The international working travel experiences of Australian DIY musicians
thesisposted on 08.11.2019, 00:00 by John Mckeering
The international working travel experiences of Australian DIY musicians This research explores the travel experiences of Australian DIY (Do-It-Yourself) working musicians. It was undertaken because there was a lack of existing academic literature on this topic. The research question is: For the benefit of Australian DIY musicians who aspire to travel and work internationally, what can be learned from interviewing those who have gone before? Fifteen working musicians who have travelled internationally were interviewed to find out what kind of obstacles and advantages they encountered while touring. There were eight males and seven females with experience as performers, ranging in age between 24 and 54 years. Several of the respondents have been awarded or nominated by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Several had ARIA chart success. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by the researcher, himself an entertainer. The data was then analysed using Grounded Theory methodology. Most of the performers interviewed claim to have received little or no sustainable financial viability from international touring experiences. A predominant emergent theme regarding the motivation for touring is “passion” for performing. Positive factors noted included life experience, exploring different markets, meeting new industry contacts, bonding experiences for touring party members, and being a worthwhile working vacation for reasons other than making money. Major drawbacks included expenses borne by the individual that were unclaimable as business expenses for income tax purposes in Australia; being unable to maintain full-time, paying employment while touring; and the stresses of long-distance travel, constant performing and separation from family, leading to mental health issues. Key conclusions drawn were that changes could be made to improve experiences for Australian musicians travelling abroad. Suggestions included provision of increased assistance from government agencies; establishment of better networking opportunities for musicians to exchange ideas; and negotiation of excess baggage concessions for internationally travelling musicians. This thesis revealed themes that deserved further specific and in-depth research, including how the mental health risks for travelling musicians and their support crews could be better managed; what were the exotic qualities that Australian musicians appreciated in particular overseas regions; and what cultural attitudes towards musicians in various countries influenced those regulatory environments? An appendix to the thesis reviews the visa regulations pertaining to travelling working musicians in many international jurisdictions.