Australian Music Industry News: a new era for music venues, The Seekers and TikTok!

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Australian Music Industry News: a new era for music venues, The Seekers and TikTok!

ARIA Awards 2024
Words by Christie Eliezer

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


From July 1, NSW’s live music venues enter a new era with the State Government coming in with new initiatives.

This comes out of having a premier and music and night time economy minister who are huge live music fans, and came into power promising to erase the mess left behind by the Libs.

Some of these initiatives have already come into play.

They are:

Order of Occupancy

This is the common sense approach to when someone complains about noise from venues.

The first question is: was the venue there first? That means new residents aren’t in any position to lower volume, cut trading hours or choose what sort of entertainment can be offered.

“The old NSW sport of moving in next to a music venue and complaining until it gets shut down, is now history,” said NSW minister for music and the night-time economy John Graham. 

“That era is coming to an end.”

Read all the latest product & music industry news here.

More Complaint Issues

Instead of seven agencies manage noise complaints, the task falls to only Liquor & Gaming NSW.

The number of people required to make a statutory disturbance complaint against a venue increased from three to five, from different households, and must prove they tried to mediate before complaining.

More Trading Hours

Hotels that schedule live music or arts and cultural events can have longer trading hours.


The NSW Government provided soundproofing grants of up to $100,000 for 77 venues.

Getting up to $80,000 were 56 spaces to help put on gigs.

Fifty-six venues will be given up to $80,000 to help host live performances

Six New Entertainment Precincts

After its trial on Enmore Road, the Inner West Council has revealed that the SEP protections will cover six new areas.

They are:

  • Balmain (Darling Street)
  • Dulwich Hill (Marrickville Road & New Canterbury Road), 
  • Leichhardt (Norton Street & Parramatta Road), 
  • Marrickville North (Victoria & Addison Road),
  • Marrickville Town Centre (Railway Parade, Marrickville Road & Illawarra Road) 
  • Rozelle (Darling Street & Victoria Road).

Extra Trading

They bring an extra hour of trading for venues that host live music, small-scale artistic and cultural events on main streets (without the need for a development application), outdoor dining until 11 pm, and just one government agency policing Inner West complaints in the precinct.

Spaces in the Special Entertainment Precincts also receive greater protection from unreasonable noise complaints, with the council providing a noise management plan for venues.


Launching in Australia is the artist-centric multi-genre social media platform FENIX360.

Says the company, “Designed with state-of-the-art proprietary technology, the platform allows independent artists to build a better business model and earn a greater share of the revenue.”


Unveiling it to music, business and tech industries at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on Tuesday July 16 are FENIX360 founder and Global CEO Allan Klepfisz and FENIX360 CEO Asia Sandy Monteiro (former President, Universal Music, Southeast Asia) with the event hosted by media identity Jane Gazzo and a set by soul singer and songwriter, Gypsy Lee.


Untitled Group’s Beyond The Valley was the only Australian festival to be public-voted UK publication DJ Mag’s Top 100 Festivals List.

BTV continues to be a major drawcard, this year, with the latest instalment selling out its camping in a week, and a staggering 70,000 signing up for the pre-sale.

Those who made it were surprised with sets from Dom Dolla and Rufus Du Sol.


Among the subjects being discussed at AIR’s Indie-Con conference in Adelaide (July 31 to August 2) are how labels create social change, navigating life online, new opportunities for the indie sector, is AI a threat or an opportunity, and an album case study around Teen Jesus and The Jean Teasers.


“Could (TikTok parent company) ByteDance be planning to launch an iPod-like device loaded with TikTok Music that can display lyrics and a light show that plays in sync with the music?”

That’s the question asked by UK trade title Music Business Worldwide which has been looking at the patent applications in China (filed in 2022) and the US (filed December 2023) in recent years, and still pending.

Electronic Device

Described as an “electronic device comprising at least one processor and memory”, changes in the music create shifts in the flashing light, flashing screen and vibration functions.

The design suggests the interface offers track name, lyrics, downloads, search, and share buttons with Meta, X, Linkedin and email.


Veteran folk-pop outfit The Seekers may be getting a St. Kilda lane named after them.

It’s something that Port Phillip Council has been considering, renaming Nelson Street, which is

adjacent to the St Kilda Junction, north of Octavia Street, St Kilda and east of Punt Road.


There are two other Nelson Streets nearby, and it’s causing a problem with their residents with emergency services, uber-drivers, contractors and couriers.

A case of never finding another you? For younger readers it was one of the Seekers’ biggest hits.


South Australian based General Admission Entertainment has launched a booking agency that it says will break down barriers for SA acts around the country.

It offers two tiers: the traditional artist roster alongside an innovative self-managed service.

The launch roster includes drummer/producer Alexander Flood, EDM/punk TONIX and punkoids LOLA.


Established in 2007 by Gareth Lewis and Aaron Sandow, General Admission Entertainment has been involved in running venues (currently the 500-capacity UniBar ADL), festival promotion and artist management.

The agency will be launched with the support of Novatech Creative Event Technology with a showcase at Chateau Apollo on July 31 as part of Indie-Con.

The above acts are joined by Wedding Motel, side project of Bad//Dreems’ Ben Marwe. More info at


This year’s 38th ARIA Awards will stage for the third year at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Wednesday November 20.

They will premiere live on Stan, followed by “a special presentation” on Channel 9.

Last year’s production was top-rate. But it’s going to have a problem in terms of whipping up the excitement. Not one Australian album has reached #1 on the ARIA chart so far this year.


Green Music Australia is launch the latest edition of Sound Country: A Green Artist Guide on July 25 (from 5.30 pm) at the Lansdowne in Sydney.

Thanks to Create NSW, it has been refreshed with new case studies, resources and an entire new chapter on green music releases.


Dozens of Australians have played the iconic Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and consider it one heck of a prestigious gig.

Its organisers have been expanding it globally. It’s already in the US (Miami), Tokyo, Suzhou, China and Rio de Janeiro, with talks going to make its bow in South Africa and Abu Dhabi.

Alas, Australia hasn’t made the cut as yet.


Naoo, a free cost-saving petrol app has launched a campaign to save money for touring musicians by offering fuel vouchers.

They can get these by sharing their gigs or touring photos through the website.

Promote Gigs

Additionally, Naoo will regularly give artists the chance to promote their gigs and tour dates on the app’s socials. 

Fans also have the chance to win tickets to emerging and established artists via the app. 

Boo Seeka

Naoo will begin with support for the July tour of Boo Seeka (also its brand ambassadors), the solo project of singer-songwriter Ben ‘Boo’ Gumbleton, as well as Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, The Grogans, Dear Sunday, Boy and Bear, and Ash Grunwald.

The app also offers a free comprehensive view of fuel prices and EV charging stations in bustling cities and remote towns.


With things tough out there on the road, Billboard spoke to a couple of mid-ranged US acts on saving money.

Tips included cramming band members into  one hotel room, getting the tour manager to coordinate remotely, and cutting back on gear and picking up crews in each town to cut down on hotel rooms and food.

Band members taking on multi-roles like manning merchandise desks and setting up the gear themselves, “and swap houses with friends to avoid Airbnbs; and postpone that long-awaited van-to-bus upgrade.”


Born: son Winston to artist manager Andrew Stone and wife Lauren.

Born: daughter Bobbi Maree to Gold Coast DJ Paul Fisher and wife Chloe after years of IVF struggles and miscarriages.


Born: granddaughter Ruby Larkin to Melbourne writer/publicist Miranda Young and venue operator and Melbourne’s only ever Night Mayor James Young. Ruby is the daughter of the Youngs son Maxie and his fiancé Silky.

Born: twin daughters Dolly and Gigi for Red Wiggle, Caterina Mete

Engaged: singer Casey Donovan and long-time girlfriend Renee Sharples. They met in 2020 on dating app Bumble.

Perth singer

Ill: Perth singer Courtney Murphy, 44, who appeared on the 2004 season of Australian Idol, has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

In Court: Western Sydney rapper Manu Crooks is in remand after charged with taking part in a group sexual assault upon a sleeping drunken woman in 2022.

He returns to court at Downing Centre Local Court on August 22 and says he was not in the room of the alleged incident. He faces life sentence is found guilty.


Died: Sydney music journalist and musician Greg Taylor. He was one time editor of RAM and a sax player with Jimmy and the Boys,

Died: Melbourne drummer Greg Martin, whose bands included Goanna Band, Paul Kelly Band, Mick Pealing and the Ideals, Little Murders and Coolchange.

Died: Helen Matthews WA’s queen of jazz, with JT & The Jazzmen and the Johns Bros, and helped set up the Perth Jazz Society in the ‘70s.

Died: Queensland guitarist and singer Gary ‘Cozzy’ Cosgrove and ardent live music advocate who set up the Cozzy’s Gympie Musicians Facebook page.


This year’s SoundMerch Australian Music Prize rises from $30,000 to $50,000.

Marking its 20th year, AMP will consider Aussie albums released between October 28, 2023 and October 25, 2024. 

Judges have already started listening to eligible records, with more than 200 in contention.

The first part of the judging process will see 50 albums nominated for the AMP. The first three unveiled are Faith Crisis Pt 1 by Middle Kids, Sweet Justice by Tkay Maidza, and ’Til My Song Is Done by Emma Donovan.


Dean Lewis’ Grammy-nominated record producer is suing Universal Music over alleged use of audio stems in Lewis hit “Be Alright”, said Music Business Weekly who got a copy of court documents.

The producer is Jon Hulme, ex-member of the band Evermore, and based in Nashville, USA.


In his lawsuit, he said he and Lewis wrote “Be Alright around September 2015. During the demo sessions, he also created a number of stems (audio tracks) of him playing each instrument in the demo.

In 2016 Universal Music Australia asked him to send the stems to another producer “to save time and money”, and stressed these would not be in the final master but only used as reference.

Hulme claims 50% of them ended up in the final product.

29 Countries

“Be Alright”, released in 2018, charted in 29 countries, and streamed 1.8 billion on Spotify. 

It reached #1 in Australia where it went 14 x platinum, and also 5 million copies in the US where it reached #1 on the Adult Pop Airplay Chart and #23 in the Hot 100.


Pioneering First Nation band Coloured Stone were inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame.

Formed at Koonibba Aboriginal Mission in 1977, the band said it had played more Aboriginal communities than any other, and also went on to tour Europe and the US.

Leader Bunna Lawrie is Mirning elder and Whale Songman of the Yinyila nation.


West Australia’s peak music association WAM is “embarking on a new strategic direction” after receiving $1 million funding – or $500,000 over two years – from the WA Government.

After recent challenges, WAM plans to build capacity and deliver impact at sales by working closely with industry, government, critical partners and stakeholders.


Board president Al Taylor, said, “We are looking forward to sharing more on the strategy over the coming months.”

In a significant move, WAM announced the resignation of Executive Director, Livia Carre. A recruitment campaign will soon commence to secure a new CEO “who will lead WAM into this exciting new chapter”.


Damian Rinaldi is the new General Manager for the Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited (AMPAL). 

Starting out 30 years ago playing in bands in Perth, he is the Managing Director of music industry consultancy Sonic Rights Management, and Principal of music law firm Sonic Lawyers.

Other News

In other AMPAL news, Clive Hodson (Perfect Pitch Publishing) was elected Chair of AMPAL; 

Karen Hamilton (120 Publishing) was elected Deputy-Chair; 

Ralph W Peer (peermusic) was elected to the Global Board of ICMP (International Confederation of Music Publishers) as AMPAL’s representative; and

Clive Hodson was made Chair of the Australasia and Asia Global Regional Board of ICMP.

Commercial Radio

Former senior executive at Nine and social agency WeAre8, Lizzie Young takes over as new CEO of Commercial Radio & Audio (CRA) from August 7, replacing Ford Ennals who quit in April after two years in the seat.

After eleven years at WA music association WAM, Strategic Relationships and Development Manager, Georgia Kennedy has moved on.

She was instrumental in championing programs as the “New Noise” schools program, the “Snapshot” photography exhibition and the Felix Burrows Residence.

Music NSW

Joining the board of MusicNSW are Rhoda Roberts AO (currently the Elder in Residence for SBS, the Creative Director for First Nations at NORPA, and a consultant with NIDA), The Annex founder Mardi Caught, Beau Neilson who is Creative Director & Executive Producer of Phoenix Central Park and new owner of The Vanguard club in Newtown; and Michael Hutchings, Head of First Nations Programming at the Sydney Opera House.


Dylan Cole is new Executive Director of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He is currently Head of Venue Planning at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Helen Lear​​​​ left Support Act as its Communications & Marketing Manager to become PR and Communications Manager at APRA AMCOS.

Sophie Paterson, ex-head of PR and communications for Spotify ANZ, joined Ogilvy PR in the newly created role of Head of Gaming and Entertainment.

Live Performance

Evelyn Richardson is stepping down as Live Performance Australia Chief Executive at the end of the year.

Music biz veteran Peter Rix AM announced that after 36 years of producing the APRA Awards, he is no longer involved.

He continues to manage Marcia Hines after 52 years and is Creator/Producer of the globally successful burlesque, circus/disco show Velvet, currently playing Europe.


Experimental performance artist, dancer and choreographer Joshua Pether is new CEO of Arts Access Victoria, replacing Caroline Bowditch.

Melbourne Fringe CEO and Creative Director Simon Abrahams was appointed to be a member of the Creative Workplaces Council for a four-year term.


Multiple Golden Guitar award-winning country music artist Ashleigh Dallas joined the CMAA Academy of Country Music as Assistant Director, alongside Director Lyn Bowtell and General Manager Roger Corbett.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s new Executive Director of Development is Alisia Romanin, formerly La Trobe University’s Director Campaign.


Live entertainment producer Michael Cassel Group has set up an in-house publicity team, bringing in Tammy Hofbauer (former Sony Music and indie record label Rage More Records) as senior publicist, Felicity Clifford moving into the role of publicist from July, with Jordan Lide becoming publicity coordinator.