Showing all posts tagged: Australian music

Only one in five Australian musicians earn a full time income

4 April 2024

The latest Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) survey of the pay and work conditions of Australian musicians makes for grim reading. In particular, the stand-out finding that half of local musos earned less than six thousand dollars last year.

Six thousand dollars.

The adult minimum annual wage in Australia, based on earnings of $882 per week, and assuming payment covers fifty-two weeks of the year, is a shade under forty-six thousand Australian dollars. Only twenty percent of musicians said they made a full time income from their work.

Many musicians needed to work several jobs, often perform at shows unpaid, and seldom receive superannuation payments. In 2022, the NSW Labor party promised to pass laws ensuring musicians performing at publicly funded events, receive a minimum payment of two-hundred-and-fifty dollars.

At least it’s a start, but I think the findings of the MEAA survey make it glaringly obvious: more support is needed for the performing arts in Australia.


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Book of Life, a memoir by Australian musician Deborah Conway

22 July 2023

Melbourne based Australian musician Deborah Conway has been writing and recording rock and pop music in her inimitable style for over four decades. Her hits include It’s Only the Beginning, Alive and Brilliant, and Will You Miss Me When You’re Sober? In 1992 Conway won an ARIA award in the best female artist category for her album, Strings of Pearls.

But Conway is more than a musician. Other claims to fame include a role in the John Clark made film Running On Empty, and some eye-catching work as a model. In October this year her memoir, Book of Life, will be published by Allan & Unwin. This is a title not only for fans of Conway, but anyone with an interest in Australian music history:

If you have listened to any of Deborah Conway’s songs and were half curious about the origins; if you have ever wondered whatever happened to that chick who covered herself in Nutella and was photographed shovelling cream cakes in to her mouth; if you gave a nanosecond of thought to whose bare arse adorned the giant Billboard ads for Bluegrass jeans in the 1980’s and how much someone could get paid to do that; if you liked Tracey Mann’s vocals in The Takeaways but asked yourself, “did she really sing them?”; if you were a movie buff who thought Running On Empty was a classic BEFORE it became a cult phenomenon and need behind the scenes gossip, now’s your chance to find out all this and so much more.


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Music streaming has filled the Australian charts with old songs

11 July 2023

TikTok has a lot to answer for. It has launched the careers of musicians who recording companies at first refused to blink sideways at, and revived the popularity of some acts who might be considered to have had their day. Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush, I’m looking at you.

But TikTok is not what ails the Australian music industry at present. It’s the lack of Australian material charting at the moment. Incredibly, so far this year, the Australian top fifty album charts have included more recordings solely by American singer Taylor Swift, than Australian acts combined.

Further, the majority of these Swift albums aren’t exactly new. Because how could an artist release numerous new albums simultaneously, that would all be of chart topping quality? Some of Swift’s albums were made years ago. Nonetheless, newer music by Australian artists has been edged out.

And it all comes down to streaming. While the music charts used to include the sales of records, cassettes, CDs, and digital downloads, they now include music that is streamed. Which seems to be old music. And is this creating the situation where much older music now features in the charts, to the detriment of Australian musicians struggling for recognition.


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Love & Pain, Ben Gillies, Chris Joannou tell their Silverchair story

4 July 2023

Love & Pain, by Silverchair's Ben Gillies, Chris Joannou, book cover

Book cover of Love & Pain, written by Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou.

Wednesday 27 September 2023 will be a red letter day for fans of erstwhile Australian indie rock act Silverchair. That’s the day Love & Pain, a book co-written by Ben Gillies, the band’s drummer, and bass player Chris Joannou, is set to be published by Hachette Australia. That Gillies and Joannou are behind this book is what makes it so compelling, as, to date, not a lot has been heard from former members about their time in the band.

So much has been written about Silverchair over the years but very little has been said by the band’s members. In Love & Pain, childhood friends Ben Gillies (drummer) and Chris Joannou (bass player) tell us tales about growing up across the road from each other and starting in Silverchair, wild stories from the peak of their days in the spotlight, and the ups and downs of how their lives have panned out since.


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2022 Hottest 100 music the worst to dance to in a decade

7 February 2023

An analysis of songs in Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown for 2022, which was aired on 28 January 2023, reveals them to among the worst to dance to in almost a decade, say Mark Doman, Katia Shatoba, and Thomas Brettell, writing for ABC News.

The same research shows 1995 to be the worst on record for Hottest 100 danceability, though a steady rise follows thereafter. This can likely be attributed to the greater presence of electronica and dance music in countdowns from the late nineties onwards, as those genres began to flourish.

The winning track — Flume’s Say Nothing, featuring MAY-A — was also the least-dancey track to win the countdown since Muse’s six-minute, prog rock epic Knights of Cydonia in 2007. Data also shows that the average tempo of the 2022 Hottest 100 was the second-fastest on record since counting began back in 1993.

At this stage the drop in Hottest 100 song danceability looks more like a blip. The long term trend shows a rise, even if 2022 danceability is markedly lower than the peak recorded in 2019.


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Flume, Hilltop Hoods, make their mark in 2022 Hottest 100

30 January 2023

Sydney DJ and electronic musician Flume topped the 2022 Triple J Hottest 100, with his track Say Nothing, a collaboration with Australian singer-songwriter MAY-A. It’s the second time a Flume track has reached number one in the Hottest 100, a feat matched only by defunct Brisbane rock band Powderfinger, over twenty years ago.

Meanwhile veteran Adelaide hop hop act Hilltop Hoods, made countdown history by notching their twenty-third entry in the music poll, with Show Business, which charted at number seventy-one. Previously Powderfinger, and American rockers Foo Fighters, had shared the record for the most Hottest 100 entries, with twenty-two tracks each.


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NSW Labor party to pay musicians $250 for live shows at publicly funded events

21 December 2022

Should they form government at the state election in March 2023, the NSW state Labor party will mandate a minimum payment of A$250 for musicians performing at any event or show in NSW that has received public, or government, funding.

The $250 flat fee will be a condition of a contract by a business or other entity that accepts a government grant for a show or event. While there is currently no guarantee that artists will receive a minimum fee for performing at events funded by public money in New South Wales, a Chris Minns-led government aims to change things.

This is a step in the right direction. A$250 may not be much, once musicians have deducted their various overheads, but it’s something. And worth far more than the trite line that artists doubtless hear often: “but performing (gratis) at our event will give you some great exposure.”

Heck, it’s even a line that’s been spun on me sometimes here at disassociated. Do I need/want exposure? Sure. But I also need income, to, you know, make a living.


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Spotify Wrapped 2022 into the genre-verse and Aussietronica

1 December 2022

The Replayer, a Spotify music listening personality type

Spotify Wrapped for 2022 has dropped, and once again the music streaming service is bamboozling listeners with custom genre definitions and statistics that apparently place some listeners into what appear to be elite music listening categories. And it also looks like we have listening personalities.

One of my top genres — in what Spotify now call the genre-verse, a nod to Mastodon’s fediverse perhaps — is a genre dubbed Aussietronica. To spare scrolling pages and pages of search engine results, I’m going to take a punt here, because it seems quite self-explanatory, and state the obvious: this is Australian made electronica. I’d simply call it electronica, but have to admit Aussietronica is kind of cute, and maybe saves us from having to say “Australian made electronica” all the time.

And for a moment I thought I was kind of special when Wrapped informed me I was among the top five percent of listeners of Sydney based, yeah, Aussietronica act RÜFÜS DU SOL. I played their 2021 track Alive on loop earlier this year as I was re-booting disassociated. But a glance at Twitter trending revealed I was anything but special. Some people are finding themselves in even more exclusive bands, such as, but not limited to, point zero five percent.

I also learned I have a listening personality. To be precise I have a listening personality type, just like you (allegedly) have a Myers–Briggs type. My listening personality type, according to Spotify is F T L U, being Familiarity Timelessness Loyalty Uniqueness. The Replayer, they call me. The F and the L are doubtless a result of the aforementioned looping of Alive.

Listening personalities, all be they a gimmick, are kind of cool though. In fact I’ll go out on a limb and declare the Spotify listening personalities might just be a little more scientific than the other type indicator. But Wrapped is, according the Wikipedia page, a viral marketing campaign, so it is doing its job, getting the interwebs excited, once again, about our music listening preferences and habits.



Sydney act 1300 wins Triple J/RAGE music video of 2022

28 November 2022

And before another Ausmusic month, and November for that matter, falls behind us… Western Sydney based Korean rap act 1300 have won the music video of the year for 2022, with their clip Oldboy in the 2022 J Awards. The video was directed by long-time collaborator Raghav Rampal.


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Vance Joy, Baker Boy, Archie Roach win at 2022 ARIAs

24 November 2022

Melbourne based Australian indie pop musician Vance Joy has won the Best Video award for his 2022 single Every Side of You, which was directed by William Bleakley, at Australian music’s night of nights, the ARIAs.

Meanwhile fellow Melbourne music act Baker Boy also known as Danzal Baker, picked up five ARIA awards, being Album of the Year, Best Hip Hop/Rap release, Best Solo Artist, Best Cover Art, and Best Mixed Album.

Other winners included Amyl and the Sniffers, who collected the Best Group and Best Rock Album, while late Indigenous singer and songwriter Archie Roach won the Best Independent Release award. A full list of winners is here .

Update: not sure how I missed this, but the Australian Chamber Orchestra also had an ARIAs win, being awarded Best Original Soundtrack, for their work on Australian made documentary River.


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