It's been a long time in between drinks for me and this site, a couple years. Popped my head in now and then. This is a can of worms I would like to open, and I think it could attain some healthy debate.
So... WHATS WRONG WITH THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY?
Industry is subjective, as I am more aiming towards the chart aspect of the industry. Here are things I think are wrong with the Australian Music Industry.
CHARTS Lets face it, since the introduction of Streaming into the ARIA Charts they have became very predictable and boring. We will know have an influx of songs that just wont go away. Chart runs are going to be monstrous for so many songs based purely on the fact they are in the Spotify charts and playlists that a vast majority of people will listen to instead of hunting out songs.
Take a step back in time and look when a song would be in the charts for over a year, it was amazing. Now with streaming, where the song doesn't technically have to sell a single copy to chart, we are going to see so many tracks outstay their welcome because people are listening to a formulated playlist.
One disadvantage streaming created was for Australian Acts. New artists, and even moderately charting artists will now struggle even more to find their place in the ARIA Charts. Spotify fails to give attention to Australian artists, emerging or relatively established and this will heavily effect chart fortunes and being able to say So-And-So had a huge hit with "Insert Title Here" when on paper the song barely hit the charts.
A recent example is this. Jessica Mauboy is STILL in the Itunes top 10 nearly two months after the songs release. Arguably her longest running top 10 selling song, yet the track has only hit #11 on the combined chart. A big hit no doubt, but this is a prime example of strong selling singles that really aren't lighting up the charts one way or another. The "End of Year" singles chart will assumably be sales only, so that will really be the best indicator of what songs were actually the high sellers.
Another issue I have with the ARIA Charts is that I would personally like to see radio airplay information be calculated into the main chart (Just like in the US). I think with Streaming having a strong impact, radio airplay would make a key point of difference in getting newer music more widespread recognition and notice. There are several songs I recall being airplay hits that were either denied charting, or never sold enough to chart.
Lily Allen's second album had two airplay hits with Back To The Start & Chinese both receiving widespread airplay in 2009/2010 yet neither made any impact on the charts, although they are undoubtedly airplay hits. The Veronicas and Gabriella Cilmi both had #11 airplay hits with Popular and Save The Lies in 2008, yet no chart fortunes (the latter was Physically released and obviously sold next to nothing).
If airplay was to be formulated into the main chart, I think there would be a nice balance and stop songs like Despacito staying so long at #1 after the initial hype is gone and it no longer relies on being featured in playlists to keep those streams. I believe that if you are going to formulate a chart based on more than just sales, it shouldnt be strictly streaming. Radio plays a big part in music consumption, and I believe that It should in some form at least be archived or tracked.
Record Labels are annoying, especially in commercial aspects. In regards to local Pop artists, the labels rely heavily on getting hit singles before moving forward with any album. This goes back for over 20 years. Just look at flops like Amy Pearson & Hayley Aitken who flopped before their albums were ultimately released. One thing I always noticed is Labels get dissapointed when albums dont sell too well, yet very little promotion happens after it's release.
An example is this. The Veronicas latest selt-titled album was a moderate seller, but all 3 singles were released before the album and none after. No wonder it fell off the map, right? Same pattern seems to be happening with their forthcoming one.
If albums were released shortly after lead singles the sales would more likely increase with subsequent single releases. Especially now with streaming taking over, album sales will dwindle even more and I personally think releasing them sooner rather than later couldn't hurt at all.
What do you guys think is wrong with the music industry locally?.
When was the last time you were in a Sanity only buying something for yourself? JB HiFi sure that is a huge market share but bricks and mortar stores are quickly following Blockbuster and Video Ezy. I humbly await ARIA doing a vinyl chart while also including second hand stores too. This can be put down to a number of factors the overwhelming majority of shift to digital and this algorithm culture the business world is quickly adopting in general, coming from this we have what I believe to be distorted singles charts and changes in how and what data is collected. Back in the Kent days there was direct contact with the store for numbers with only one singles chart, now we have how many singles charts? 10? 20? That is a good thing in general however there should definitely be more focus on the physical factor?
This lead me onto media and television here. I often wonder if rage would ever be cancelled. What could be considered "music television" like The Loop and SBS PopAsia are not a real wholistic representation of their intended audiences like how promotion of our culture to asian/international interests focus more on things like resources and sports which denies having a more defining imprint on the history of music in this country. Not to mention the other Australian television in general spinning more non-deserving overseas artists in comparison and respect to local content e.g. foxtel, MKR etc which overall is what you often see and come across and on the daily grind especially radio stations to drive particular influencing a bit far e.g. triple j nova fm all of them really. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payola
The live scene is obviously a good way of outperforming music sales and this is the way forward for Australia, should specialize music festivals for international benefit since tourism is spun as a major thing here already, climate change will take dollars away from investment in the arts in Australia due to greed from resource by private interests. We will domestically end up relying on international management and be a banana republic for Aus music in general. e.g. spotify hate, CBS acquisition etc am a graduate of music business and the asian market is totally where it is at I mean you guys have seen my charts, rationale can and has been adopted to markets like e.g. Japan (3rd biggest worldwide) and on "Nippon", a few of us know they have academies where employment is a given factor e.g. stage48 franchises and applying that here I think the derivative industries of music employment and hiring in general is quite low which denies domestic acts to really take off without just going to digital and saving the money and denies industry growth. Nikki Webster's dance school can only do so much in comparison!
It's funny bill, you mention Hayley Aitken she has gone on to become a prominent songwriter, another is Hayley Warner with only one Top 20 single to her name, lyric writing has always been a strong point for jobs and royalties is a good thing the PPCA APRA AMCOS do a great job and have a strong framework lets hope they can expand and take on new recruits.
As to songs that become culturally popular but denied as being a single, this is wrong but I think only since digital sales started being included before that I am indifferent as I believe it is just a case of promoting the album and seeing that bullet was nice (any examples?). Can we count on YouTube over ARIA as the official chart for Australian music content or vice versa? 2016 was the first year that I included a YouTube chart for my PEOY and I like the dilation in difference compared to what I actually ranked in the overall PEOY as YouTube is the 98% source of me finding out new music. Subscribe vs postal fan club, following an artist has become so easy but this is where Australian artists need to be able to thrive and train/mentor/work front of house and behind the scenes too. Last edited:
I just find it cheaper to stream on music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music than to spend $2.19 on a single song. It also doesn't help that even less songs are starting to be discounted in the Australian iTunes store.
It's also interesting that the streaming and digital sales Top 40 are starting to differentiate themselves.
I don't follow the current charts, and haven't really since the 90s, but my impression as an 'outsider' is that yes, they seem very stagnant now. But even worse than that, there seems to be little variation in music styles that make the top 20 (occasionally I catch a bit of it on rage). It's virtually wall to wall EDM, with heavily processed vocals on every track. Personally, I hate it. Plus it all sounds so cheap (and not in a good way).
Few charting artists these days seem to have 'star' quality, IMO. Who stands out as being different from the rest?
Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate it. Last edited: