Mushroom Group drops The Harbour Agency + all the biggest industry headlines from the week

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Mushroom Group drops The Harbour Agency + all the biggest industry headlines from the week

music industry news
Words by Christie Eliezer

Plus Masked Wolf proves the most popular among TikTok creators, EDM grows in Sydney, 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:

  • Sydney-based Masked Wolf’s viral hit ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ was the track most used by TikTok’s global creators.
  • Mushroom Group has dropped Sydney-based live booking company Harbour Agency from its roster.
  • ARIA recorded 1.76 million viewers on their digital awards live stream in the seven days following the event.

Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.

Masked Wolf Track Most Featured In TikTok’s Video Creations

Sydney-based Masked Wolf’s viral hit ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ was the track most used by TikTok’s global creators in 2021 having featured in almost nine million videos since issued in June 2019.

APRA AMCOS acknowledged it for generating a whopping one billion streams worldwide.

It also charted in 40 countries, reaching number four in Australia, number six in the US and number 12 in the UK where it sold over 500 thousand copies.

TikTok released the ‘Top 10’ list of most used tracks by its creators. The list also included The Kid Laroi.

This is the list:

Masked Wolf – ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’

Maneskin – ‘Beggin’

Popp Hunna – ‘Adderall (Corvette Corvette)’

ElyOtto – ‘SugarCrash!’

The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber – ‘Stay’

Oliver Tree – ‘Life Goes On’

Erica Banks – ‘Buss It’

YungManny – ‘Clap For ‘Em (feat. Flo Milli & Sada Baby)’

Megan Thee Stallion – ‘Cognac Queen’

Cardi B – ‘Up’

Mushroom Group Drops Harbour Agency After External Investigation

In his first major business reshuffle since taking over as CEO of Mushroom Group in autumn, Matt Gudinski has dropped Sydney-based live booking company Harbour Agency from its roster.

In a story doing the rounds in the industry after being broken by The Australian this week, Mushroom withdrew its shares in the company which has a team of 12.

It’s been revealed that Mushroom Group has severed its long-standing relationship with live booking agency The Harbour Agency, which represents the likes of Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Busby Marou, Ben Lee, Eskimo Joe, Hunters & Collectors, Ash Grunwald, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins, and Killing Heidi among others.

Mushroom set up Harbour in 1978 as part of the late Michael Gudinski’s push into Sydney.

In the statement this week, Mushroom Group stressed Harbour has operated independently.

Mushroom have since said “unlike all other Mushroom Group companies it has not shared HR, legal, finance, or other group corporate services.

“Recently, several former Harbour Agency staff contacted Mushroom with historical allegations about management behaviour and workplace culture of the Harbour Agency.

“External investigators were appointed and the concerns raised were investigated, including via interviews with a number of former staff. The issues raised by the investigation have been taken seriously and are now being addressed by the directors of Harbour Agency.

“Mushroom doesn’t have a controlling shareholding in Harbour, nor input into the decision making process at Harbour. The findings of the investigation emphasised the lack of direct day-to-day visibility and influence we have over the running of the Harbour business.”

In response to Mushroom’s statement, The Harbour Agency told The Australian it “takes workplace culture very seriously”.

“We are proud to promote an inclusive, culturally diverse and safe environment which nurtures the skills of budding industry leaders as well as extending these values to our clients and the industry as a whole.

“In effect, any previous issues within the Harbour Agency have been assessed and dealt with over a period of time as is consistent with our values.

“At no point during Mushroom’s external investigation were any current employees interviewed. Had these accounts been included, the findings may have told a different story.”

Details of the complaints were not made public.

WA Music Bar Sacks Security Over Sexual Harassment

Scarborough, WA bar El Grotto sacked its security team over its handling of a sexual harassment complaint following an inquiry, and apologised to the victims.

After The Blue Honey Band finished its gig, one of its members was seated at a table holding hands with her girlfriend, a letch came over, put his hands over theirs, and allegedly said “I’m more feminine than I am masculine, so come on, ladies. I’m a lesbian, too”.

He was said to have followed that up with saying he liked women too, “I’m just trying to spread love, that’s what I do, come on now”.

When the couple complained to a security guard, he allegedly responded by saying he couldn’t throw the man out because he didn’t touch her anywhere inappropriately.

The guard stopped the man from being served more alcohol but he could remain in the venue, which meant he could still approach the women and abuse them for complaining.

El Grotto has hired a consultant to handle sexual and security issues and begun sensitivity lessons for staff.

“To all our customers, if you ever feel uncomfortable in our venue for any reason, please raise the issue with us straight away so the team at El Grotto can help you,” the venue said.

“We’re going to do better for everyone.”

Which Artist Dominated ARIAs Streams?

ARIA released figures last week of its November 26 virtual ARIA Awards from Toronga Zoo showing they accumulated 1.76 million views on YouTube in the seven days following its livestream on the platform.

The biggest viewership was for the live sets – particularly The Kid LAROI’s closing performance of ‘Stay’ which reached 675 thousand views.

Gretta Ray’s ‘Love Me Right’ drew 241 thousand views, while Budjerah’s ‘Missing You’, before he snapped up the Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist award, earned 239 thousand views.

It was the first awards under new CEO Annabelle Herd, and she called the figures “amazing”.

“This year our single goal was to be able to bring the industry together after another turbulent year to celebrate creativity and perseverance, but also to welcome a new, bright, and brilliant era for Australian music,” she said.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to see that resonate with Australia and the world, and we can’t wait to reveal what’s already in store for next year.”

The sentiment was echoed by four-time winner Genesis Owusu, who declared “this year’s ceremony set a great precedent for the changes to come in the Australian music industry as a whole”.

New Pop-Up EDM Venue For Sydney

Sydney has another new music venue in time for summer, called Terminal 4, at the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Balmain.

Untitled Group has set up the venue with picturesque waterfront views over the Harbour Bridge, Glebe Island, and Port Jackson.

They’re the folks behind festivals as Beyond The Valley, Pitch Music & Arts, Grapevine Gathering, and Wildlands.

They’ve gone into a deal with Niche Productions to curate “world-class bills” through the year.

Untitled Group said “T4 will see both companies fuse their expertise and innovation, to deliver cutting-edge events, carefully curated programming and high-end production in a truly unique space”.

The venue is described as “offering awe-inspiring industrial design with soaring ceilings, the space is not only iconically Sydney but inevitably one that will create lifetime memories for the electronic music industry, artists, and attendees alike.”

Want More Aussie Music Names In Wikipedia?

Wikimedia Australia and the Australian Council for the Arts have teamed up to get more coverage over the next six months in Wikipedia, which has 27 million registered users around the world.

To kickstart the initiative, Wikimedia and the Australian Music Vault are hosting an ‘edit-a-thon’ as part of Melbourne Music Week.

People are encouraged to turn up at Collingwood Yards on December 11 with a laptop or device, as well as a Wikipedia account, and be part of an edit-a-thon on updating articles on local musicians, labels and associations, and giving them visibility.

Full details here.