Paul Bodlovich: The West Australian Music Industry Association

WAM Represents: The West Australian Music Industry Association.

In the 23 years since the West Australian Music Industry Association (WAM) was established it has undergone a massive transformation.

Originally founded in 1985 and named the Western Australian Rock Music Industry Association, WAM is the peak representative body for the WA music industry, working to both represent and help develop the industry.

“Our role is to represent it on issues of common interest and also to work on strategies to develop the industry so that there are more opportunities for musicians and others for whom the industry can be their primary occupation,” Paul Bodlovich, WAM CEO says.

Run as a not for profit organisation, WAM has a Board of elected members who oversee its governance and policy and a team of ten staff who work to deliver its programs and advocate on the needs of the industry.

“The organisation has a membership (generally between 4-500 members).  We have a Board that is mostly made up of members elected at our Annual General Meeting and who oversee the governance and policy direction of the organisation, and a staff that’s here to do all the work in delivering programs.  We fund our operation from a whole variety of sources – currently the mix is 10% earned revenues, 33% from sponsorships and 57% from government.”

Paul has been the CEO of the organisation for about six and a half years; having been on the organisation’s Board in the 90’s. He says in his time with WAM it has grown on numerous levels and gained more respect.

“Our membership is about 1500% larger, turnover up more than $1 million a year, we’re out of debt and now have 10 professional staff as compared with two part time people plus myself when I began.”

WAM’s programs include RAAMPAGE which supports local all ages music events, the Song of the Year Competition, the WAM Hall of Fame and two of its most popular events, the WAMi Festival and WAMi Awards.

Held each year in May (the festival moved from February to May in 2009), the WAMi Festival is nine days jammed packed with local music events, including the Saturday Spectacular, the WAMi Music Business Conference and of course the WAMi Awards, more affectionately known as the WAMis.

“The WAMis has a pretty huge reputation on the east coast and plenty of bands use the fact that they’ve won a WAMi in press releases and bios.  I think that’s really healthy from the perspective of the credibility of the event itself,” Paul says.

To further pay tribute to the talent of the WA music scene, WAM established the WAMi Hall of Fame in 2004. Up until this year, the induction was a part of the WAMi Awards.

“We wanted to give some more love to the Hall of Fame induction than just 2 minutes at the awards, so we’re wanting to create a special standalone event.  What that will be I’m unsure of at this point,” Paul says.

In helping to create links with international markets, WAM has been instrumental in getting WA bands to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) and College Music Journal (CMJ) festivals held in Texas and New York respectively.

These links have been helped by the local industry becoming more self aware of its talent and thinking on a global scale. Paul says he has seen this development in his time with WAM.

“I think it’s become more self aware in understanding that our bands are good enough to go anywhere.  There’s been a lot more touring activity, bands are now thinking about themselves in terms of global markets, the live scene is probably more diverse, studios are all really busy and generally I think the general population is beginning to wake up to the fact that we’re sitting on a wonderful resource here in terms of musical talent.”

Official WAM website

Copyright (C) 2008 Christina Ballico.

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