Category changes for APRA Awards, ARIA joins TikTok + more: all the latest Australian music industry news

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Category changes for APRA Awards, ARIA joins TikTok + more: all the latest Australian music industry news

Words by Christie Eliezer

Your brief on the biggest industry headlines of the past two weeks.

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 music industry news stories from the past few weeks.

The big stories:

  • APRA have overhauled their ‘Urban’ award categories in favour of more diverse hip-hop and R&B titles.
  • ARIA becomes the first chart in the world to launch on Friday, joins TikTok.
  • US stakeholders are eyeing off Australian music festivals to invest in.

Don’t miss out on all the latest Australian music industry news – keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated. 

Category Change For APRA Awards

This year’s APRA awards have made a major category change. Most Performed Urban Work has been given the heave-ho, and in turn replace with Most Performed Hip Hop / Rap Work and Most Performed R&B / Soul Work.

The changes were made in consultation with the music industry. The association explained: “The new awards have been created to celebrate the songwriters experiencing incredible success in these diverse genres.”

Songwriter and producer PJ Harding makes his debut as music director. Helen Reddy of ‘I Am Woman’ fame was announced as the first of two 2021 recipients of the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. Julia Zemiro returns to host, joined by Ziggy Ramo and Georgia Mooney (All Our Exes Live in Texas).

ARIA Charts Shift To Friday, Join Tik Tok

ARIA has made changes to its official charts. It moves from Saturdays to Fridays this week, which makes Australia the first major market in the world to release its music charts each week. The reporting period, Friday to Thursday, remains as is.

ARIA has also joined TikTok, which will reveal the new week’s #1 album first at 5pm AEST every Friday.


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Are Investors Eyeing Aussie Music Festivals?

During Sydney’s lockout era, cashed-up investors would leap at struggling music venues and buy them out at bargain basement prices (usually after encouraging the venue’s neighbours to file noise complaints to drive the price tag even further down) and turn them into pizza parlours.

Word among the industry is that it’s happening to some music festivals as well. Do the sums: less punters allowed, but agents have shot up fees for artists, while insurance companies are either refusing to cover them or upped premiums by 400%. 

Covid-safety proposals are a nightmare. For example, Wildlands Weekender in Brisbane pushed back from March to December 26 and 27. Bluesfest Byron Bay had to submit its plans three times before it was given the go-ahead.

The sold-out Summersalt Hobart on the weekend was forced to tell its 4,000 patrons 24 hours before gates opened that they had to bring their own chairs and they couldn’t dance. Tasmania only allow 250 people to dance at a major event. Still, people came in droves to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens for the Teskey Brothers, The Cat Empire, John Butler, Boy & Bear and Emily Wurramara.

This is not to suggest that any of these festivals mentioned here are heading for an ownership change. But keep an eye on developments elsewhere.

However Bluesfest director Peter Noble revealed to the Gold Coast Bulletin his event had been drawing buyer interest even before Mr. COVID arrived.  “I had an offer on the table to sell my event, which I may or may not have taken, but it was very quickly withdrawn (when COVID hit),” he said. “I spoke to the (potential buyer) just this week to let them know there’s now two others interested.”

Noble stressed that Bluesfest could be sold “if that magic number was there. But certainly Bluesfest is not an event that will ever be sold at a fire sale.”

Wiggles ‘Elephant’ A Search Boost For Tame Impala

The Wiggles’ cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Elephant’ on triple j on March 4 received 1 million views on j’s YouTube page. But the song’s lyrics became the third most searched for in the US. On Billboard’s LyricFind, searches were up 3,676% in the US and up 3,472% in global lyric views.

Interestingly, the Impala track has notched up 929,000 global streams, says Billboard. It’s still generating streams: will the post-Wiggles interest push it over the million mark?

ABC-TV’s The Set Returning

ABC-TV’s The Set returns from Saturday April 24 at 8 pm for a ten episode run. The format is the same: hosts are Linda Marigliano and Dylan Alcott, two acts are featured each week, and the climax The Set Piece sees them team for a one-of-a-kind collaboration.

New Names For MMAD

In its 21st year MMAD (Musicians Making A Difference) have brought on as chair of its board Geraint Davies, former COO of Australian Radio Network and IHeartRadio,  while publicist Meg Collins is communications & community coordinator. An online youth music resource hub is in the works.

Venues: Newcomers, non-payment & transgender issues

  • Sydney has a new live music venue. After lying dormant for two years, the Greek Macedonian Club on Livingstone Road in Marrickville was taken over by Radio FBi’s Brooke Olsen and Alison Avron (who ran the Newagency club) and turned into The Great Club.
  • Victoria’s surf coast will know after the end of March if it is to get a new music venue. Bells Beach Brewing in Torquay has applied to increase its patron capacity from 80 to 100, and add acoustic live music to its permit.
  • More than 100 Adelaide pub and music venue operators have written to SA premier Steven Marshall pleading for restrictions to be lifted partially or they’d face closure. They asked for rules to move to one person per 1.5sq m, instead of one per 2sq m, and for dance floors to hold 100 patrons rather than 50.
  • City of Yarra mayor Gabrielle de Vietri said it would work with its newly established LGBTIQ+ advisory group to engage local businesses and venues to ensure trans and gender diverse people were safe, respected and valued.
  • The Sunday Canberra Times reported that there are no plans by authorities to re-open AIS Arena, the indoor sports venue occasionally used for concerts. It closed indefinitely last June. 
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating multiple complaints by former staff of Gold Coast nightclub Casablanca they were not paid. Its director Alex Said denies the allegations. 
  • Victorian Pride Lobby called for “venues, businesses and spaces to expand their efforts on LGBTIQA+ inclusion on Smith Street, in the City of Yarra and across the state.” This came after an unfortunate incident at Yah Yah’s when prominent transgender identity, musician and academic Simona Castricum, was ordered by a security guard out of the women’s toilets to use the mens. Yah Yah’s management, staff and security guard apologised profusely, and promised it wouldn’t happen again.

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