Australian Music Industry News: NSW Live music census, new signings and anniversary tours!

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Australian Music Industry News: NSW Live music census, new signings and anniversary tours!

Kevin Parker Sony
Words by Christie Eliezer

Catch up on the latest from our ever-changing industry!


NSW’s first-ever census of live music, The State Of The Scene report, has shown that there are 795 venues across the state, provides 25,000 jobs and contributes an economic output of $5.5 billion to the NSW economy.

The numbers crunch down to 55 dedicated live music venues, 453 regular and ongoing venues, 56 large-scale multipurpose venues and 231 venues that offer live music as an ancillary function.

The report used feedback from 750 industry participants and 550 live music punters.

Night Time

Minister for Music and the Night-Time Economy, John Graham said: “We have never known the full number of venues or had a clear picture of their economic impact of live music in NSW.

“Now we want to grow that number.

“What this shows is not only the number of venues that offer live music across the state, but the different types of venues and the important roles they play in their community, as well as the enormous social, economic impacts and jobs the industry provides.”


The Minister explained it was impossible to grow the number without knowing the figures.

“This data will allow Government to better respond to industry and audience needs, and target bringing more venues online which may currently have the capacity to offer live music but aren’t doing so.”

Greater Insight

It’s given the Government a greater insight to what’s keeping the sector back. These included:

  • The financial pressures live music venues are operating in, including cost-of-living pressure for audiences;
  • Legal red tape restricting how many people a club could hold;

Expensive Pricing

  • Expensive pricing and security environments for venue operators. One Brisbane operator told Mixdown it was no longer necessary to have that much security per crowd size because Gen Z hardly drank with few punch-ups resulting.
  • Changing audience behaviours and fragmented media landscape;
  • Complex government policy and grant schemes;

Mid-Career Growth

  • Lack of mid-career growth opportunities and reduction in youth live music spaces and all ages events;
  • Access and inclusivity; and
  • Public transportation

Pivotal Threads

Minister Graham went on to say, “Contemporary music and the night time economy are pivotal threads in the creative and economic fabric of our society. 

“That is why we’re investing over $45 million into both music and the night-time economy in the 2024-25 Budget.”

This will be primarily through funding to Sound NSW and Office of the 24-Hour Commissioner.

Read all the latest product & music industry news here.

Night Time

The Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner will receive $26.9 million to empower the night-time economy industry and local councils through regulatory reform, grants programs, precinct-based initiatives, digital tools and other support to help create diverse, safe, and vibrant communities across NSW.

The aim is to support communities and businesses that make NSW cities “lively and exciting, employ people and contribute to a culturally rich, diverse, inclusive, and innovative nightlife.”

Sound NSW

Sound NSW will continue to build and support the role that the contemporary music industry plays in the night-time economy, with $18.5 million to deliver programs that drive audience and international market development, strengthen the live music ecosystem and champion NSW artists and stories.

Combined, these investments will make it fairer and easier for businesses, artists, and communities to develop and support their music cultures and night-time precincts. 

That means less red tape, reduced risk of getting shut down by unfair complaints and removing hidden costs to give certainty and to encourage communities and businesses to innovate.


Brisbane will get a Night Life Economy Commissioner to revitalise the night time economy and live music sector, the Queensland Government announced in its State Budget this week.

Premier Steven Miles said the Commissioner, with funding from the budget, would work with local businesses, live music venues and entertainment precincts to “create a vibrant and safe night-life environment”.

“Our night-time economy helps generate millions each year and supports jobs across the state, in small business, arts, entertainment, tourism and more,” he said.

ID Scanners

It is expected that ID scanners and lockout laws would be dropped.

A piece in the Courier Mail earlier asked around live sector names as to who would be the best Commissioner, with John Collins – the one time Powderfinger member who now runs the Triffid and Fortitude Music Hall – suggested as the frontrunner.


WA’s Department of Transport is investigating an alleged incident at the taxi rank at Perth Airport when Gumbaynggirr and Yamatji singer songwriter Emma Donovan was refused a ride by two different drivers because of her race.

Donovan had just arrived from Melbourne after a CD launch.

She took to social media to say she found “two drivers refusing me in the front of the line, one making a comment that he doesn’t like “My Kind”.

Tears And Anger

“I am absolutely fuming writing this in tears and anger. I will be reporting these guys somehow. The whole cab line was arguing about who would take me, and no one wanted to.

“A kind fulla offered me a lift in his Car and took me to Vic Park. I know this wasn’t because of a short fare, I know this was Racism at its finest.”


In a move rare in the music industry, pro audio pioneer and legend Bill Armstrong AM has donated all physical royalties from the 42 albums his jazz labels Bilarm Music and Swaggie Records to the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA).

The money will go towards ARCA’s fund-raising activities towards Support Act’s Roadies Fund, with the releases on ARCA’s own Black Box Records, through MGM Distribution.

Earlier 40+ releases included live tapes by Midnight Oil, Crowded House, Australian Crawl, Men At Work, Wendy Matthews, TISM, Spy V Spy, Jon English, Vince Jones, Depression and the star-studded Tour of Duty concert in Dili.


The Armstrong releases cover those by pianist Graeme Bell, trumpet/cornet player Bob Barnard, multi-instrumentalist Don Burrows, trumpeter Frank Johnson and banjo player Smacka Fitzgibbon.

Within production and road crew circles, Armstrong is a legend for the way he invented or improvised audio equipment from the 1940s.

“Crews and roadies regard Bill as an absolute legend, a truly unsung hero of the music industry,” says ARCA co-founder “Piggy” Peel.

“We’re all aware how Bill pioneered recording music in Australia from the 1940s, whether it be live or studio and against all odds, and we tend to put him up on a pedestal.”

Crew Members

 “Through the decades, many crew members went through Armstrong Studios and learned more about their own art.

“Bill was always willing to help by donating his time and knowledge.”

ARCA is in discussions with a major awards show to introduce a Bill Armstrong Award to honour music’s behind-the-scene champions including outstanding crew members.

ARCA also plans for government bodies to fund a Bill Armstrong bequest to give emerging studio producers and engineers a great career boost.


Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker Sell To Sony

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker sold his complete song catalogue to Sony Music Publishing (SMP).

Parker has been with SMP since 2009, and in 2020 widened to cover worldwide representation of his future songs.

He’s also written with Rihanna, Travis Scott, Dua Lipa, Mick Jagger, Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Gorillaz, Mark Ronson, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, Flaming Lips, A$AP Rocky, Lil Yachty, Don Toliver, Daft Punk, Miguel, and The Wiggles.

Tony Buchen@ SMP

Los Angeles-based Australian writer Tony Buchen inked with Sony Music Publishing.

In March two of his projects, Midlife and Peter Garrett, topped the ARIA charts.

He’s been working with Alex The Astronaut, Meg Mac, Full Flower Moon Band and DUTI Dance Company.

Quivers @ Merge Records

Quivers’ (“Naarm/Melbourne-based jangle damaged pop”) August-due album Oyster Cuts will be released through Merge Records.

The band is currently on the road in Australia with plans to do a US run with Superchunk and playing the label’s 35th anniversary festival.


The Mirage deal came after Fugazi’s drummer brought Mac from Merge to their Washington D.C. show. 

Kid Rock’s manager showed interest in signing them up at SXSW.

Gut Health Go Global

Ahead of their first tour of the UK and Europe, which included sets at The Great Escape, London Calling and Foul Weather, Naarm/Melbourne dance-punks Gut Health unveiled their global team and new international signings. 

On the label front, Gut Health share a global deal with AWAL Recordings, joining Little Simz, Angie McMahon, Laufey, Genesis Owusu, Spacey Jane and Jungle.


The band also joined the roster at Concord Music Publishing. Live bookings are being handled by  ATC Live in the UK and Europe with agents Sam Lister and Steve Taylor at the helm, Tom Windish at Wasserman will take care of North America and Asia, while Casey O’Shaughnessy and Katie Krollig at Select Music will manage domestic bookings.


A new survey by Flight Centre Travel Group’s Stage and Screen of a thousand of their passengers aged between 18 and 35, found a distinct move away from festivals to international stadium and arena acts.

“Distinct” as in an eye-raising 89% of respondents revealed they had many reasons for moving away from taking to the fields.

Rising Price

For 66% it was the rising price of tickets, 35% blamed the logistics of travelling to the site, and 33% for exposure to the elements because it was limited shelter at most festivals.

For 58% of female respondents it was safety concerns.

31% preferred to go and see a big name headliner like Taylor Swift and P!NK, in a city stadium. 

Flight Centre bookings to Sydney around Tay-Tay’s Feb 23—26 shows there saw an 88% increase in fare sales c/f with the week before.


Bookings to Melbourne during Feb 16—18 was up 89%.

In comparison, flights to Byron in 2023 around the time of Splendour (July 21-23) were 49% up while those to Bluesfest (March 28 to April 1) were just 1.6% up.

Stage and Screen GM Adam Moon observed, “Price, convenience and comfort are clearly steering fans towards headline acts in city stadiums, but our figures show that ‘FOMO’ is another factor. 

“Providing more shelter, reducing ticket costs, ensuring safety and an inclusive atmosphere could breathe life back into this beloved Australian pastime.”


For its entry into the $5 billion headphone market with Sonos Ace, Sonos joined forces with fashion entrepreneur and creative director Pip Edwards (she co-founded P.E Nation) as ambassador and connect with a style-conscious audience.

Sonos Senior PR lead Phillipa Thomas said, “The synergies between Pip Edwards and Sonos are so clear.


 “Both share a dedication to intentional, consumer-centric design, crafting beautiful products that seamlessly blend into people’s lives and elevate the everyday, whether at home or on the go”.

“Just as Sonos revolutionised multi-room wireless audio, P.E Nation pioneered athleisure, establishing it as a wardrobe staple and creating culture. 

“This commitment to innovation is the cornerstone of both brands and why we couldn’t ask for a better partner to launch Sonos Ace”.


Singer and producer Lithe is finding traction in the US with “Fall Back”, released late March.

Since then, several “Fall Back” videos earned millions of views and pumped up his TikTok following, while streams there went from 834,000 a week to 1.76 million to 3 million in the week ending May 16.

Melbourne metal band Victoria Key cut it into the US metal charts with their version of Madonna’s “Frozen”. It’s getting airplay in the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Brazil and Australia.


A number of past and present Aussie megabands have been quietly having pow-wows on how they would celebrate their 50th, 40th or 30th anniversaries in the next few years.

Box sets? Reissues with extra tracks? Newly unearthed live album? A giant concert? A full blown tour?

Cold Chisel shot out of the park with 17 shows selling out 200,000 in hours, causing heart palpitations on social media.

More dates are being locked in. Will the 2024 end up matching Light The Nitro Tour (2011), which shifted 325,000 and is biggest ever tour by an Australian-based band?


Over in New Zealand, things are stirring up in Split Enzland. 

Neil Finn told Zane Lowe’s Apple podcast “various things are happening… which I’m really happy about.”

The band is in talks, and social media musings suggest could include an Australian tour.

Finn attributed this to a new team member who has with “energy and vibe” organised our (back catalogue) affairs because they’ve been languishing.”


Finn mentioned a 50th anniversary coming up. 

Their debut album Mental Notes came out in 1975 through Mushroom.

Two years later, Neil and bassist Nigel Griggs joined and the Enz went into a commercially successful phase with Neil’s “I Got You”.


As revealed in this column earlier, Spotify has new music-only subscription tier called Basic Individual, which doesn’t offer audiobooks.

It’s just launched in the UK for £10.99 per month. The Premium Individual tier which includes 15 hours of audiobook listening per month, costs £11.99.

Plans are to expand that to America and then some other countries.


As the music industry and radio sector duke it out over removing the 1% cap, a new study by economics advisory firm Mandala, and commissioned by the record labels’ royalty collection group Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) has come up with what benefits artists will get financially.

Australian artists would get an extra $4.8 million in royalties in 2024-25.

Artists played on radio could get a 78% increase in income, or an extra $19,100 per year.

Almost Double

The number of Aussie acts played on radio for the first time could almost double.

Paying the same rate for sound recordings as for musical works would see top commercial radio stations still maintain profit margins of 15% but the broader radio margin would slip down from 13% to 11%.

The ABC’s royalty payment would amount to under 0.3% of the ABC’s total annual budget. It’s currently 0.005c per head of the Australian population for ABC Radio.

Read the report here.


These are among those in the Australian music industry who passed on in recent weeks.

Andrew McVitty changed late night music TV in the late ‘70s, as director of Seven’s Nightmoves. He also helmed Kylie Minogue’s videos for “The Loco-Motion” and “I Should Be So Lucky”.

Chris Worrall was a guitarist with Melbourne bands Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, Pelaco Brothers,  Stilleto (fronted by Jane Clifton) and Bleeding Hearts. 

In the 1980s Worrall, who studied arts and design, and Chris Lofven made videos for Split Enz, Lin Van Heck, Mondo Rock, Joe Dolce, Wendy & The Rocketts and Mike Rudd and The Heaters, before he moved into advertising. 


Bevan Quelhurst, dynamic and inventive publicist with CBS Records and PolyGram Records, of lymphoma.

Tongan-Australian ABC presenter Fale’aka Taumoepeau and singer (aka SistaNative), 47.

James Stewart Rattray bassist with Jon English, Jeff St John, Mark Holden, Ross Ryan and Billy Field, was also a songwriter signed with Chappell Music and Alberts Music, and producer at his own Adelaide studio Desert Dogs.


Clive ‘Jiva’ Lawler was part of Chain’s original road crew and cricket team, and editor of the Daily Planet magazine.

UK-born Sri Lankan, Nigel Cramer was a DJ in Melbourne reggae clubs in the ‘80s and 90s.

Bob Rogers, best known in his final years as a top rating radio and TV jock, began on radio in the ‘40s, first in Australia to play ‘Rock Around The Clock’ by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1955, toured with The Beatles and introduced the Top 40 concept to Australian radio in the ‘60s.

Trafalgar Studios

Owen Reynolds looked after the equipment at Trafalgar Studios for 20 years. Studio owner and producer Charles Fisher called him “a good man. He was loyal, He was quirky.”

Drummer Chris Barton was a member of various bands including Shivers.

Dean Bateup was a Geelong musician (Behind The Magnolia Curtain), music retailer (Missing Link, photographer and inspiration behind Bored! and Sunset Strip.


Fred Noonan played drums and or guitar for Six Ft. Hick, Blowhard and The Jim Rockfords.

Singer songwriter Frances Peters Little  also starred in the theatre production of Buried Country, and ran the JL Foundation and Thumbs Up! of her father Jimmy Little.

Jane Brownrigg co-hosted Melbourne radio 3CR’s Music Matters and an avid live music fan.


“Scooter” Collings was a long time INXS lighting crew member. 

In recent times, a skirmish in a Brisbane pub saw him thrown face first onto concrete floor.

Support Act and the Australian Road Crew Association paid for his hospital bills, got him flown back to his home in North Queensland, and helped pay for his funeral.