80% of Australians consider international artists significant for getting live music back + all the biggest industry headlines from the week
02.08.2021

80% of Australians consider international artists significant for getting live music back + all the biggest industry headlines from the week

Words by Christie Eliezer

Vanda-Young Song competition is back, Paramount+ launches service with new Australian music flick + more!

Been out of the loop with everything that’s been going on in the music industry recently? We don’t blame you. Here’s a wrap-up of all the biggest Aussie music industry news stories from the past fortnight.

The top headlines:

  • An update on the financial impact of COVID on the Music sector.
  • Smart speaker ownership up 5% in the past couple years.
  • Deaf and disabled artists gain exposure through The Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award.

Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines. 

Reports Dive Deeper Into Financial And Well-Being Of Covid On Australian Music

One of the theories was that with the door slammed shut on international tours, it would be a golden era for Australian acts.

But with overseas acts making up 80% of value of concert tickets sold in Australia a year (no coincidence that 80% of music playlisted on commercial radio is by non-Australians) it was wistful thinking by the music industry.

In fact, a new study from The Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) of 35,000 consumers found that 80% — there’s that magic number again – indicated they consider international artists to be a “significant” or “very significant” factor in their decision to attend live events.

The survey also found that fans want live events with larger crowd numbers to return this year, with more than 80% keen to see live events return with greater crowd numbers this year.

It also unravelled how so many were affected mentally by not going to concerts. One told the survey, “Live music literally helps so much with my depression. I am struggling without it.”

Another pointed out: “I am disabled. These events are often the only time I leave the house and get dressed nicely in a month, and the only time I get to socialise without focus on my disability. Live music is my lifeblood despite financial limitations.”

A survey by the association UK Music noted 57% said music helped them cope, 71% thought it made them productive at work/study, 31% turned to music when feeling anxious and 56% to improve their mood, 42% listened to more music than before and 1 million took up a new instrument.

A July 29 update from I Lost My Gig just 7% of execs in the live performance and events industries were to operate at pre-COVID levels.

Amount of events cancelled between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 was 82,983…and only 1% were covered by insurance. In the month of July 2021 alone, 23,000 were cancelled, a loss of $64 million or $16 million a week.

60% of respondents of respondents have started looking for work in other industries. Over 67% felt ineligible for the Federal government’s Disaster Relief Payment.

Another report, by PWC in its Entertainment and Media Outlook, reported the Australian music industry declined by almost 39% in 2020 to $1.1 billion, with the live sector losing up to 90% of revenue over the past year at $86 million.

But the live sector will return, from mid-2022 according to some promoters, to a golden period. PWC estimates it will be worth $2.2 billion by 2025, at a 3.3% rise a year.

Indie-Con Air

Among the topics discussed online at Indie-Con (August 4—6) on AIR’s YouTube channel are NFTs and indie labels, international touring, composing music for games, virtual networking, how tech can work with indies, licensing and live streaming, and funding for indie labels.

Deaf And Disabled Artists Recognised In Awards

A new long-overdue category in the Music Victoria Awards recognises achievements and contributions of disabled and deaf musicians with the hope of increasing their profile and expanding their fan base. The Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award provides a $3,000 cash grant from Arts Access Victoria, and rehearsal package from Richmond’s Bakehouse Studios.

They’re obviously eligible for the other categories as well. Submissions close on August 20, with finalists announced on September 3.

Vanda-Young Song Comp Returns

The 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition is back with the first prize of $50,000 from APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing.

Second prize is $10,000 (courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora), third prize of $5,000 (courtesy Aon) while the AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize of 5,000 is from the Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited.

The 2020 first-place winner was Thelma Plum for ‘Better In Blak’. Entries close 11.59pm (AEDT) Friday 8 October 2021.

Love Me Love My Smart Speaker

Of the 26% of Aussies who own a smart speaker (up from 5% in 2018), 67% use it daily and 88% on a weekly basis. Further data from the first Smart Audio report by Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia indicates 59% listen to more audio since they bought the device.

24% of smart speaker owners have three or more in their home and 61% plan to purchase another smart speaker in the future. But 63% don’t know enough about smart speakers to use all of its features.

According to the study, 42% of Australians use a voice assistant as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Music is the most requested (65% of smart speaker owners, on a weekly basis) followed by the weather (56%) general questions (53%) and the news (41%).

Jean’s Genies: Levi’s Hands Out $90K

Border closures put the finito on this year’s BIGSOUND but its Levi’s Music Prize initiative still went on to distribute $90,000 to emerging acts. Getting $15,000 each towards their career were Sycco, JK-47,Ashwarya, Birdz, Jerome Farah and Redland Bay Qld band Beddy Rays.

Giving Lorde The Finger

A row emerged on social media over the cover of Lorde’s new Solar Power where she’s seen running along a beach. Keen eyed fans noticed that the image, shot from below, is missing her right-hand ring finger.

The more excitable ones lamented if this was the end of her making music, the ones with sensible shoes deduced the finger is most likely pointing downwards, making it difficult to see.

Paramount+ Launching With Aussie Fest Flick

Film streaming service Paramount+ comes live in Australia in August – and launching with an Aussie film feature called 6 Festivals.

It’s about three besties who decide to tick off a to-do box of seeing six festivals before one of them carks it from cancer.

It was shot in festivals in Wollongong and the Sunshine Coast with cameos from G Flip, Dune Rats, Alison Wonderland, Bliss N Eso, Peking Duk, PNAU, Example, Hooligan Hefs, The Amity Affliction, JessB, B Wise and Running Touch.

Writer and director Macario de Souza (Bra Boys, Fighting Fear) had his share of treading festival stages back in his previous life of Kid Mac.

Court In The Act

Newcastle singer Daniel ‘Jimmy Beloved’ Hanson of the bands Falling For Beloved and We Built Atlantis was jailed for 28 years after pleading guilty to 23 charges of child sex and indecent assault offences. He used his rock star status to groom 14 girls, aged 12 to 22.

Brisbane musician turned guitar tech for a musical instrument wholesaler, Nicholas James Soles, 27, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to six drug (including trafficking) and weapons offences.

If you’re a musician that’s lost their gig, complete a form at I Lost My Gig so accurate data can be used on the industry.