Australian Music Industry News: Festival finances, Fender Next Class + more!

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Australian Music Industry News: Festival finances, Fender Next Class + more!

Australian Music Industry News
Words by Christie Eliezer

It's been a huge month for the music industry, with it feeling like there's as many doors closing as there is new opportunities!

Australian Music Industry News is non-stop and it’s important to stay up to date. Read the latest here!


Just how much artists, staff, production crews, security and suppliers lost, financially, as a result of numerous festivals going down or taking breaks are still to be worked out.

But we estimate mostly regional economies took a $186 million battering as a result of just five events not going ahead in 2024.

Read all the latest product & music industry news here.

Mona Foma/Dark Mofo

Mona Foma, staged in Hobart and Launceston, brought $46 million to Launceston in 2019.

This comes after its winter sibling Dark Mofo took 2024 off after bringing $20 million to Tasmania’s visitor economy, with a 31% increase in searches for travel to Tasmania in the month after the bill was announced.


Byron Shire put Splendour’s hiatus this year at “tens of millions” after its daily intake of 50,000 a day.

North Byron Parklands, which hosts Splendour and Falls, previously estimated the two injected $100 million into the Australian economy, and $25 million in the Byron Shire.

Groovin’ The Moo

The six-city Groovin’ The Moo which was expected to draw 140,000 this year, and would have injected about $20 million.


Australian subscribers to Spotify should steel themselves to pay $2 to $3 more, as early as the end of April.

Bloomberg said price increases would cover five territories, including the UK and Pakistan, and the US down the track.

Past concerns that price hike would cause subscriber cancellations were wrong.

Paid subscribers at Spotify rose by 31 million, or 15%, in 2023, to a total of 236 million.

Basic Tier

A new $11 a month Basic tier is also on its way, offering music and podcasts but not the 150,000 audiobooks (or 15 hours of listening time per month) Premium payers fork out for.


Fred again … moved 230,000, making it “the biggest dance music tour ever in Australia and New Zealand”, said TEG Live, one of its promoters.

“But most importantly, all shows were announced, tickets sold and played in just four weeks!” noted TEG Live managing director Tim McGregor.

Final Show

His final show in Perth’s Langley Park sold out in two hours, with the 35,000 right-said-fred crowd rewarded with an epic four-hour set.

The first two hours was a collaboration with support acts Rok Riley (Perth), Messie (NZ) and Joy Anonymous (UK).

He’d announced he would be playing “the biggest party we’ve ever done.”

The sudden Perth show affected the Touch Bass festival in Wellington Square on the same night. There was a flurry of people wanting to sell their tickets all citing “change of plans”.


It’s going to be more expensive for Australian acts to get into the US.

On April 1, immigration and visa entry costs for international artists (and their entourage and crew) playing festivals, concerts or label events in the US rose significantly, enough to hurt some emerging indie acts.

Visa Petitions

To enter, Aussies (and others) have to file “O” and “P” visa petitions.

“O”, for individuals “who possess extraordinary ability” see fees go from $460 to US$1,655.

“P”, for “internationally renowned performing groups” and groups of up to 25, go from $460 to $1,615.

Prep Requirements

On top of that, there are more prep requirements and time for processing applications now 15 business days instead of 15 calendar days.

Opting for premium processing is $2,805.

Billboard said it’s not all bad. Visa applications backed by a promoter, agency, festival or record company with less than 25 full-time employees are capped at $830.

Non-profit petitioners have a $530 line, those who were invited to play at events like SXSW or Americana could try an ESTA/Visa Waiver, which costs $21.


Figures released last month for 2023 by the London-based IFPI, the organisation that represents the recorded music industry worldwide, revealed the Top 10 music markets:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. UK
4. Germany
5. China
6. France
7. South Korea
8. Canada
9. Brazil
10. Australia

Australasia saw growth of 10.8% in 2023, boosted by a 13.5% increase in subscription streaming revenues.

Two Decades

Two decades ago Australia was about #7, but has been overtaken by China (fastest grower in the Top 10 at 25.9%), South Korea and Brazil.

Global recorded music revenues rose 10.2% to US$28.6 billion in 2023 – the ninth consecutive year of growth – as paid subscriptions to music streaming services exceeded 500 million globally for the first time, and users hit the 667 million mark.


Sydney duo Royel Otis and Newcastle band Vacations are among 25 around the world to be selected for the sixth Fender Next class.

Royel Otis aka Royel Maddell and Otis Pavlovic this year dropped their debut Pratts And Pain album, notched an APRA awards nomination, and return to the US for 18 dates later this year.

2 x platinum Vacations started the year with the No Place Like Home album, a return to America in July for 10 shows, and nommed in the Rolling Stone Australia awards in the Global category.

Increased Exposure

They get increased exposure through Fender’s content, ads and social channels to 16 million followers worldwide, instruments and equipment.

Also part of the win is a social content series on Fender’s TikTok, YouTube and Instagram showcasing an at-home one-song performance and short interview dubbed Play And Tell, plus inclusion on Fender official playlists via Spotify.


Matt Watts, SVP of marketing at Fender, said: “As we look to the future of guitarists, we’re thrilled by the creativity and innovation they bring to the scene.

“Artists are blending genres and exploring new sonic territories while paying homage to and drawing inspiration from those who came before them.


“With this new group of talented artists, Fender is proud to provide support.

“I’m eager to witness the remarkable journeys and groundbreaking sounds that will undoubtedly arise from this collaboration. Here’s to pushing boundaries and shaping the future of music together.”

Fender received 1,000 applications.

Understandable, as previous Fender Next acts included Phoebe Bridgers, Wet Leg, Sam Fender, May-A, Japanese Breakfast, Idles, Orville Peck, Little Simz, Madison Cunningham, Jun Xiao, Omar Apollo and The Black Pumas.


A call is made for more states to adopt minimum wages for Australian musicians, and for the introduction of regular superannuation.

Live Performance’s award is $40 an hour + 12% loading and each musician should get $150 for every 45-minute set.

But a survey of 550 by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) found musicians facing greater pressures above the rent and cost of living crisis.

49% earned less than $6,000 last year from the music industry – 15% of the national minimum wage – and 64% earned less than $15,000.

One In Five

Only one in five made their money wholly from the music industry, with two-thirds having to find extra work outside the industry.

40% earn income from two to three music jobs.

42% of musicians were not paid for gigs.

82% of musicians do not receive superannuation for gigs.

60% were paid less than $250 per gig, despite 39% of musicians spent up to 20 hours per week rehearsing, practicing, or preparing for a gig.

Insecure Work

MEAA campaigns director, Paul Davies said, “This confirms that musicians are the face of Australia’s insecure work crisis.

“They are expected to get by on extraordinarily low incomes, inconsistent and often unpaid work and they very rarely receive superannuation, which is a right for all workers.”


Melanie Dyer @ Footstomp/ Kadence

Graham Ashton’s Footstomp Music and Kristy Gostelow’s Kadence Group took over management of country music singer songwriter Melanie Dyer.

Following appearances at CMC Rocks and a Golden Guitar nom, Dyer is about to drop new single “Had To Be There” and does some East Coast dates in May before returning to Nashville.

Frogstomp and Kadence also look after Busby Marou and Tia Gostelow.

Three Additions @ Wise Music

The Australian office of publisher Wise Music expanded its roster under Head of A&R Ben Pierpoint.

Nick Wales (ex-fusion outfit CODA) crosses multiple artforms including film, dance and experiential productions, with latest release “Yolngu” fusing his electronic and classical sounds with North East Arnhem Land’s Rrawun Maymuru’s ancient songlines.

Beatmaker, soul/hip-hop producer and multi-instrumentalist David Rodriguez was behind
Sampa The Great, with production projects Godriguez and fusionists GODTET.

Perth’s Alter Boy last year took Best Live Act at the WA National Live Music Awards and just issued pro-feminist single “Life Finds A Way”.

Maribelle Añes @ Concord

Concord Music Publishing ANZ added Melbourne songwriter and producer Maribelle Añes (pka Vetta Borne).

She’s collaborated producers as Styalz Fuego, M-Phazes and Djemba Djemba and invited to a number of songwriting camps including Troye Sivan’s World Pride SongHubs.

In April 2024 she was named a featured producer for Sydney inner west all-women and non-binary writing camp One Off Tracks, and awarded the MPE Guild (Engineers & Producers Guild) Self Producing Artist at this year’s event.


Diddy’s US radio airplay is down since his ex-girlfriend Cassie accused him of abuse and rape last November – but his streaming increased.

There’s been an 88% drop in radio spins and 83% plummet in radio audience, Luminate said.

After the March 25 the Dept. of Homeland Security raiding of two of his houses in connection with an ongoing sex-trafficking investigation, the streaming of Diddy’s catalogue went up by 38% to 1.28 million a day.


Successful Aussie tech firm Tuned Global, continues to strike new global deals.

The B2B music and streaming platform teamed with Spafax, international travel media network providing content tech and media assets for airlines.

Tuned Global will offer cleared music playlists in in-flight entertainment systems.

Back End

“Our music backend technology has been used in multiple industries, but providing music to airlines is an exciting use case for our music and streaming platform,” said managing director Con Raso.

“This opens new doors for us and the music industry, as we’re working with a leading expert in in-flight entertainment like Spafax that speaks the same language as the airline companies, understands their challenges and has the plug-and-play technology in place.”

Lyric Find

In January, Tuned Global partnered with LyricFind to provide its customers with more access to lyrics and associated data on their streaming platforms.

It teamed up with Web3 streaming protocol Sona on its new music streaming platform, and expanded its footprint in Africa by partnering with Jumamo, a Nigerian music streaming app.


Gold Coast record store Rare Groove Nobby Beach closed after 30 years, due to being along the light rail Stage 3 construction zone between Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads.

It was owned by Ray Parsons and Jenny Chipman and managed by Anthony Tye.


The first pill-testing service at a Queensland music festival, conducted by Pill Testing Australia at Rabbits Eat Lettuce over the Easter long weekend, uncovered disturbing data.

257 tested their stash over the four days, the most common being MDMA and ketamine. 14 discarded them at the testing tent.


According to Queensland Health, two dangerous drugs were detected and wrongly sold as other substances.

These were dimethylpentylone (a synthetic cathinone) and the synthetic ketamine 2-fluoro-2-oxo-phenylcyclohexylethylamine.


Married: Eliza Jane Barnes and long time partner Jimmy Metherell in an estate in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

Married: Sheppard’s Emma Sheppard and partner Liam after a five year relationship, in Brisbane at a Las Vegas themed affair with a pink Cadillac and an Elvis impersonator.

Ill: ABC Sydney radio presenter and sax player James Valentine is on a three months’ break to prepare for surgery for oesophageal cancer.

Injured: a patron who jumped on stage at rapper ChillinIT’s show at Gilligans in Cairns, suffered facial injuries and needed a trip to hospital after being pushed off.

ChillinIT stopped the show and helped her into the ambulance.

In Court: Darwin rapper Yung Milla was cleared of assaulting a man during a brawl on the town’s main Mitchell Street when a judge found the other man initiated the fight.

Jailed: Damien Luscombe, 38, Melbourne “accountant to the stars”, for four years for swindling $2.1 million from acts and venues.

Charged: western Sydney drill rapper Hooligan Hefs for allegedly being in a group of men who were in a brawl at Sydney’s Ivy Cluv precinct.

Died: highly respected Sydney based artist manager Michael McMartin, who looked after the Hoodoo Gurus for 40+ years and helped initiate the Music Managers Forum Au and the Association of Artist Managers.

Died: Melbourne community radio presenter and blues aficionado Steve Fraser, after long illness.

Died: Jazz trumpeter Nick Mulder and academic was based in Adelaide and Melbourne.

Died: Nick Danyi, saxplayer with ‘90s Melbourne band Feral Dinosaurs, later becoming a builder.

Died: live production tech Andy Ciddor after a battle with stage-four bile duct cancer.

Died: Trixie Laumonte, quick witted queen of Sydney’s Oxford Street and performer and hostess of gay clubs like PATCHS.

Died: highly decorated country music broadcaster of 35 years, Carter Edwards, OAM at 81.