Read the latest Australian music industry news - from Ed Sheeran's copyright battle to SoundCloud's new 'Fans' feature.
Been out of the loop with everything that’s been going on in Australian music industry news recently? We don’t blame you. Here’s a wrap-up of all the biggest Aussie music biz stories from the past fortnight.
Read all the latest product & music industry news here.
The top headlines:
- Live Nation CEO speculates that concert ticket prices will rise
- Ed Sheeran wins second copyright battle over “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”
- SoundCloud has launched its ‘Fans’ feature, allowing 50,000 Next Pro artists to to direct message super fans.
Concert Ticket Prices To Rise?
Are concert ticket prices set to rise? That’s the word from the top – Michael Rapino, US-based CEO of the world’s largest promoter Live Nation.
The company delivered a record US$3.1 billion revenue globally in the first quarter of 2023, an astounding 73% from the same period in 2022.
Its subsidiary Ticketmaster jumped 43% to $677.7 million, on sales of 145 million tickets.
Rapino observed that while Live Nation ticket prices were up 19% in the last 12 months, they were still vastly under-priced, given fans were willing to pay twice that much on resale markets.
“We’ve seen the artists looking at their ticket price and [ask] ‘How do we bring the prices down in the back, bring the prices up in the front, so we can sell out and make sure everyone gets a ticket at an affordable price?”
There may be more pricing tiers and Rapino also expects that given that fans are willing to open their wallets for “experiences”, Live Nation would further focus on the “premium” market.
Mixdown spoke to half a dozen Australian promoters last year about the possibility of prices going up in this country.
The general consensus was that they were still working with artists to keep them down but thought it inevitable as costs are rising rapidly.
These include having to pay artists in US dollars, business class airfares doubling, production fees, staffing, security and catering, and a relative lack of stages and generators
“It’s all going through the roof,” said Michael Chugg.
“You have to be very careful when you’re doing your budgets and the offers because it can be tough.
“Trucking which cost $400,000 can be now a million. Something has to give eventually. It’s something everyone has to look at, and prices may rise.”
Frontier Touring’s Dion Brandt noted the company works with artists to keep costs down as much as possible, like sourcing their gear locally, for instance.
“It’s not so much what we can sustain but where that line is where artists feel it’s not just worth coming to Australia.
“We don’t want artists to come here and lose money ether.”
TEG’s Geoff Jones revealed, “All the big promoters are working together to ensure we don’t cut each others’ throats.”
Apple Concert Feature For Two Aussie Cities
Apple Music introduced new a concert discovery features on Apple Maps and Apple Music for users in Sydney and Melbourne.
It uses Shazam’s concert discovery feature, offering concert info and tickets on sale, with data from Bandsintown, which has 77 million registered fans and 570,000 registered artists.
The two Australian ‘guides’ are part of 40 rolled out through the globe.
Vale Andrew Penhallow, Sarah Longhurst
Andrew Penhallow was a pioneer of Australia’s underground electro-funk dance scene, first running the local operation of Factory Records, setting up Volition in the 1980s and launching Severed Heads, Single Gun Theory, Boxcar and Vision Four 5, and having been behind Big Day Out’s Boiler Room.
The music industry this week farewelled artist manager and self-proclaimed “queen freak” of her company Longshot, Sarah Longhurst.
Entering the music industry in the ‘90s after completing a law degree at the University of Sydney, she managed acts as Pollyanna, Big Heavy Stuff and Custard and served as a mentor to the following waves of business managers.
Ed Sheeran Wins Second Copyright Battle
Ed Sheeran won a second copyright battle over “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”, with a Manhattan judge overturning his previous ruling that the lawsuit by Structured Asset Sales LLC, should be heard by a jury.
He said the chord progression was so commonplace it was used 29 times before appearing in “Let’s Get It On” and in another 23 before “Thinking Out Loud” was released.
Melbourne Eying Festivals
A draft budget by City of Melbourne for 2023–24, which is now open for community feedback, includes $28.2 million for events and festivals.
In the meantime the Andrews state government has come up with a new nine-day festival, Eighty-Six, named after the tram route which runs along High St between Northcote and Preston, an area that is home to more live music venues than in any other street in Australia.
It runs from October 23 to 31, with live music events held in theatres, record stores, bars, restaurants, and bocce and bowls clubs that regularly present live music along the route.
New Signing #1: Pendulum
Perth-hailed multi-platinum EDM act Pendulum signed to Mushroom Group and Virgin Music Group ahead of their track “Halo” featuring Matt Tuck of Bullet For My Valentine.
They reunite with Korda Marshall, Mushroom’s London-based international director.
Pendulum’s Rob Swire called him “a visionary who played a pivotal role in our journey back in 2006 (and) instrumental in signing us to Warner, which propelled our career to new heights.”
New Signing #2: Yours & Owls Festival
Yours & Owls Festival signed a three year deal with University of Wollongong to stage within its grounds and surrounds, effective October 2023.
Yours And Owls founders Ben Tillman, Adam Smith and Balunn Jones are UOW alumni.
New Signing #3: Simona Castricum
Melbourne/Naarm-based multi-instrumentalist and electronic underground identity Simona Castricum found a new home at Dinosaur City Records through which she will release her fourth album SINK in mid-July.
SoundCloud Lets Acts DM Superfans
After a spell on beta, SoundCloud launched its ‘Fans’ feature, allowing 50,000 Next Pro artists to to direct message (DM) superfans, with the extra option of attaching a track when they do.
SoundCloud’s ‘Fan Powered Royalties’ or ‘user-centric’ royalty payout capability, helps artists to identify their biggest listeners.
This way artists can call for feedback on private tracks, promote new tracks and other artists, and promote shows and ‘IRL’ events.
Accountant Facing Court
One time accountant to the stars, Damien Luscombe, faces Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on June 1 on charges of fraud.
Former partner at music accountant White Sky, Luscombe was suspended last October after an internal investigation led by founder Tom Harris found up to $2.2 million in discrepancies between 2011-2022 in the accounts of clients.
White Sky clients include Amy Shark, Peking Duck, Angus and Julia Stone, Gotye, Tim Minchin and Vance Joy.
Harris contacted the Financial Crime Squad, who charged Luscombe.
Move To Wind Up Lunar Electric Festival
Three months after the promoters of the national Lunar Electric festival had to push from March to September, they’ve run into another problem.
TFH Hire, which provides temporary fencing, water barriers and portaloos, applied for promoter Intensive Events to be wound up over an unpaid debt, the Gold Coast Bulletin said.
In March ticketing agency Oztix halted ticket sales when the lineup with Doja Cat, 6ix9ine and NLE Choppa turned out not fully confirmed.
It seems some 2023 shows are now dropped, suppliers and artists like Veronica claim they were not paid for last year’s run, and Melbourne and Adelaide customers say they are still awaiting refunds.
National Indigenous Music
Amazon Music struck a two-year sponsorship deal with the National Indigenous Music Awards (August 12, Darwin Amphitheatre) and promised to work with awards organiser Music NT to support First Nations musicians and expand its own First Nations production and creative team.
Multi-award winning singer songwriters Budjerah, Tia Gostelow, Eliza Hull and Gabriella Cohen, Rirratjingu storyteller Yirrmal, electronic producer and artist Ninajirachi, hip hop act A.GIRL, Korean-Australian pianist, composer and improviser Sophie Min, Melbourne multi-disciplinary artist Hannah Crofts, screen composer Samuel Weiss, Perth experimental artist Josten Myburgh, and Telenova’s Angeline Armstrong are in the shortlist for the Professional Development Awards (PDAs).
They are in the running for a share of $120,000 cash prize pool and a prize from Australis Music, and will be announced on Thursday June 15.
New to 2023 are the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office (NATSIMO) categories, for general, youth and senior, and whose finalists include Jem Cassar-Daley, Meteor Infant, Andrew Gurruwiwi, Shellie Morris and SKNOW.
Environmental Music Prize
The second Environmental Music Prize unveiled the 22 finalist Australian songs about climate and conservation, for a $20,000 cash prize.
They include Midnight Oil’s “Rising Seas”, Jen Cloher’s “Being Human”, MO’JU’s “Change Has To Come”, Flume’s “Go”, Woodes’ “Forever After”, Ziggy Alberts’ “Together”, Xavier Rudd’s “Stoney Creek”, King Stingray’s “Milkumana”, Kutcha Edwards’ “Singing Up Country”, Meraki Mae’s “Warrior” and Sunfruits’ “End of the World”.
International Songwriting Competition (ISC)
Aussies had top wins in categories in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) which had 15,000 entries from 150 countries.
Taking #1 spot in Adult Contemporary was Hattie Oates from Tamworth (Abby Dobson, Sydney was #3), Loren Kate from Aldinga Beach, SA for Americana, and Tom Cardy from Sydney for Comedy/Novelty.
In Lyrics Only, Elizabeth Sawdon of Cairns was top ranking and Daniel Smith of Melbourne took second spot.
Carl Pannuzzo (Checkerboard Lounge) of Melbourne was #2 in Performance and Mahdokht Mahdavi (Tahdig) of Richlands, QLD was #3 in Hip-Hop / Rap.
The Aussies had a sweep in Unsigned, with Cairns’ LT (Joel Quartermain, Edwin White) at #1, Melbourne’s Zoe A’dore at #2 and Melbourne’s Ashwarya at #3.
To vote for your favourite artist to win the Environmental Music Prize, head here.