Music industry pushes for live music insurance + all the biggest industry headlines from the week
15.10.2021

Music industry pushes for live music insurance + all the biggest industry headlines from the week

crowd at live music gig with phones out
Words by Christie Eliezer

Plus more brands pledge to play for Aussie music, the response to Four Corners' exposé on Sony + 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:

  • Music industry responds to Four Corners’ exposé on Sony.
  • Major brands tack on to Our Soundtrack Our Stories movement.
  • Push from the biz to push live music insurance through parliament.

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

More Major Brands Swing Support Behind Aussie Music

Commonwealth Bank, Nissan Australia and Bonds are the latest to commit support for homegrown music.

In August, after an Instagram post by Jack Rivers which has now reached 340,000 views, the music industry launched its Our Soundtrack Our Stories push for major brands to give it profile while it struggled during the pandemic.

First off were Channel 7, Qsic, 7Eleven, Coles, Channel 10, Rebel Sport and Bank Australia.

ARIA and PPCA CEO, Annabelle Herd, said: “The support from our nation’s corporate sector has been really amazing to see, even more amazing is that it shows no signs of slowing down, with plenty of announcements still to come.”

Commonwealth Bank’s new StepPay campaign features Confidence Man and Sycco, after working with Thelma Plum and Birds of Tokyo last year.

Its head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Monique Macleod related, “We know the pandemic has been a challenging time for all Australians, particularly those in the music and arts industries. We are proud to play a small role in driving more representation of Australian artists.”

After committing to 100% homegrown music in all national dealerships, Nissan Australia further moved to “a new local Spotify playlist accessible by QR code for customers, further driving the brand experience through music.

“One of the major components of Nissan Radio is that it’s heavily influenced by Australian and New Zealand artists”.

Underwear and clothing brand Bonds pledged to playlist all homegrown music in their stores across Australia.

Its Head of Marketing, Kelly McBride, commented: “At Bonds, supporting homegrown artists has long been part of our DNA. We couldn’t be more excited to get behind Our Soundtrack Our Stories with our 100% Aussie artist playlist, which will be played in Bonds stores nationally.”

Music On Seven’s 2022 Slate

Seven will offer a lot of music in 2022, the network revealed in its programming slate to advertisers.

These include The Voice (which drew 1 million viewers for each episode this year and 2.42 million for the grand final), The Voice: Generations, Australian Idol (back after a 12 year sleep-in) and Australia’s Got Talent.

Special events will be the 64th Grammys and the 94th Oscars.

Music Industry Responds To Four Corners’ Sony Exposé

The ramifications of Four Corners’ expose of the decades-long “toxic” and “bullying” culture at Sony Music Australia under its sacked CEO/chairman Denis Handlin was quick.

ARIA, where Handlin served as long time chair, rushed out a statement: “No one should feel unsafe, harassed, discriminated against, or bullied in the workplace.

“ARIA will continue to work towards safety, inclusion and equality across the music industry including through the cultural change process that was started in May this year.”

APRA AMCOS, which in 2009 presented Handlin its Outstanding Services to Australian Music called the program “distressing and disheartening viewing” and reiterated it wants to “be part of a music industry that upholds a high level of professional respect, conduct and integrity, and does not condone any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying.

“We recognise and accept there’s still much work to do in this space. ”

There were calls from some executives for Handlin to be stripped of his music honours as well as his Member of the Order of Australia (AM) medal in 2005 and Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2017.

The committee behind the medals confirmed it will not take action. But Queensland’s peak music association QMusic revoked the Honorary Award it bestowed on the Brisbane-raised Handlin at the 2020 Queensland Music Awards.

“Following ongoing reports of systemic bullying, discrimination and misconduct under Handlin’s leadership, we cannot let QMusic’s acknowledgement and celebration of his career stand,” they said.

“Toxic workplaces, be they in the office, boardroom, on stage or behind, have no future in Australian music.

“We cannot, and should not, accept nor celebrate this kind of culture. The future of music must be one that is safe, supportive and equitable for all.”

Among claims made on the TV show which drew 600,000 metro viewers—and denied by Handlin—were bullying, harassment, intimidation and abuse over decades.

A staffer who was attacked in a toilet by a naked executive left with a $80,000 pay-out while the perpetrator remained.

Staffers were followed by private detectives, and a PR exec was told to bare her breasts to radio executives as part of a promo gimmick after the ‘model’ hired to do it failed to show.

The Kid Laroi/ Tame Impala Collab?

Two un-captioned black and white photos posted on Instagram Stories by The Kid Laroi of him in a studio with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has led to speculation a collab might appear on Kid’s debut album next year.

In the meantime, his duet with Justin Bieber, ‘Stay’, topped the US charts for its sixth week. It ties with 1983’s ‘Say, Say, Say’ by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson for third longest run by two co-billed male artists.

At seven weeks is 1982’s ‘Ebony & Ivory’ by Stevie Wonder and McCartney. They have a long way to go to catch up with ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee (feat. Bieber) with 16 weeks in 2017.

KISS For Darwin?

When KISS finally tour Australia in 2022, will they also be making it to Darwin. 20 year old fan Charlie Mavros started a Change.org petition to get enough signatures for the tour promoter to consider it.

The push has the blessing of Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis who said he’d make the same effort as when he successfully got Elton John to play there.

New Home For TheMusic.com.au

TheMusic.com.au has been bought by Brisbane-based SGC Media. Its previous owner was Melbourne’s Handshake Media which set it up from the amalgamation of Drum Media (Sydney and Perth), Inpress (Melbourne) and Time Off (Brisbane).

SGC Media hasn’t indicated what changes it will make but it could do well to reboot the music industry directory which Handshake bought from Phil Tripp’s Immedia! when it was an essential contacts resource.

Bomba Gets The Drum

Multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer and songwriter Nicky Bomba has a good deal for anyone who pre-orders his October 22 album Food & Shelter. They’ll be eligible to win a Gretsch Catalina Club drum kit and UFIP cymbals with additional prizes as vinyl test pressings with personalised artwork, a limited release framed picture of Nicky’s artwork from his ‘Sunflower Sounds’ exhibition, and Nicky Bomba pencil drumsticks, t-shirts and tea towel.

Biz Pushes For Music Events Insurance

The music biz has been pushing for the Australian government to follow the lead of the UK government to work with insurers to underwrite big music events and tours which are cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

The Federal government has thrown money at the sector to get back on the road but it needs such a scheme to bring the certainty to move ahead. WA and Tasmania has introduced versions of this, but because of state border closures, the scheme has to be a national one.

The Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young has moved to legislate Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee.

She said, “The live performance sector isn’t asking for a hand-out, it is asking for a product that simply isn’t available right now so that they can plan gigs, festivals and events with confidence they won’t keep taking massive financial hits with ongoing restrictions and lockdowns.

“This situation is not unique to Australia and yet the Morrison Government sits on its hands while governments in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and other countries underwrite insurance schemes for their live music and entertainment sectors.”

On October 14 artists, promoters, artist managers and music associations spoke before a Senate committee to drive home the urgency.

Promoters Fuzzy, for instance, explained how they went in 12 months from a thriving business to one that would topple over if it had one more cancellation.

Their co-founder Adelle Robinson revealed that a sudden cancellation of the Sydney leg of the 35,000-capacity Listen Out festival would cost it $4 million.

Parliament is scheduled to vote on this in November.

Watch the Four Corners Facing The Music documentary here.