Sound system

Integrating freelance workers into a business model that prioritises engaging youth in the arts, is getting results, an audience has heard.

A panel of six people connected to the NSS, Northern Sound System, discussed the organisation’s achievements at the Launceston Freelance Festival today.

The music industry has historically been bolstered by freelance ‘gig workers’, with the COVID-19 pandemic placing many of these jobs on hold for over two years.

It has meant organisations such as Northern Sound System are integral as a hub for freelancers to return to work in the industry.

Located in Elizabeth, South Australia, the NSS was created in 2007 after refitting a recreation centre into a space for local youth to try their hand in creating music.

“It [the NSS] was born from a lot of funding thrown into a low socio-economic area that converted a huge rec centre into a music production space with recording studios, a venue and a bar that within 12 months had been paid off,” Nick O’Connor, the NSS training and projects manager said.

O’Connor added: “The basic ideology is that we have engagement programs there, if you like music, come and have a go… we’ve got cheap recording studios, you can come and hire a studio for $5 an hour.”

Bianca Nilsson, who has operated Renegade records for the past half-decade, praised the NSS for helping her launch her record label.

“Walking through those doors [at NSS] was the second best thing I’ve done in my life, the best thing was starting my own business,” said Nilsson.

“I didn’t go to NSS for about five years into running my business, and still not making any money, I was just learning.

“I walked in and we sat down and they asked me ‘what’s your biggest dream?’ I told them and they said ‘let’s do it’.”

Nilsson added: “Just walking through the doors at Northern Sound System changed my life, not just me but so many others. It’s given us so many opportunities to grow and learn.

“Since 2019 I’ve been able to successfully run over 570 publicity campaigns both nationally and internationally.”

Main image by Fred Pawle.

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