Plus QMusic attempts to bolster live music in Queensland, Sony Music under fire 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:
- Tkay Maidza and King Gizzard nominated for AIM awards.
- QMusic is pitching the government to match NSW’s live music grants for Queensland.
- Study outlines diversity in the arts sector.
Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.
Is Fremantle, Not Perth, WA’s Creative Capital?
A study by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre and the University of Newcastle states that Fremantle, and not Perth, is the creative capital of WA.
The small port city less than 20km south-west of Perth with a population of 360,000 has the greatest concentration of performance and visual artists, making up 0.62% of its full-time workforce, compared with 0.29% for Perth and 0.16% for the rest of WA.
According to QUT’s associate professor Mark Ryan, “Established in 1829, Fremantle was once a lower socio-economic locality.
“It offered affordable living which attracted migrants and artists in the 1960s and 70s, becoming a multicultural, creative hotspot for live music and visual artists’ studios.
“Its creative scene is vibrant and diverse. Fremantle has a kind of New Orleans vibe about it.”
He added: “Fremantle’s rich seam of protected, historic buildings, like the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison and the Fremantle Arts Centre, have become cultural amenities for artists and other creatives.
“They provide spaces for studios, galleries, venues, filmmakers, and other arts practices.”
Fremantle was part of a nation-wide study of 17 ‘hotspots’ for creative industries funded by the Australian Research Council. The 17 were chosen from 2016 Census data and feedback from music and arts associations.
Also to be reviewed are:
Queensland – Cairns, Sunshine Coast + Noosa, Gold Coast, Central West Queensland
NSW – Coffs Harbour, Marrickville, Wollongong, Albury
Victoria – Geelong + Surf Coast, Ballarat, Bendigo, Wodonga
WA – Geraldton, Fremantle, Busselton, Albany + Denmark
SA – to be confirmed shortly
Podcast Downloads Hit Record 52.2m
Podcast downloads in Australia hit a new record in May, jumping up to 52.2 million, according to Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The figure was 50 million in March.
The four most downloaded shows were Audioboom’s Casefile True Crime at #1, then ARN/iHeartPodcast Network Australia’s Stuff You Should Know, Hamish & Andy and The Kyle & Jackie O Show.
More Bullying And Harassment Claims At Sony Music Australia
Two months after the sacking of Sony Music Australia executive Tony Glover over bullying and harassment of other staff, other allegations have been made. Half a dozen current and former staff contacted The Sun-Herald /The Sunday Age, which reported that Sony’s New York HQ is investigating the complaints.
Allegations include a senior exec who was doing a performance review on a staffer next day. “He leaned in and looked down my top and said ‘if your review was based on your physique you’d get top marks’.” When she complained, she was offered a promotion, which never materialised.
Perth’s Hen House Adds New Facilities
Hen House Rehearsal Studios in Perth threw a 10th birthday bash on the weekend— which also served as the unveiling of its new studio.
It has 17 studios across two warehouses (seven in the new Studio 2), with 24/7 facilities that allow recordings, livestreams of band and DJ sets, a studio where locals can collaborate online with those in other countries and one space where podcasts can be recorded.
Hen House was set up by then-Gyroscope drummer Rob Nassif, with general manager duties conducted by Tom Wilson, guitarist with Furball and Flossy.
Tkay Maidza, King Gizzard Take Aim
Tkay Maidza and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are increasing their profile in the UK, as evident in their nominations for the 2021 Association of Independent Music (AIM) Independent Music Awards set to livestream from London on August 25.
Maidza’s ‘Shook’ (4AD) is up for Best Independent Track while she also scrubs down for International Breakthrough against Bicep, Fontaines D.C., Jayda G and Park Hye Jin.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s Eco Wax Editions (Heavenly Recordings / Flightless Records) is up for Best Creative Packaging.
Dominating the nominations with four was Brit singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks, who took out the One To Watch category last year.
Meanwhile Music Week reported that new figures from AIM and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) show indie acts had 26% of album equivalent sales consumed in the UK in 2020. Indies’ share of streaming equivalent albums (SEAs) grew in each of the past five years.
The physical format is where UK indies shine. In 2020, they had 35% share of vinyl albums while four in every four vinyl albums in the first three months of 2021 were by an indie act.
Indie acts cornered 30% of all CD sales in 2020.
QMusic Calls For Bail-Out, 100% Capacity For Qld Live Music
Peak Queensland music association QMusic had an interesting pitch when approaching the state government for funding for live music. The two states met at the first state of origin in Townsville the night before, where the cornstalks stomped mercilessly over their banana-bending cousins up north 50-6.
Let’s get even, QMusic put forward, by equalling or bettering NSW’s $24 million live music package to help venues stay open whilst operating under capacity restrictions.
“Through our close work with venues across the state since the initial lockdown, we know all of these small business owners are at an absolute breaking point. They need a lifeline and they need it now,” QMusic’s outgoing CEO Angela Samut said.
Last week Samut, QMusic president Natalie Strijland and committee member John Collins (co-owner of Brisbane’s The Triffid and Fortitude Music Hall) again met with chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young to discuss increasing the capacity of the state’s music venues. It’s currently 30%.Break-even point is 80% to 90%.
“Along with capacity restrictions, the end of JobKeeper, international borders closed until at least 2022, interstate lockdowns, hotspots and quarantine requirements, has seen our live music venues brought to their knees and without a big financial commitment now from the state government, we may lose an industry which has long been the envy of the other states,” QMusic stated.
Rapper On Trial Over Big Kash Shooting
Sydney rapper Masi Rooc will stand trial next month over the August 2020 shooting of rapper Big Kash in the driveway of an apartment block in the southwest suburb of Warwick Farm.
Police allege Masi Rooc (born Thomas Karras Vandermade, 29) followed Big Kash (born John Lavulo, 33) down the driveway as he sat in his Mercedes with his 22-year old girlfriend and shot him in the forearm and elbow. Kash drove himself to hospital. His friend was not hurt.
Masi Rooc pleading not guilty to a charge of attempted murder, discharge firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possess unauthorised firearm. He and an associate face Parramatta District Court for arraignment July 9.
How Far Are The Arts In Equity And Diversity Representation?
Australia’s diversity is its richest asset but that is not reflected in the arts and creativity sectors. So says the Australia Council’s 2019 National Arts Participation Survey, released in June 2021.
First Nations people are more likely to be involved in arts than non-FN. Their attendance at arts events is 91% vs 66%; their creative participation is 78% vs 42%; and engagement online is 75% vs 40%.
But while they make up 3% of the population, they only make up 1% of the creative workforce and only 4.2% make income from FN arts (8.8% in remote Australia). Only 12% have leadership roles in associations that get funding from Australia Council, only get 7% of Arts Council grants to individuals and 12% of associations.
CALD (cultural and linguistic diversity) people make up 39% of the population and 44% of the creative workforce. 82% are likely to attend an arts event vs 64% non-CALDs; 66% creatively participate vs 38%; and 16% have leadership positions vs 55%.
18% of the Australian population live with disability. 9% of artists identify with disability or impairment, or view another way, 57% of the disability community actively makes and creates vs.69% of those without a disability.
Only 3% have leadership roles in organisations funded long term (multi- years) by the Australia Council. Artists with disability earn 42% less and are more likely to be unemployed. Only 5% of individuals get AC grants and 3% of associations with people with disability as their demographic.
11% of people who identify themselves as LGBTIQ+ make up the Australian population. They only account for 13% of applicants who successfully get AC grants.
51% of Australians are women, and there are more women artists: 46% than men 44%. Attendance of arts and culture has reached gender parity at 68%.
48% of people employed in the cultural and creative workforce are women compared to 47% of the Australian workforce overall.
55% have leadership positions in organisations funded multi-year by the AC. But less than 1% are held by people who identify as either gender non-binary/fluid or a gender different from sex recorded at birth.
Women artists earn 30% less for creative work and 25% less overall.
14% of the cultural and creative workforce live in regional or remote Australia compared to 27% of the Australian workforce overall. 27% of artists live outside of capital cities and 22% of leadership roles are held by people who live in regional or remote areas.
In the 15-24 year age group (20% of the population), 83% attend art events (vs general population at 68%); 91% recognise the positive impacts of arts and creativity in our lives and communities; 66% creatively participate in the arts; and 40% give time or money to the arts.
Older Australians have less time for the arts. Only 8% of the cultural and creative workforce are aged 60 years. Only one in five of artists (18%) are aged 65 and over.
51% of those aged over 65 attend the arts; only 32% creatively participate; and 66% visit cultural venues or events.
Read the biggest headlines from last fortnight here.