Issue 23 Volume 1May 2011

Front Page


By David James

Nobody doubts that the business of music has changed, pretty much permanently. Talk to people involved in the music industry in the US, and the consensus is that record executives are just hanging on as long as they can, relying mostly on back catalogues. There is the smell of death.


Music Biz David James laments the death of the music industry – but says there’s still a buck to be made if you can hook into the corporate scene.
Cover Story Calvin Welch gets busy with a new website aimed at helping more people find Australian artists on the growing megalopolis that is the world wide web.
What's Goin' On Who’d have thought you could buy a major record label with your credit card - Citibank apparently. Meanwhile Google get a wrist slap.

Robert Gavin from the Music Arrangers’ Guild of Australia reviews the last fifty years of one of the industry’s most influential organisations.

Rising Stars Gene Peterson talks about how he’s making money from music by giving the people what they want.
Gig Guide Got a gig?  List your gig with us and if you don’t have one read the latest from Bellaire Hillock about how to get one using the internet.
Smart Musicians Holden Fairlane drives you further towards theoretical genius and gives you an expanded view of diminishing chords.
Your Say Got an opinion on something – of course you do you’re a musician – so don't be shy, drop us a line.
Ask Uncle
Uncle Terry explains how learning football songs can be good for your career and reads you your rights when it comes to plain English contracts.
Joking Aside Thinking of renovating? Our resident humourist shows you how to vamp up your life with musical wallpaper.
From The Editor Megan Albany gives the drum on drummers and why those jokes may now have to be aimed at other less street smart musicians.


Happy Birthday from Mr President
Well ok, from the Honorary Secretary of MAGA, but where’s the headline in that…

By: Robert Gavin, Honorary Secretary
The Music Arrangers’ Guild of Australia (MAGA) Incorporated

MAGA comes of Age

This year one of Australia’s most eminent music organisations turns 50 – but unfortunately most of our national industry is not only unaware of their birthday but unaware of the organisation itself. This year marks the Golden Jubilee of The Music Arrangers’ Guild of Australia (MAGA), which first opened its doors in Melbourne on 10 February 1961.


The Guild is the representative body of a highly skilled, but often invisible membership base including Australia’s leading music arrangers, orchestrators, electronic arrangers, music copyists and type-setters.






By Megan Albany


For years Calvin Welch has been the drummer of choice in the Sydney Funk scene, but now the rhythm man who has lent his sticks to such mainstay projects as Professor Groove and the Booty Affair, is beating a different tune. Despite having started out as old school as it comes – gigging in the Motown Era with the likes of Eddie Russ, Calvin is now embracing new technology with a vengeance. He recently started a website, I Hear Music, to allow music enthusiasts from around the globe to find quality Aussie music easily, and for the cream of our crop, to not get lost in the mega-online-store that is Itunes.




Not Gene Peterson that’s for sure. This is one young drummer with his head screwed on right (which is always helpful so you face the audience not the backdrop). At only 23, Gene is not only flat out gigging with his own unique drum shows, but he’s now starting his own production company to help other talented musicians finally quit their day jobs. The Dues caught up with the young beat-meister to find out how it all began.


Send us your email, notes, memos, random thoughts, trenchant complaints. Tell us about your adventures, strugggles, disasters, disappointments and successes as a musician.

We give preference to letters of 200 words or less, but try your luck anyway. We may edit your letters for reasons of space, or possibly because we're just a bunch of interfering bastards. Despite that, we welcome your feedback, comments and observations. You can use a pseudonym if you wish, but please include your real name, suburb/town and, if you are writing from outside Victoria, your state/country.

Email us at

Got a problem or question relating to the music biz? Ask Uncle Terry.
(Uncle Terry is a grumpy old man who lives in a cave in one of the less fashionable corners of the Yarra Valley. He is not a qualified legal practitioner and he does not dispense formal legal advice. Neither he nor the publishers of "The Dues" accept any liability for the results of acting on the opinions, statements or recommendations expressed in his column)

Email Uncle Terry on Please provide your name and suburb (& state/country, if you're not a Victorian yokel...)

Dear Uncle Terry,

We got presented with a contact from a venue and it has all this “whereas” and “heretobefore” stuff. How are you supposed to work this stuff out if you can’t afford a lawyer?




In the news

CMVH-Bistumishi to release musical wallpaper

After decades of releasing wallpaper music, European pabulum giant CMVH, in association with Japanese-Mongolian waste dispenser Bitsumishi Sandfly Co, is planning a series of releases of what CMVH executives are calling a “revolutionary” and “irreverent” concept.

Welcome musical wallpaper.



By Megan Albany

Ok, so we all know a million drummer jokes, but to be fair and to show that drummers really are a smart bunch, the Dues has decided to dedicate this issue to drummers the country over – because let’s face it they’re the ones who get everyone’s booty shaking.
But it’s not any ordinary drummers we’re playing tribute to, but instead drummers who show that perhaps, despite the jokes, they are the brains of the outfit after all. We speak to a veteran drummer and a new drummer on the block, who both have their head well and truly screwed on when it comes to the business of making music and what’s more, god forbid even making a living out of their chosen careers.


Articles express the opinion of authors and not necessarily that of theMusicians Union of Australia. No responsibility is accepted for unsolicited material. The Dues makes every effort to use reliable, comprehensive information, but we make no representation that it is accurate or complete.


And then there were…..

Ubiquitous financial “Holding Company” Citigroup has now swallowed EMI. Private equity firm “Terra Firma” has given up on turning the discery into a profitable business.


Citigroup has massively reduced the label’s debt (apparently by writing lots of it off since they were the major creditor!) and now claim the label is ready to make bucks. How they plan to do this in the current environment isn’t specified. Many suspect that a purchase of EMI by one of the few remaining “major” labels in the near future is a more likely outcome.

...more Intelligence


Part 18 of a series 
Bellaire Hillock

Using the Internet
Last time we looked at what the internet can do and concluded that it can basically only do two things:

1. Give you a place to “Hang Stuff Up”
2. Allow you to “Send Stuff”

Let’s first consider “Hanging Stuff Up”. This process requires some form of web presence. It could be a stand alone website or a site which is really just pages on someone else’s site. It could be something you have built yourself from scratch or using a template based tool such as “bandzoogle”.

It could be pages on this or that social networking site, the possibilities are seemingly endless and that is part of the problem. People often tend to concentrate on the array of available ways to create a web presence rather than to concentrate on what that presence can do.

It makes more sense to work out first just exactly what it is you intend to “hang up” rather than where or how. And at the same time (or maybe even before this!) you need to work out how “hanging up” a particular item on a web platform is going to help you.

Let’s look at some examples to try to clarify this before it gets any more abstract.



Part 21 in a series  

Holden Fairlane

Welcome back to the wonderful world of harmonic enthusiasm!

In our last edition we had just summarised four of the six chord families, only two to go now. Let’s press on: