Slices of Australian live music history up for sale + all the biggest industry headlines

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Slices of Australian live music history up for sale + all the biggest industry headlines

The Tote for sale

Read the latest music industry news - from iconic Melbourne venue the Tote's potential sale, to BIGSOUND 2023 details 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:

  • Iconic Australian music institutions, including Melbourne’s The Tote, and the farm in Marion Bay where Falls festival was held, are up for sale.
  • King Stingray have won The Australian Music Prize.
  • Spotify to test ‘Personalised AI DJ’.

Keep up to date with the latest industry news here.

Slices of Australian live music history for sale

Slices of Australian live music history are on the market. One of them is the 273ha farm in Marion Bay where Falls Festival Tasmania was held until 2021 amidst protected bushland and 180ha of arable farmland. Marion Bay drew 15,000 at its peak but while promoters Secret Sounds kept ticket prices down in line with Tasmanian wages, half the audience came from the mainland. The state government refused to help with funding, especially after crowd numbers fell, and Secret Sounds pulled the plug.

Melbourne venue The Tote could have an ownership change by June, and will be running gigs until then. Co-owners Jon Perring and Sam Crupi are looking for someone with “renewed enthusiasm and vision” admitting there’s “no petrol left in the tank” after steering the venue through COVID.

Newcastle’s Lizotte may close by July after 14 years if Brian Lizotte can’t get a new owner, the founder said. The building at 123 – 127 Maroondah Highway in Ringwood in outer Melbourne, once the home of Dakota nightclub which was destroyed in a suspicious fire in 2016, has a $9.5 million tag.

Sydney Northern beaches pub the Brookvale Hotel, which hosted live music, now belongs to Sydney pub-owning family the Irvins which forked out $40 million in loose change.

Not a change of owner but a change of operator for Brisbane’s popular Victory Hotel in the CBD. In a shock announcement, ALH Group said it would not extend its 20-year lease past March, and that it closed as a live venue on Feb. 19. But, the pub’s owner Precision Group has since stated it will return “with an exciting new operator” some time in March.

Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley lost Laruche, which bowed out after 13 years under the current owner on Feb 26 after a 16-hour party,  O’Skulligans in Warner St. had to pull its live music (mostly heavy rock) due to complaints from new neighbours. However a new heavy rock venue Bad Luck is opening in Ann St.

AMP strikes seventh debut album win

The Australian Music Prize win by King Stingray’s self-titled long platter is the seventh debut record to scoop the $30,000 win.

The others were Cloud Control’s Bliss Release (2010), The Jezabels’s Prisoner (2011), Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015), A.B. Original’s Reclaim Australia (2016), Sampa the Great’s The Return (2019) and Genesis Owusu’s Smiling with No Teeth (2021).

It’s also the third First Australian win, after A.B. Original and Gurrumul’s Djarimirri (2018).

Three outdoor entertainment venues for Sydney?

Sydney could get three major outdoor shell-like entertainment venues like Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl and Brisbane’s Riverstage.

They would be set up in the Domain in the CBD, the Crescent in Parramatta Park, and Thompsons Creek Regional Parkland in Bradfield.

The proposed venues would fill the void between 2,000-seat theatres and the 20,000-seat arenas. They’re estimated to inject $450 million into the city’s economy and create 2,300 permanent jobs.

The Greater Entertainment for Greater Sydney report was put together by fast growing entertainment and tourism developer Cedar Mill Group in partnership with Business Sydney and Business Western Sydney.

Spotify testing ‘Personalised AI DJ’

Using newly-acquired tech gained after it bought London-based AI voice startup Sonantic, Spotify is testing a ‘AI DJ in your pocket’ feature.

It knows your music so well it chooses tracks for you AND adds commentary about the songs and the artists “in a stunningly realistic voice.”

Spotify said:

“We have experts in genres who know music and culture inside and out. And no one knows the music scene better than they do. 

“With this generative AI tooling, our editors are able to scale their innate knowledge in ways never before possible.”

AAM Awards back for second year

The AAM (Association of Artist Managers) awards return for a second year, presented by Oztix, this time in Sydney.

The ceremony, held at the Crowbar at noon on April 27 (same day as APRA awards), will also be live streamed streamed online .

Categories are Manager of the Year, Breakthrough, Community Engagement and Legacy for any Ten Percenter who has been working for over 10 years.

In addition, the APRA AMCOS Lighthouse Award recipient will also be announced.

This $5,000 prize for a manager who identifies as a woman or non-binary person was set up in memory of Melbourne fixture Linda Gebar who was not only one of the few women in music management in the 90s (Killjoys, Frente, The Blackeyed Susans) and also booked the Punters Club, worked at PBS FM and APRA AMCOS, and had a record label.

Lady In Red

During Rihanna’s 13-minute Superbowl set with the all-red look, searches for “red jumpsuit” went up by 520%, “red coat” by 189%, “red puffer jacket” by 177% and for “red sneakers” by 102%.

The shoes were French sportswear Maison Margiela MM6 x Salomon Cross Low, which became a super-brand overnight with searches up 4000%.

Qld Green lights pill-testing at festivals

Queensland has become the first Australian state to allow pill-testing at its music festivals.

“Pill testing services will inform people what chemical substances are in their drugs,” health minister Yvette D’Ath said. 

“We know people make better decisions when they are equipped with unbiased information.”

The government will soon seek a pill testing provider, with new protocols developed to determine how the program will work.

Tests in the ACT with Spilt Milk and Groovin’ The Moo (GTM) operated in a legal grey area and GTM had to quit when its nervous insurer pulled out.

NME pulls print edition in Aus

The has NME pulled its monthly print edition in Australia after three years. It was available via mail order, bypassing news agencies.

Two New Categories For AIR Awards

This year’s AIR (Australian Independent Record Labels Association) awards on August 3 in Adelaide will have two new categories – one for marketing and publicity teams  which delivered a release campaign for a single, EP or album that is a final nominee in the AIR awards.

Mud on the tracks

A punter is bringing a public liability claim against Roundhouse Entertainment over injuries sustained at a Crowded House winery show at Mt Duneed Estate last November in Victoria.

Kerry Deague, 59, told the Geelong Advertiser the A Day on The Green site was so muddy she suffered fractures to her tibia and fibula while trying to move through the bog in gumboots.

She said she needed surgery and was unable to return to her job, and wants to recover lost wages, medical costs and compensation for pain and suffering.

Call out # 1: A2IM Indie Week

Sounds Australia, AIR, ARIA and the PPCA are seeking expressions of interest from indie labels to take part in an Australian delegation to attend Indie Week 2023 in New York June 12—15.

Sounds Australia will cover registration costs for successful applicants – valued at US $549.99.

Aside from learning at keynotes and panels, the event draws 1200 participants from over 30 countries, to network with.

Expressions of interest are due by Tuesday March 28 6pm. Find out more here.

Call out #2: BIGSOUND Showcases

Back on September 5—8 for its 22nd consecutive year,  BIGSOUND is giving acts the chance to showcase before global media, A&R, agents, promoters, music supervisors and buyers.

The application deadline is Tuesday April 18. Apply here.

Sunshine Coast Festival Bailed Out

Sunshine Coast Council voted to increase its funding for spring’s Caloundra Music Festival by $50,000 to $275,000 a year for the three years. 

The festival set up in 2007 and pre-COVID drew 32,695 audience members, bringing $3 million to the local region and revenue above $2 million.

But last year, a combination of wild weather and fans’ continued apprehension due to the pandemic saw crowds down to 13,183 and revenue was slashed to $1.1 million.

Fore information about BIGSOUND 2023, check out their website.