their careers.

 Making Music Work sought to provide a more nuanced and granular understanding of these key sector dynamics and how musicians navigate them. The study included a national survey of 592 musicians and 11 in-depth interviews with a diverse group of musicians.

Making Music Work was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and led by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre (QCRC), Griffith University, with industry partners, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Western Australian Government – Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), and institutional partner Curtin University.

The research team included Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet, Professor Dawn Bennett, Professor Ruth Bridgstock, Professor Scott Harrison, Professor Paul Draper, Professor Vanessa Tomlinson and Research Fellow Dr Christina Ballico.