The A–Z of 2022 for the Music Industry

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The A–Z of 2022 for the Music Industry

Words by Christie Eliezer

Looking back at the year in music!

What a year it was. The pandemic finally started to appear a little smaller in the rearview mirror after a horror two years, festivals were aplenty when weather didn’t wreak havoc, and some of the top acts hit Aussies shores on tour.

Here’s our A-Z wrap up of the year.

Read up on all the latest features and columns here.

A = Australia

Australia suffered flooding, dragged-out pandemic, insurance hikes and a change at the top of yet another major label (Universal).

A boost came when Albanese’s Labor seized power at the May 21 federal election while Australians continued to change the way they consumed music while A1 became more involved in the changing face of music.

ARIA figures issued in March 2022 showed the calendar 2021 was a 15 year high for the local recording industry with wholesale data of $565.8 million, up 4.4 per cent from $542 million in 2020 and up 20.7 per cent from $468.7 million in 2017.

Streaming accounted for 86 per cent of sales… compared to 39 per cent a decade before.

18 bodies called for the creation of a federal music development agency to hike investment from the Federal Government, as Aussie acts breaking through globally remained a trickle.

There was growth in all sectors of the industry, with 2013 expected to kick-start a golden era.

Two events ranked in Pollstar’s biggest festivals in the world for 2022 —Bluesfest Byron Bay at #8 grossing almost US$11.6 million and drawing 101,124 punters; and CMC Rocks at #15 with a US$6.2 million gross and attendance of 22,045.

B = Boycott

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses called for a boycott of artists who played at the Melbourne Cup for “endorsing animal abuse”.

C = Community broadcasting

Community broadcasting’s 350 stations got a jolt of certainty after the first Albanese budget allocated $88 million over the next four years.

D = Discovery

Australians discover music through a mix of radio, streaming playlists, and social media. But in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, one in two find new grooves via short-form video platforms like TikTok, according to a study.

Those in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, for example, are nearly twice as likely than US listeners to use TikTok-type apps.

APAC listeners are 39 per cent more likely than those in the US to use video/audio streaming services as a music discovery tool. It’s 77 per cent in Indonesia.

E = Earnings

End of 2022 global financials from the three major labels – Universal, Sony, and Warner – are expected to exceed last year when they jointly generated over US $20 billion – or $2.3 million each hour, said Music Business Worldwide.

Of this, $12.5 billion came from streaming recorded revenue alone.

F = Flicking the switch

By the end of 2022, the number of commercial radio listeners in Australia hit a record 12.2 million, said radio monitor GfK.

On average, Aussies aged 10-24, tuned in an extra 1 hour and 48 minutes each week across the five major metro markets, bringing their total average listening to 10 hours and 54 mins.

Those listening to commercial radio via streaming soared by 46 per cent, to close to 3.7 million.

Commercial DAB+ station listeners increased 18.5 per cent Year On Year to over 2.7 million.

G = Global

A new report on turning Sydney into a 24-hour global city, the 28-page Global Cities After Dark Sydney Future Proofing Report through VibeLab Asia Pacific, came with 14 recommendations.

These included tax incentives for investment and support of next generation artists and entrepreneurs, especially in “risky and alternative cultural ideas”, and cheap spaces in the city for creatives to work and live in.

There’d be closer ties with NSW police to the point of setting up a music industry liaison, greater visibility of, and facilities for, disabled people and a report every two years on changing diversity in late night patrons.

H = Highest

Ed Sheeran sold the most concert tickets in 2022, shifting three million tickets to 63 concerts on the European leg of his Mathematics tour.

It was also the third highest-grossing tour of 2022, raking in US$246,287,916.

Latin superstar Bad Bunny claimed the top spot, making $373,463,379 for 65 shows, Elton John was second with $334,385,023 for 84 dates.

I = Insurance

APRA AMCOS, ARIA, PPCA, Live Performance Australia, Live Entertainment Industry  Forum and the Australian Festival Association called for the Australian Government to adopt the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.

It is based on a partnership between the UK Government and Lloyd’s of London insurers, with government guaranteeing policies issued by insurers to live events open to the general public, including festivals and business events.

J = John, Elton

Elton John’s 10-date Australian and NZ run in January has the potential to reach over one million, which would make it the biggest of all-time. Globally, the three-year Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour is already the third largest in history.

Billboard Boxscore showed that by October 9, it grossed US$661.3 million and sold 4.5 million tickets across 257 shows around the world.

Ed Sheeran’s The Divide Tour earned $776.4 million from 2017 to 2019 and U2’s 360 Tour grossed $736.4 million in 2009-11.

K = Kylie

Moving back to Melbourne, Kylie Minogue went into full gear to generate a big chunk of change. One was for a 12-week residency in Las Vegas that comes with a $17 million price tag.

After the success of her rosé with De Bortoli Wines in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, the new chardonnay and pinot noir ranges go worldwide.

L = Links

Research showed that music listening is linked to an awareness of climate crisis as to an interest in sports. A new study in February by MIDiA Research found those who listen a lot to music or spend a lot on music-related items were also more likely to spend on climate-friendly propositions.

Audiobook fans are three times more likely to spend on environmentally friendly pursuits.

Around the time of the FIFA Soccer World Cup, Luminate found the most popular entertainment activity for fans was listening to music.

Afropop was 200 per cent more likely listened to, with Bollywood (+175 per cent), Latin (+110 per cent), and K-Pop (+100 per cent). There was a 17 per cent higher listenership rate for hip-hop/rap, rock (+14 per cent), pop/top 40 (+8 per cent), and country (+3 per cent).

M = Midnights

Taylor Swift’s Midnights album had the biggest single week in Australia in 2022… also the biggest single week for any album since the release of her 2017 album Reputation.

Swift had nine tracks on the ARIA Singles Chart Top 10, also holding #11 through to #14.

In the US, she said she was “in shambles” after becoming the first artist to claim the top 10 slots on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, notching up 204,000 sales first week and breaking the Spotify record for most-streamed album in a day.

N = NFTs

NFT (non-fungible token) transactions on NFT marketplace OpenSea hit a peak of US $2.7 billion in May… and went into a 99 per cent nosedive by late August to $9.34 million. 

O = Owusu, Genesis

Aside from virtually winning every award he was nominated, Canberra rapper Genesis Owusu also made ACT Young Australian of the Year.

P = Pop

Most popular genre in the UK according to the world of Deezer was pop, followed by rock, electronic, hip-hop and R&B. Not surprising: the platform’s most streamed acts were Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Adele.

Q = Queensland

Baz Luhrmann shot Elvis entirely in Queensland, giving the banana-bender state kudos in Hollywood circles after grossing US$286 million globally and $33.4 million domestically

It is the fourth highest-grossing Australian film in Australia.

On January 25 (Australian time) we’ll see if Elvis gets the Oscar nom nod for best picture, actor, costume design, production design, and editing as heavily speculated.

R = Rap lyrics

“Art On Trial: Protect Black Art” was an open letter by artists, record labels, and activists urging US prosecutors and legislators to restrict how rap lyrics can be used in criminal trials.

“In courtrooms across America, the trend of prosecutors using artists’ creative expression against them is happening with troubling frequency… Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain.

“But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalise Black creativity and artistry.”

Among those who signed were Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, Coldplay, Travis Scott, Alicia Keys, 2 Chainz, Christina Aguilera, John Legend, Warner, Sony, Universal, Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube Music.

S = Splendour in the Grass

Bog Day Out. 

T= Trainwreck, ARIAs

“The music industry’s night of nights” was an embarrassment of missed cues, missing mics, backstage hosts Christian Wilkins (model) and Lucinda Froomes (comedian) got song and album titles wrong or forgetting artist names.

Vance Joy thanked the wrong video director and 243,000 tuned in on Nine with a similar number on YouTube.

U = Unlawful?

NSW music festival patrons filed a Supreme Court class action against NSW Police to test the legality of strip searches at these events.

Court documents claimed minors had to strip and squat, others were told to remove tampons, lift their breasts, and show their genitals to cops.

V = Vinyl

ARIA figures released in May showed that vinyl sales outstripped those of the CD, $29.7 million versus $24.9 million in the 12 months before.

ARIA chief Annabelle Herd said, “The vinyl market is an increasingly important player as our market evolves, affording music fans across generations the opportunity to add classics to their collection, but also for fans of new music to have a greater sense of connection and ownership toward recordings they love.

“It is an important sector for independent artists, DJs, and emerging subcultures that deserves serious recognition.”

W = WEB3

There were Web3 music projects ranging from Coachella to the Grammys.

So why was there no mass adoption and migration into a Web3 world despite its superior functionality, superior security, and full investment by early adopters?

In a guest blog in Pollstar magazine by Kings of Leon manager Andy Mendelsohn, the problems are the difficulty (and frustration) of opening a digital wallet, and record labels moving to close perceived loopholes to stop another Napster.

Mendelsohn wrote: “This was overkill, because record labels actually covered NFTs decades ago when they started including ‘mediums known and unknown’ in recording contracts. That little phrase covers the labels, so end-arounds are not possible without contention.”

X = X marks the spot

Support Act’s Ausmusic T-Shirt Day on November 18 raised over $600,000 for music workers in need with over 700 fund-raisers held on the day and 27 celebs showing support.

It allows the charity to support musicians, managers, crew and music workers through crisis relief, mental health and wellbeing programs, funeral support, and the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline.

Y = Yolngu

The dominance of First Nations wins at the 2022 ARIA Awards was underlined when Baker Boy accepted his first awards in Yolngu language.

Z = Zealand, New

The international ticketing business report showed that in New Zealand, digital ticketing became the dominant format during the pandemic, fans were loyal with 80 per cent holding onto their tickets when shows were postponed, and promoters facing the problem of “two years’ worth of acts trying to deliver tours all at once.”

More Ausmusic T-Shirt Day details here.