Australian Music Industry News: Roblox, Aussie Live Music report, SXSW additions and more!

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Australian Music Industry News: Roblox, Aussie Live Music report, SXSW additions and more!

Lil Nas X Roblox
Words by Chris Eliezer

The new year rings in as many music industry news updates, changes and forward thinking initiatives, support and excitement!

Catch up on all the latest music industry news, including industry updates, SXSW additions, Roblox’s industry status and more!

Seven Takeaways From Aussie Live Music Report

Live music was hit harder than sporting events during the COVID restrictions. But the Australian live sector has returned stronger than ever, and with greater drawing power than sports.

“More people attended a contemporary music performance than the AFL, more saw a musical theatre show than the NRL, and theatre attracted bigger audiences than the A-League,” reported Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of Live Performance Australia (LPA).

Last month LPA released its 2022 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report, which showed that total revenue for 2022 was $2 billion while ticketed attendance reached 24.2 million. 

Read all the latest product & music industry news here.

It was second highest recorded attendance and revenue since the LPA began its report in 2004.

1. Contemporary music, musical theatre, festivals (contemporary music), comedy and theatre were top in revenue and attendance.

2. Contemporary music remained the biggest sector, with a 35.2% share in revenue and 35.9% in attendance. Contemporary music also registered the biggest return since COVID.

3. Victoria and NSW accounted for 67.8% of live revenue and 62.4% of attendance.

4. Victoria was the biggest market for live entertainment, with 34.1% share for ticket revenue and 32.3% for attendance.

It set an all-time record for the country. Between 2021 and 2022, revenue grew 333.3% to $684.4 million and crowds by 231.2% to 7.9 million.

On average, Victorian spent $102.08 on tickets for live events, highest spend per capita in Oz.

5. NSW recorded $676.1 million in ticket revenue and 7.3 million attendances in 2022.

“These results are similar to pre-pandemic levels but have not yet reached the highest levels recorded in 2018,” LPA noted.

Between 2021 and 2022, ticket revenue grew by 211.3% and attendance by 178.5%, giving NSW the second highest share of the industry for both ticket revenue and attendance after Victoria.

On average, each person in NSW spent $82.07 on tickets to see live events.

6. Contemporary music festivals set new records in 2022, well and truly doing better now than before COVID, drawing 1.5 million people and generating over $243 million from tickets.

From 2021 to 2022, this category had the second highest increase in revenue (357.1%) and highest increase in crowds (232.8%). The average ticket price went (36.5%) to $169.53.

7. Queensland had the third largest industry share of revenue (15.1%) and attendance (15.4%), with revenue up 128.0% to $303 million and attendance growing 68.4% to 3.7 million.

Western Australia still hadn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels but was heading in a northerly direction with revenue up 88.9% to $160.6 million and attendances by 36.3% to 2.2 million. 

South Australia recorded $118 million in ticket revenue (117.6%) and 2.1 million attendances (up 52.6%) – still not up to pre-pandemic levels.

Tasmania had second lowest ticket prices on average ($44.27) which explains why attendance grew 52.7% to 0.5 million but not its 78% growth in ticket revenue to $25.3 million.

Australian Capital Territory had a 173% lift to  $33.1 million in ticket revenue and 86.8% jump in attendance to 0.4 million.

On average, every Northern Territory ticket buyer spent the lowest on tickets, at $27.72, with $6.9 million in ticket revenue (up 32.1% from 2021) and 0.1 million attendance up 11%.

17 More Aussie Acts For SXSW USA

While SXSW Sydney is confirmed to return this year for a second time (October 14—20), 17 more Aussie acts were invited to perform at the Austin parent version in its second round of acts.

Melbourne led with seven: Alexander Biggs, Anna Smyrk, Elle Shimada, Folk Bitch Trio, Forest Claudette, HighSchool and Sui Zhen.

Following was Perth: Carla Geneve, DICE, Emily Barker, Mia June and South Summit.

Brisbane had Selfish Sons, Sycco, Yb., and Zheani, while Newcastle had dust.

The first SXSW Sydney had attendance at 287,014 (unique attendees 97,462) from 41 countries for 1,178 sessions and events.

Total ticket sales (badges, wristbands, tickets, expo passes; excluding affiliate events) was 34,975. No less than 758 media attended.

New Signings @ Mushroom, Reservoir, ORiGiN, UNFD, Kasumuen, Pink House

Yothu Yindi extended their long term deal with Bloodlines/ Mushroom Group, first signing in 1989 long before the First Nations boom.

“Yothu Yindi are one of the most important acts in the company’s history,” said Bloodlines managing director Dean McLachlan. 

Western Sydney singer songwriter grentperez, a stand-out on ABC’s New Year’s Eve telecast from the Opera House, entered a worldwide publishing deal in a joint venture with Mushroom Music and New York-based Reservoir.

With 650,000 subscribers on his channel, his debut single “Cherry Wine” hit Spotify charts in Australia, Canada and Singapore; his record deal is with Fast Friends; he toured the US for the first time last year; and Spotify and Fender, selected him on their next big thing programs.

Former Models drummer Barton Price is forging a new music career as a serious semi classical composer, and signed a publishing agreement with ORiGiN Music Publishing.

A collaboration album with Steve Kilbey, Hugo Race and Frank Kearns recorded last year in Italy will be released under the artist name The Speed Of The Stars.

UNFD’s latest roster addition are Wollongong metalcore five-piece Alienist who launched the relationship with single “Prisoner Of You”. 

“We are beyond excited to start this journey with UNFD. We have all grown up idolising bands from this label and to now be a part of it is absolutely surreal!”

Gareth Skinner (Bzark, The Ergot Derivative, The Sand Pebbles) puts out his debut band album Off//Axis through Kasumuen Records.

The band includes Joel Silbersher (Hoss / GOD), Ben Michael X (The Sand Pebbles), Suzie Lou and Drew Caldwell (Disaster Plan/Breather Hole) and Sarah Blaby (Double Vanity).

17 year old WA indie pop princess Rosalie Chilvers has entered Pink House Records, who exclaimed, “Her performances may have you thinking that If Debbie Harry and Taylor Swift had a baby Rosalie might just be it.”

Two Join ACT Hall Of Fame

Inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Australian Capital Territory were Jem Natividad, Senior Producer of Contemporary Performance at the Canberra Theatre Centre, and Allan Sko of BMA Magazine, for their contributions to music.

The honour was made at the Music Act Music Awards in Canberra, where 1,868 votes had Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers as Artist of the Year, Lowtide by ARCHIE was Best Release, Wallabindi Dreaming by Wallabindi was Independent Debut, and photographer Meg Houghton dubbed Industry Legend.

Big Pineapple Back For New Bite?

The Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple Music festival is teasing it is returning in 2024. 

It was selling out 16,000 tickets over the years each May and won the People’s Choice Festival of the Year at the Qld Music Awards three years in a row, but went dark two years ago.

On New Years Day, promoters declared on social media 2024 as “the year of the comeback” and told followers “see you soon”.

It would be a boost for tourism. Two years ago organiser Mark Pico estimated the event pumped $7 million into the Coast economy with 80% of the crowd from outside the region.

Square Tugs Top 4ZZZ Countdown Again

Brisbane punk merchants Square Tugs topped community radio station 4ZZZ’s Hot 100 for a second time.

After forming in 2020, it’s obvious their mantra – 

“If you can’t say it in less than two minutes, you’re just wasting everyone’s time” – is working.

  1. Square Tugs – “One Minute Love Song”
  2. Mitch, Please – “Bricks”
  3. Radium Dolls – “Tractor Parts”
  4. The Rockefeller Frequency – “This Modern Life”
  5. Teen Jesus And The Jean Teasers – “I Used To Be Fun”
  6. Flangipanis – “(There’s Not Enough Songs About) Squash”
  7. Platonic Sex – “Bitch In The Heat”
  8. Being Jane Lane – “Dancin’”
  9. Vinted Vineer – “Crystal Courage”
  10. Doggie Heaven – “Haircut”

Will Full ABBA, KISS, Elvis Hologram Shows Set New Trend In Oz?

With more names announcing so-long-farewell tours as age does weary them, new technology allows them to live on forever as digital avatars.

ABBA, KISS and Elvis Presley could be the ones to test the Australian market for full-length holograms.

The 90-minute 3D virtual reality spectacular ABBA Voyage is considered for a Melbourne run via TEG Dainty and the Vic Government.

European executives were last year in Melbourne, according to The Age, and had pow-wows with the government and Visit Victoria.

It will depend on whether the Government will fork out the $80 million required to build a customised 3,000-seat auditorium with effects from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic company which was behind Star Wars’ dazzling visuals.

In the UK, in its first year Voyage was drawing 1 million a week and injected $400 million into London’s economy.

KISS, who finished touring late last year, busted their collective gut signing a deal with Voyage producers, with Sweden-headquartered Pophouse Entertainment, and last week teased their virtual tour would be on the road by 2027.

Australia has been one of their biggest concert market, with strong sales in merchandise, so assume we’ll be on the tour.

The Elvis Presley full hologram show, The Elvis Evolution which was announced last week, premieres in London in November, then moves to Las Vegas, Berlin and Tokyo.

It’s a collab between Elvis’ estate, Authentic Brands Group and UK-based immersive entertainment company Layered Reality.

There’s no reason Elvis The Pelvis won’t make an appearance in Australian down the track.

He’s still got a big fanbase here, with 12,000 of them heading for Parkes Elvis Festival in regional NSW this week.

Fringe World Cuts Ties With Woodside

Perth’s Fringe World festival has cut ties with WA-based fossil fuel giant as sponsor Woodside after pressure from artists and activists.

They ran a five year campaign with onstage protests and disruptions and petitions. Three years ago, they managed to get Woodside dropped as a naming rights partner.

Woodside is said to be Australia’s eighth largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Last year, Perth Festival split with Chevron, Australia’s fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Create NSW Shares $9.3M In Funding

Create NSW’s first round of the Arts and Cultural Funding Program (ACFP) for 2023/24 saw 138 projects sharing in $9.3 million in funding. 12 were for contemporary music, totalling $616,730.

They included Percussion Australia ($200,000),  Sydney Improvised Music Association Inc. ($110,000), FBI Radio ($109, 826), Green Music Australia ($98,000), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre ($99,000) and Songwriters and Original Musicians of Dubbo ($29, 650).

Receiving $60,000 each were Music NSW’s First Nations Project Stream Development to develop the sector, Cronulla Jazz and Blues Festival, Accessible Arts, Diversity Arts Australia, and the Australian Digital Concert Hall.

When Will Roblox Make Money?

Gen Z online gaming platform Roblox is cool-for-kewl, a metaverse for music concerts (33 million viewers for Lil Nas X), growing its following, has 70 million daily users—and makes enough for the top 1,000 content creators to make a living.  

But America’s Fortune magazine reports that investors are irritated that after 18 years it’s not making money for them. 

Its shares dropped by 70% post-COVID, and investors are insisting “2024 is a crucial year”, and owners need to cost-cut the way Spotify did.

They fear the $2.1 billion in its account will soon be spent, as the company still continues to lose money, and it needs the capital to grow.

Fortune says Roblox strength is that it gets hard-to-reach Gen Z to virtual stores (they go to links for an average of 11 minutes, which is unheard of) and brands are interested.

But because many of its users are minors, the site spends a lot of money on its infrastructure to protect them from scams and paedophiles.

MDMA Tops Drug Deaths At Music Festivals

65.6% of deaths at Australian music festivals between 2000 and 2019 have involved MDMA, usually after being taken with other illicit drugs (mostly pot) and alcohol.

More than 73% of those deaths were males and most were aged in their mid-20s.  

This first-of-a-kind study was by Associate Professor David Caldicott of the Australian National University in Canberra and Associate Professor Jennifer Schumann from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and published in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Schumann said more research needed to be done on overdoses that didn’t cause death.

Caldicott remarked: “Harm reduction strategies, such as roving first aid volunteers, mobile medical care, spaces to rest, hydration stations and drug checking services, can help address some of the risks,” he said.  

This year started showing the need for testing. Out of the 24,000 who attended Field Day at The Domain in Sydney on New Years Day, 25 were charged over drugs, and a 23-year old allegedly caught with 60 ecstasy tablets has a date at Downing Centre Local Court on Feb. 29.

At Hardmission at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse last Saturday (January 6), eight people overdosed on MDMA, with seven put in an induced coma and required breathing tubes, the Victorian Ambulance Union confirmed.


Music journalist and trained lawyer Patrick Emery (Beat, The Australian, The Age, The I-94 Bar) collapsed on Christmas Eve from an inoperable brain tumour and passed aged 52 in hospital surrounded by his young family.

Spooky Records chief Loki Lockwood called him “a passionate and beautiful soul” with a strong belief in Australian music and noted, “He’d dig deep into the music and the people involved, always producing articulate and expressive writing, even if it wasn’t exactly his thing.”

Chris Nolan starting out as an early keyboard player with Sydney glam-rock band Hush.

He then turned booking agent at Cordon Bleu, artist manager (including Melbourne’s Taste), a promotions exec at Phonogram Records, lecturer on the music industry & the media at Charles Stuart University and part of the original committee of Australian Road Crew Association.

Colin Burgess, 77, was drummer with the Masters Apprentices and the original AC/DC lineup.

Frank Peter David, 74, was owner of the high profile SuperFlys nightclub in Bunbury, WA.