The search for new audiences, how musicians fared in the 2020 budget + more: our wrap-up of Australian music industry news

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine

The search for new audiences, how musicians fared in the 2020 budget + more: our wrap-up of Australian music industry news

Why musicians must look for new audiences 

The general consensus is that the return to live music action will be buoyant. Audiences are stir-crazy, and up to 43% were trying out new styles of music on streaming services during the lockdown and obviously looking to experience them live. Promoters have been inventive and it’s expected that the half-assed time wasters would have been shaken off the tree.


But the first of a series of Recovery Road webinars by Creative Victoria and Artshub suggests that musicians need to start tapping into new audiences because the original fans might not necessarily be there. 


The webinar, by Tandi Palmer Williams of Patternmakers’ looks at figures from The Audience Outlook Monitor which tapped into feedback from 30,000 recipients. 


90% of them are “moderately” committed to supporting music and the arts. BUT – and you knew there’d be a but – 23% expect to attend less gigs in the long run. It was highest in Victoria (16%) where the second wave was hardest, then by 11% in NSW and 7% in WA.


Obviously this apprehension might lift if promoters can prove they can provide100% safety, when social gatherings become the norm, or a vaccine is found.


But spending on concerts might be affected because people can’t afford it. A high 42% said household income was affected, and 18% expect to spend less across-the-board in future.


‘Inadequate and poorly targeted’: How the arts fared in the Federal Budget

The October 6 Federal Budget or 2020/21 went down like a cup of cold sick with the arts and music sectors. 


Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance CEO Paul Murphy called the figures  “inadequate and poorly targeted” for sectors that had virtually come to a screeching halt.


“The $250 million announced earlier this year – most of which was loans or insurance assistance – will do little to address the sector’s structural challenges.


“Arts and entertainment workers, already shaken by widespread ineligibility for JobKeeper payments, should be aghast that they have again been bypassed by a big-spending budget that provides no roadmap for the sector’s restoration.”


Strategies for new job apprenticeships and addressing job losses by women bypassed arts and music. The Small Business asset write off for a businesses with a turnover of up to $5 billion until June 2022 puts those in the arts sector out of bounds.


The only ones to receive more funding were the Australia Council at $215,633,000 (up from $214,555,000 last year), the Australian Film, Television and Radio School at $34,278,000 (up from $30,356,000) and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia at $29,188,000 (up from $28,936,000).


The Australia Council must certainly need the dough or relook at its priorities. This columnist applied for one of its “pandemic emergency” grants for a project that would have helped save roadies’ lives and keep music magazines afloat. That got turned down. The mind boggles as what its peer judges regard as “urgent”.



New venues spring up

While the Australian live music industry still scratches its head over what the “new normal” will be, and what train it’s arriving on, new music venues are getting ready for it.


November 14 sees the opening of Brisbane’s The West Room, in the city’s West End. The main room has a capacity of 500 and the Library Room at 150. This allows it to showcase everyone from emerging acts through the weekday to touring bigshots on the weekend, and every genre possible.


Meanwhile, The Civic Hotel in Inglewood, Perth opened the 500-capacity Milk Bar bandroom, set up by Australian Venue Co. and Bespoke Touring as a ‘70s style pub rock with a big stage at one end and a big bar at the other. 


There’s also some familiar names coming back – The Tivoli in Brisbane will from November run music and entertainment in its three month Open Season programme. Names include Ed Kuepper, Electric Fields, Megan Washington and Cub Sport while there are also orchestras and circus theatre.


The South Australian government is renovating the 180-year-old heritage-listed Queens Theatre after arts groups complained there wasn’t enough performance and rehearsal spaces in the city. The theatre holds 1,000 people.


After the Flying Scotsman in Mt. Lawley, Perth, closed permanently in March after issues with its landlord, WA hospitality company Three Pound Group acquired it and will start showcasing acts next year after renovations.


Van Halen rack up 31 million streams in two days

Billboard magazine recorded that Van Halen music was streamed 31.19 million times in the US in the two days after the October 6 death of Eddie Van Halen. That was a 1,369% jump from the two days before his passing.


Their #1 hit ‘Jump’ led with 2.33 million streams, followed by ‘Panama’ (1.97 million, up 653%), ‘Runnin’ With the Devil’ (1.78 million, up 925%), ‘Hot for Teacher’ (1.51 million, up 1,044%) and ‘Eruption’ (1.37 million, up 2,662%).



No sleep ’till Auckland

Figures from the Australian live sector is that 80% of gigs by a local touring act are outside its home state. Which means no viable touring until all border closures are lifted.


Ironically, the alternative seems to be New Zealand, which is allowing “exceptions” for international acts. This week the Summer Concert Tour 2021 of wineries in early 2021 announced that Aussie-based Dragon, Mi-Sex, The Angels and Pseudo Echo would join the bill. Expect more Aussies for New Zealand’s summer festivals.


SA Awards put industry professionals in the spotlight

Nominees for the industry voted component of the November 3 South Australian Music Awards are:


Best Studio

  • Adelaide Recording Studios

  • Ghostnote

  • Island Recording Studios

  • Spare Second Studio

  • Stone Shed Studio

  • Wundenbergs Recording and Rehearsal Studio


Best Studio Engineer

  • Chris Panousakis

  • Kiah Gossner

  • Jimmy Balderston

  • Lewis Wundenberg

  • Mario Spate


Best Live Technician

  • Lisa Lane-Collins

  • Luke Hancock

  • Noni Espinosa

  • Patrick Lockwood

  • Peter Wing


Best Major Festival/Event

  • Day of Clarity

  • Porchland 

  • St Jerome’s Laneway Festival – Adelaide 

  • Thebartonia


Best Small Festival/Event

  • Field Good Festival

  • Freefall Festival

  • PAK: Live at Wundenbergs

  • Stonecutters

  • The Porch Sessions


Best Venue 

  • Crown and Anchor Hotel

  • Grace Emily Hotel

  • Jive

  • Lion Arts Factory

  • The Wheatsheaf Hotel


Best Cover Art

  • Dave Court (DyspOra) – AUSTRALIEN

  • Jack Fenby (Cat Lucky) – Pressure (Everybody Wants To Know You)

  • Jack Fenby (The Empty Threats) – $2

  • Julie Thornberg-Thorsoe (Kaurna Cronin) – Glitter or Dust

  • Todd Fischer (Lost Woods) – Shaping Distant Memories


Best Manager

  • Alex Karatassa

  • Diana Sautelle

  • Matthew Khabbaz

  • Planet shhh!

  • Sue Germein


Best Music Video

  • Bottleneck Studios (Uomo) – ‘All I Hear’

  • EAST AV3 – ‘Le Labo’

  • Harry Nelli (Venice Queens) – ‘Punchdrunk’

  • Lonelyspeck – ‘My Angel Goes Before Me’

  • Motez, Pilot Studio, Mapped Design, Daggers Production, Kelsee Pedler (Motez) – ‘Soulitude’



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