Commercial radio needs a stronger Australian music quota + more: our latest wrap-up of Australian music industry news

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine


Commercial radio needs a stronger Australian music quota + more: our latest wrap-up of Australian music industry news

Words by Christie Eliezer

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

ARIA end of year chart shows need for greater Aussie music quotas

An estimated 43% of Australians listened to music they hadn’t before during last year’s lock-in. Livestreaming festivals and TV shows like The Sound unearthed new local talent. Through the year, some Aussies released great records – not that you need any reminding, of course.

However, this has not translated to sales, as shown by the ARIA end-of-year charts for 2020, published last Friday (January 15). There was only one Australian album in the Top 10 (AC/DC) and Aussies made up 20% of the Top 100. Further to that, there was one local artist in the Top 10 singles (Tones & I). 

The highest strike rate was in the dance charts (15 of the Top 10) and country charts (10 of the 50). In the hip hop and R&B Top 10 albums there was one, The Kid Laroi. The first vinyl Top 10 had five, with Tame Impala’s The Slow Rush and Powderfinger’s Odyssey Number Five: 20th Anniversary Edition in the first two spots.

The 20% figure is not startling – it’s actually been around that mark in past ARIA end of year lists. It coincides with estimates by the local music industry that the percentage of Australian music played on commercial radio is on average 20% to 23%. 

To the industry, the solution is to apply more pressure to ensure local music quotas are adhered to. There were talks between the industry, commercial radio, streaming services and government circles in 2019. But last year as the pandemic bit the radio and TV sectors hard, the Federal Government decided to give them a “short term” breather over quotas.

At the time, Greens communication spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young warned  it would “in fact make things worse for many thousands of artists and entertainers who have already lost their jobs”.

To see the full list of the end of 2020 report, go to the ARIA website.

Turning off the live music

While we’re waiting to see how many music venues make it through 2021 (one third won’t, according to venue operators), Newcastle’s 48 Watt Street and its attached Small Ballroom has pulled live music, stated the Newcastle Herald. Smaller crowd capacity and the growing cost of booking Aussie acts were behind the decision.

The petition by Melbourne’s Lomond Hotel, to let it continue outdoor shows in its car park is slowly reaching its target of 7,000 signatures. Moreland Council had to step in after noise complaints and argues it allowed the temporary use of the car park for diners, not bands. Sign it here.

As part of the crowd-funding campaign to keep Adelaide’s live music venue Jive alive, an in-person benefit is held there on Monday January 25.

While the entire live music industry has been brutalised by COVID, we haven’t been able to change our offerings like…

Posted by Jive on Wednesday, December 16, 2020


Drama in the courts

In Melbourne, a former record label boss pleaded guilty to paying an underage boy $350 for sex after meeting him on gay dating app Grindr last June. The 41-year old, whose name was suppressed, was given a 18-month community corrections order and a $4,000 fine instead of a prison term.

In Adelaide, club DJ and promoter Nicholas Emmanuel Athans was found guilty of grooming four young girls he found through his underage dance parties business Facebook page. It was alleged the 26-year old sent one of them unsolicited lewd images. Athans returns to court in March.

Broad Radio launches

“For Women By Women”, Broad Radio launched to give women a greater voice in media. The weekly one-hour livestream runs through YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn, with issues covered by a crack female broadcasters including founder Jo Stanley, Angela Pippos, Anjali Rao, Bianca Chatfield, Kerrie Stanley, Kirsty Webeck, Shelley Ware and Zoe Daniel.

New booking team for the Rosemount

Perth live music venue Rosemount Hotel has a new in-house booking team to diversify its offerings, under general manager Calvin Hook. Sinead O’Hara is new programming & communications manager. She did marketing and operations at Mojos Bar, Rock Rover and The Moon Café, runs her own management services BASE MGMT and plays in Flossy. 

New programming coordinator Ashlyn Koh also programmed at these venues, runs her own management King of Hearts and plays in Big Cry and Bexx.

Gibson buys Mesa/Boogie

US guitar manufacturer Gibson has acquired boutique amplifier brand Mesa/Boogie. It was started in 1969 in Petulama, California, by Randy Smith as an amp repair shop before moving into manufacturing. His modifications gave the small amps more input gain, making them louder as well as creating a high-gain, distorted guitar tone which had the likes of Carlos Santana, Keith’n’Ron of the Stones, Adam Jones of Tool and Captain Kirk Douglas of The Roots knocking at his door. Smith is now aged 75 and says, “I go to work every day.”

VR performance fund

Music Victoria and Victorian Music Development Office teamed with virtual reality streaming platform Inverse to establish a new creators fund for VR music performances. The Music VR Backers Fund will support Victorian artists to perform from Inverse’s new VR-ready venue in Melbourne. Go to the Music Backers for more details.

The write stuff

Melbourne’s The Music Gym runs a weekly group session songwriting course from Jan 21 to Feb 25. It covers formats, crafting a melody and finding a key, among others.

As part of the WAM Song of the Year 2021 competition, Perth-based music association WAM and sponsor Act Belong Commit hold a free series of collaborative Song Sessions workshops and forums at Rhubarb Vinyl Café with top WA writers between Jan 28 to Feb 25.

Never miss a story – sign up to our mailing list for all the latest news, reviews, features and giveaways.