Foo Fighters one-off wins prize + all the biggest industry headlines

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Foo Fighters one-off wins prize + all the biggest industry headlines

(Image: Brett Schewitz)
Words by Christie Eliezer

Fremantle amps up AC/DC Festival, vests for hearing impaired fans at concerts, 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:

  • ARIA launches Aussie Dance Charts.
  • Next round of Aussies invited to SXSW.
  • One trillion music streams in 2022… in one country alone.

Keep up to date with the latest industry news here.

ARIA launches Aussie Dance Charts

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) announced two new charts – the Australian Dance Singles Chart (top 20) and the Australian Dance Albums Chart (top 10).

These will be available at 4.00pm AEST on Friday December 9, with the first chart publication date to be Monday December 5.

ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd said: “You only have to look at this year’s ARIA Awards featuring RÜFÜS DU SOL, Luude, and Flume to see that dance music plays such an important role in Australian music culture.

“We’re determined to work with the dance music community to find ways to ensure established and up-and-coming producers are recognised for their contribution to this culture, and provide a greater spotlight as nightlife across Australia continues to recover.”

Next round of Aussies invited to SXSW

Among the 301 artists in the second round of showcase invitations for SXSW (March 13 – 18 in Austin, Texas) were 14 Aussie acts.

King Stingray (NT) led the list. From Sydney were Andrew Farriss, Annie Hamilton, CODY JON, Gold Fang, Party Dozen, and Salarymen.

Melbourne/Victoria were represented by CIVIC, Floodlights, Huntly, Tulliah and Woodes. TUSHAR is a singer songwriter from Adelaide.

Music Victoria Awards: 2022 Hall of Fame inductees & Best Musician

The Music Victoria Awards on Tuesday December 13 (The Edge, Fed Square) have announced Deborah Conway AM, Helen Marcou AM and Ian ‘Quincy’ McLean AM will be inducted into its Hall of Fame, and Xani Kolac won the Best Musician trophy.

Conway is inducted by Paul Kelly, while Georgia State Lane will perform ‘It’s Only The Beginning’.

Marcou and McLean, best known for music, community, and activist hub Bakehouse Studios, will be inducted by Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin of Tropical Fuck Storm and The Drones.

Genre-hopping Kolac who emerged with indie band The Twoks a decade ago, is a violinist, artist and songwriter.

Live Music: The Good & The Bad

The Good: To reactivate live music, the Queensland government has increased the number of concerts at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium from six to 12 in 2023 and 2024.

The Bad: Adelaide nightclub Sugar is set to close after 20 years, the latest victim of the insurance crisis. Owner and DJ Driller Jet Armstrong said that post-pandemic, its public liability premium shot up from $32,000 a year to $220,000.

The Good: City of Newcastle councillors voted unanimously to adopt the Newcastle Cultural Precinct Concept Masterplan to ensure long-term planning for protection of cultural institutions and better activating the precinct. It includes theatres, art galleries, parks, and libraries which will create $16 million of new money and 35,000 extra visitors. Presumably it will also cover music venues which are more vulnerable to noise whinges.

The Bad: Night Quarter on the Sunshine Coast closed after struggling with covid restrictions causing 11 cancellations, low sales, and flooding.

The Good: Live Nation is apparently one of the companies pitching to operate the state government’s $5 million 3,500-seat pop up music venue and festival site in Docklands. The idea is to “attract new audiences and activate underused parts of the CBD”.

The Bad: The owners of Melbourne’s Penny’s Bandroom aka the Penny Black aka NONO in Brunswick suddenly announced they were no longer interested in hosting live music. The decision took their independent booker by surprise, not to mention two months of booked acts who were counting on their gigs there.

The Good: The Abercrombie in Sydney’s Chippendale which closed its doors in 2014, returns to action on December 23. New owners Sofitel plan a 36-hour long party to last until Christmas morning at its three venues – the ground floor performance space with 24-hour licence, a late-night Italo-disco cocktail lounge with DJs, and wine bar Lil Sis.

The Bad: Hip-hop and R&B venue Hustle and Flow in Redfern is Sydney’s eleventh licensed venue to be put officially on notice over noise. Eight residents complained sound from within the 10-year-old venue – and outside two hours after it closed at midnight as patrons hung around – was making them “anxious”.

The Good: The 3,500-capacity Kuranda Amphitheatre in Cairns, Queensland, which has been close to shutting up shop because of covid, thinks it may have turned the corner as it hosted the return after 10 years of the Reggaetown Festival on November 20. It was its biggest show in three years and brought in some much needed funds.

The Bad: An application by the General Roberts Hotel in Newcastle to trade longer hours was knocked back due to houses close by and “unreasonable adverse impacts” on the area.

The Good: Punters who used to catch gigs at Sydney’s Cat & Fiddle can buy a share of it. Owner Richard Wynne has given up an 80 per cent stake in the venue by partnering with property tech platform Bricklet and iPAN-x to sell 1,600 pieces of the pub at $10,300 each. They are promising a rental yield of three per cent each year, guaranteed for a decade. Much interest is coming from those in their 20s and 30s looking to invest in commercial real estate.

The Bad: Nightlife in Townsville is still struggling post-COVID with 20 to 30 per cent lower foot traffic. The Townsville Bulletin reported that a new report revealed assaults rose by 44 per cent in the city’s Safe Night Precinct in 12 months. Those nabbed with drugs fell by 65 per cent.

One trillion music streams in 2022… in one country alone

Music streams crossed the one trillion mark in a single year for the first time. Naturally it was in the world’s biggest music market, America, and the magic mark was crossed on Saturday November 26.

Music streaming was forecast to plateau in 2020 but COVID shut-ins gave it an extra spurt.

It was 988.1 billion in 2021, said data company Luminate, growing by 11.9 billion to a trillion. It equated to one trillion listeners spending 960,000 years streaming.

Globally streams were up 24.7 per cent in the first six months of 2022.

Fremantle amps up AC/DC Festival

The City of Fremantle is throwing a mini-festival inspired by its favourite music son Bon Scott and his best known band AC/DC.

High Voltage, on Sunday May 7, has local acts play Akka-Dakka toe tappers flatback trucks through the streets and stops like Fremantle Oval, Esplanade Reserve and South Beach.

It is based on the 2020 Highway to Hell, which was the finale of the Perth Festival, and drew 144,000 fans from around Australia and abroad to 10km of Canning Highway as bands on a fleet of trucks played AC/DC songs.

The event doubled trade for local businesses, had a direct economic impact of $6.1 million and a flow-on economic benefit of $17.2 million.

Presented by Tourism WA and produced by Perth Festival Special Projects, it will be interesting to see High Voltage’s impact.

Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said it underlined Fremantle as the “spiritual home of live music in Perth” and recognises its status as an important tourism destination. Accommodation in Freo for the weekend is likely to book out.

Vests for hearing impaired fans at concerts

Mixdown has previously reported how a smart-vest allowed the deaf and hearing impaired to experience music at concerts. Coldplay trialled it in London to ecstatic response from fans on how they could feel the music from vibrations.

The Dept. of Regional NSW has two vests for use at the Tamworth festival in January, and another eight by March for trials at music events.

Studio One.Be moves

Studio One.Be and Headstone Records moved to larger and better equipped facilities at 942 Sydney Road, Coburg North, Melbourne, in a hub called the Graveyard.

The businesses ran for eight years behind a stonemason next to Fawkner Cemetery.

Founder David Warner explains One Be is “committed to providing a breeding ground for local musicians to practice and hone their craft in a supportive embracing collective,” and Headstone signs on acts that record/rehearse there as a label and management agency.

Foo Fighters one-off wins prize

Foo Fighters’ one-off show to 25,000 in Geelong as part of state government & Frontier Touring’s ALWAYS LIVE took third prize (bronze) in the Victorian Tourism Awards 2022 in the Major Festivals & Events category.

New Category For Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

The 2022 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition celebrates its 10th anniversary with a new prize – the American Songwriter Spotlight Award for an international songwriter.

  • 1st place – $50,000 cash prize by APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing.
  • 2nd – $10,000 (courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora)
  • 3rd – $5,000 (courtesy Aon)
  • The AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize – $5,000 (courtesy Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited – AMPAL)
  • American Songwriter Spotlight Award – $1,500 and a feature in American Songwriter.

All proceeds support Noro’s music therapy services. Deadline is 11.59pm (AEDT) Tuesday January 31, 2023.

More information here.