Sony Music Australia may face class action, digital engagement with arts on the up and more.
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 Aussie music industry news stories from the past fortnight.
The top headlines:
- Sony Music Australia gets hit with a potential class action lawsuit.
- Electronic Dance Music industry down 54% in 2020.
- The Veronicas and ex Powderfinger drummer help artists get their shine on.
Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.
Report: Global EDM industry fell 54% to $3.4b in 2020 but resurgence tipped for “new roaring 20s”
Ten years of strong growth by the global electronic dance music industry was wiped out in 2020. The market fell 54% to US$3.4 billion in the first year of the covid pandemic.
This was according to the International Music Summit (IMS), which annually tracks economic growth and trends in EDM.
But the report detected that as the music industry grows, EDM is finding innovative new ways to engage and monetise fans.
NFT’s increase in popularity – a staggering 76% of all music NFTs worth $50.2 million were issued by electronic artists in the last year.
Ten Takeaways From The Report:
- The DJ software and hardware sector posted record growth as the world found new ways to entertain itself during lockdown, with an estimated 23% increase year on year to $1.1 billion mostly attributed to live streaming
- Music sales and streaming were valued at $1 billion. The value of DJ and artist earnings was down $743 million, or 68%, compared to 2019.
- The recorded music market grew by 7% from 2019 to 2020 to $22 billion, but electronic music share declined in the US by 11% and the UK by 2%. EDM revenues broke $1 billion however, as it rose in popularity in markets as Germany and Canada.
- The festivals & clubs sector fell 78% to $3.4 billion as over 200 festivals were cancelled throwing thousands out of work. The sector is expected to bounce back with a value rising by 160% in what the summit dubs “the new roaring 20s”.
- “Livestreaming was the huge success story of 2020, with Twitch alone registering 1.2m new followers for the top electronic music accounts,” stated the report.
- EDM tagged on to gaming’s huge explosion during the first lockdown, seizing opportunities for fan engagement and new revenue streams. Patreon and TikTok both soared in 2020. TikTok registered 1.3 billion users.
- India and Brazil were key growth markets.
- Female representation in the Top 100 DJs listing grew to 13 but demand for them was 4%.
- Demand for DJs of colour had only a slight growth. Their highest share of search was in the UK, the lowest in Asian and Latin American countries.
- Techno topped the best-selling Beatport chart for a fifth year in a row while House rose to #2 in popularity. Drum & bass was Beatport’s fourth most popular purchase during the 2020 lockdown. The newly created Dance / Electro Pop was at #8.
The report concluded: “Early signs of growth can be identified, suggesting a new phase and resurgence for the genre.”
Beatport saw 33% growth, major labels are hiring teams specialising in electronic music, and fashion moved closer to adopting electronic music as its core soundbed across runway shows, commercials and bespoke fashion lines.
Data analyst David Boyle recommended that EDM should learn from hip-hop.
“In a world of abundance, audiences gravitate to artists who are celebrities — and hip-hop’s artists have it all. From fashion and language to character and stories, hip-hop artists are intertwined with aspirational parts of culture, adding scale but also cachet.”
Class Action For Sony Music Australia?
While Sony Music’s global HQ in New York investigates the work culture at its Sydney office, The Guardian reported that 40 former staffers had contacted law firm MacDougall & Hydes get suss out the possibility of a class action.
Three executives, including long time CEO Denis Handlin, were pink-slipped, but it’s understood no one accused him of sexual harassment.
Music Biz Preps For Wellbeing Conference
Support Act’s mental health and wellbeing music industry conference Head First will be held on Thursday October 7 at the Australian Institute of Music’s Sydney campus (1/55 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills). Tickets are $39 including a light breakfast, hot drinks, lunch, afternoon tea and networking drinks, available now from the Support Act website.
Current and future music industry leaders will discuss challenges of the past and look to a future where psychological safety, mental health and wellbeing are at its core.
Junkee Media Up For Sale
After five years, billboard company oOh!Media is selling off online youth publisher Junkee Media (but not Junkee Studio) by end of the year. It’s part of their strategy under new CEO (Cathy O’Connor), to refocus on its outdoor ad business.
Sony Music Publishing To Rep AC/DC, Vanda Young & More
Sony Music Publishing struck a worldwide deal with Australia’s Alberts to administer the catalogues of AC/DC and the songwriting and production team of Harry Vanda, George Young and Stevie Wright.
Vanda and Young penned constantly covered songs like ‘Friday On My Mind’ and ‘Good Times’ as well as ’Love Is In The Air’ and ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ performed originally by John Paul Young.
In the meantime, Alberts also unveiled a new $16 million fund for early stage music startups.
Rock Stars Helping Next Generations
Two initiatives by high profile musicians are set up to pull the next generation up the ladder.
The Veronicas launched a TikTok docu-series Undscvrd in partnership with Samsung to find five new songwriters from around the country. Unlike other reality shows, entrants retain ownership of their work.
Winner gets a budget to record an EP. Enter by uploading content or tagging live footage @UNDSCVRD_artist and #UNDSCVRD in a video on TikTok.
Powderfinger drummer turned scriptwriter Jon Coghill and Hollywood producer Dan Munday (Survivor, Apprentice) team up for Sunshine Coast Showdown, which helps unknowns from the Sunshine Coast break into the film and television industries.
There are a number of categories, with the winners of each receiving $5000 to create and deliver their project. Entries open at July 26 at on the Sunshine Coast Showdown website.
Court In The Act
Andrew James Nibbs, 37, pleaded guilty in Launceston Magistrates Court to stealing more than $17,000 worth of musical instruments and accessories from a music studio on Brisbane St in Mowbray in June.
Former Newcastle singer Daniel ‘Jimmy’ Hanson will be sentenced after pleading guilty in Newcastle District Court to 23 child sex and indecent assault charges. He used his status as singer for local bands Falling For Beloved and We Built Atlantis to abuse 14 victims from 2005 to 2014. They were aged 12 to 22.
South Australian guitarist Sav Caruso, 32 who had a penchant for 45-minute concerts on his driveway wearing just undies and sneakers got his legal come uppance after being told by police to stop. He threw their documents into a dustbin and told them, “See ya later. Get off the property now.” The blueys returned as the concert began and took him away in handcuffs.
Report: Aussie digital engagement with arts rises
A new report from the Australia Council, In Real Life: Mapping digital cultural engagement in the first decades of the 21st century, showed how Aussies’ growing engagement with the arts using digital technology had a positive impact.
“We now have literally at our fingertips almost infinite possibilities to discover, connect, engage and create culture online.” It blurred the distinction between artist and fan.
The report called for “creating sustainable business models to ensuring all Australians, particularly those with disability, older Australians and those in regional and remote communities, are able to access and benefit from creative participation.”
For more, read in depth on the Electronic Music study via the International Music Summit.