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What do you think of the current state of Australian music | answers for BIGSOUND 2013

What do you think of the current state of Australian music | answers for BIGSOUND 2013
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I was recently commissioned to write an article for The Guardian (Australia) around this week’s BIGSOUND music industry convention in Brisbane. So a whole slew of interviews from the participants ensued, many of which weren’t used in the final copy.

Rather than let their words and time go to waste, I thought I’d print the full response here.

Amanda Palmer 
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
The Australian music scene seems to be alive and well and kicking from the impressions I’ve had while touring here. I’ve made a lot of friends who have taken easily to crowd-funding, I think there’s something in the oz mentality, unlike the Europeans, who see it as totally kosher to go direct to their mates and family for support. It’s in the blood.

What needs to change?
Well, Australia is also the land of the tall poppy syndrome. So I think like many other places, musicians need to get over the fear of scarcity, and the fear that if “someone else is doing well, there’s less for me”. That’s a general problem endemic to the whole music scene, unfortunately. I imagine Australia is no different, and from what I’ve heard from my oz friends, success is usually scoffed at, and the successful wind up being rejected. Which is sad.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s relationship with music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
How many hours have you got? The internet has completely changed how I make music, how I communicate, and how I tour. It’s nice to have come up in the space of time that was immediately pre-internet-gone-wild, around 2000-2003, when not everybody had an email yet. Our rehearsal breaks were spent burning CDs and stealing the MIT Xerox machine key to make flyers. There was no community on the internet to go to. And now, everything’s different. Bands spend time cranking on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr instead. Not good or bad, but certainly different. And it’ll change again, doubtless.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I hope that people can remember that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. If there isn’t some joy to be had in the music, and in each other, then we’ve gathered for no reason. I hope at least 34% of the people attending get laid by someone unexpected.

Darren Levin, editor-in-chief Mess+Noise/FasterLouder
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
It’s pretty healthy when it’s not being stymied by draconian laws, overzealous regulators, gentrification, developers, venue closures and wowserism. We’ve got world beaters in Gotye, Tame Impala, Flume and Cut Copy, who’ve never had to compromise what they do to breakthrough internationally. We’ve got more middle-of-the-road indie bands than Brooklyn and Portland combined. We’ve got thriving metal, electronic and hip-hop scenes, and the stuff on the margins is diffuse and progressive and really interesting (but it’s always been). We seek validation and approval from British and US tastemakers, but we’re comfortable telling our own histories without getting bogged down by the cultural cringe. Sadly, it’s still very difficult to carve out a sustainable career here, but that seems to be a global problem, rather than something uniquely Australian.

What needs to change?
Any industry with only a couple cultural gatekeepers (triple j and festival promoters) runs the risk of becoming samey and homogeneous, and at times we really straddle that line. We need more financial support for community radio and independent labels like Mistletone, R.I.P Society, Bedroom Suck and Chapter. We need protection for established venues from inner-city developments. But most of all there needs to be respect at all levels of government for an industry that contributes so much to Australia’s economy and cultural standing. The Australian Sports Commission gets $1.2-billion while shock jocks jump up and down about a recent 500k government grant. What’s fair about that?

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
Staying away from the whole piracy debate which is boring and about a decade old, the internet has democratised the creation and distribution of music to the point of over-saturation. It’s becoming harder and harder to sift through the crap, which is why the public is still so beholden to cultural gatekeepers like triple j and community radio, respected blogs and critics (which in Australia are few and far between), algorithmic filters and playlists. How has it changed me? I’ve stopped buying CDs, got an Rdio account and spend all my money on vinyl. I’ve never listened to so much music before, and it’s great. Put simply, without the internet I wouldn’t have a job.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I hope these conversations play out informally, drunkenly and passionately at BIGSOUND. The conference part is great (if you’re into that sort of thing), but getting the entire industry together in a place outside Melbourne and Sydney – which, for better or worse, still dominate the conversation – is the real value in a conference like this. Plus the chance to see some bands I may’ve missed this year.

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Darren Middleton, Powderfinger
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think we are producing some of the best music you can get your hands on these days. The number of bands, artists and producers has at least tripled to when Powderfinger were starting out and I have to say I am stunned at some of the stuff I’ve been hearing out of my car speakers… amazing. Radio support also is strong, JJJ have offered a lot of support to Australian groups in particular.

What needs to change?
Well, the main thing for our bands is that the venues remain open for them to play in. It’s one thing to make a beautifully produced recording, in fact, that’s the easy part… but the key to music is the songwriting and then the live performance. The live arena is still the place where songs and a person’s skills are really tested, so what I would like to see change is the push by developers to close our live venues, or build apartments in entertainment designated zones. We need to keep these places open and alive.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
It’s been a boon and the bane of musicians’ existences over the last eight years. Early on, there was a rough transition period as record companies struggled to adapt to the new formats of musical distribution, causing confusion and frustration to its signed artists. With increased access came increased piracy of music, which benefits neither band nor business. Personally, it’s been a very interesting learning curve as I am releasing an album independently, and utilising the internet for much of it… the work load of releasing an album has not decreased, just a different text book to learn.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
To catch a whole lot of other music makers and have a great gig myself. It’s been while since I’ve been on stage, and I’m both a smidge nervous and incredibly excited about it. BIGSOUND is the SXSW of Australia, it’s considered an industry event, but in reality, it’s more like a two-day party with great music the whole time. It has established itself now in Australian band music planning… it’s an event for both new and established bands to get together, in a relaxed environment, play music and catch a few seminars to learn about the other aspects of their business… the trick is to stay lucid enough to soak it all in!

Clubfeet
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
It’s Awesome! There’s just such a diverse range of music and creative talent bubbling out of Australia. Apart from the big Oz names which have smashed the international stage in the past few years we’re really spoiled for choice with local music talent.

What needs to change?
Why change anything? The music industry will continue to evolve at a heady pace running off its own beautifully neurotic steam. Anyone caught lamenting what was or how if some necessary condition were met then music-making would be better/easier is missing out on the massive opportunities open to all artists regardless of their station. Adaptation is everything now.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
The internet is kinda like the good new step dad, suddenly thrust upon your life, embracing your mum (music) and keen to make an impression – winning you over with a laconic ‘here when you need me’ vibe, bowling offies at you in the nets and recco’ing nips of Taliskers before the date mum said you couldn’t go on. He gives you stuff you never had before, promises even more and yet you feel strangely enamoured to the shit dad you had before, maybe not his ways, but his authenticity.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
It’s a great way to meet/see other bands or otherwise just reconnect and high five. The Oz industry is comparatively small to O/S scenes so it’s always nice to restock the love and support for other artists and of course the industry peeps busting their guts around them. We hope to make big party.

Josh Buchanan
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
There are less barriers to entry for a new artist these days – so anyone can purchase a MacBook and make a song, which is great. But on the other hand it makes it harder to stand out, purely because of the sheer volume of new music available. That kind of scenario naturally lifts everyone’s game and forces you to push the envelope musically, but it can also be disheartening when you work on a track for six months and because of the amount of new music coming out you only get a few weeks of airplay. I think the problem in Australia is unless you are on a talent show or land an incredible synch, your only platform as an artist is radio, and radio is currently buckling under the pressure of the amount of new music they’re being serviced weekly.

What needs to change?
I think a second Triple J FM channel could help – the digital Triple J Unearthed channel is certainly a step in the right direction, perhaps not enough. Austereo had their Radar show which they started broadcasting on their FM channels, which was great for new artists but it ultimately fell apart because of ratings. These things take time to build, and fans want to engage in a platform that they feel is credible and cool. They don’t want to be embarrassed to talk about where they discovered new music. So the challenge in building a new station or a new platform is to have the courage to wait until your audience naturally gravitates towards it and not to buckle in the interim under the pressure of a board who are concerned about an initial struggle in the ratings. Commercial FM stations could afford to place Australian music in prime time and not just meet their quota between the hours of 12-3am. I think if they took that leap of faith they’d actually find their youth demographic would be more receptive to it than perhaps they think.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
We absolutely rely on the internet as a band. Our fan base was built predominantly online and so I couldn’t convey the importance of the internet enough for a fledgling artist. That said, streaming services like Spotify, which until very recently I’d been a huge proponent of, have absolutely eaten out of our album sales. I released Buchanan’s album on my own label which involved a significant investment on my own part and our model for recoupment was based on very tight margins which were ultimately undermined by the popularity of the album on streaming services. On the one hand I’m grateful that anyone’s listening at all, but on the other hand you have to sit back and go, “how can you fathom recording a follow up if people are loving your works but no longer have the mindset of purchasing it?” It’s a very tricky business.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
We’re just happy to have the opportunity and the exposure. As an international music conference it’s only getting bigger each year and as we transition from promoting our album here in Australia to overseas it’s the perfect transition moment for us to start getting our name out there, beyond Australian borders.

Alex, Bleeding Knees Club
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think it’s growing and there are heaps of new bands which is awesome! Kids are realising that they don’t need to shred on guitar or be musically trained to start a band and have fun.

What needs to change?
Bands need to lose their egos and get rid of this Tall Poppy syndrome. Be happy for other bands who are doing well don’t try bring them down. Also all this hype on DJs needs to go. Don’t pay $20 to see a kid standing behind a dinner table with his mum’s tablecloth over it playing some CDs. Get your sister to bring her laptop to dinner and you’ll get the same thing for free. You should go pay to see some spastic kids play their guitars and mosh and get drunk with your friends. That to me sounds like way more value for money.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
I think it’s really cool but also real bad. Good because it’s so easy to show thousands of people your music really quickly and easily, and you can get feedback on what you’re doing easily which is cool. Oh and it’s great to find new music. BUT it sucks because now everyone is putting their stuff on the internet and there is so much shit that it’s hard to find the good stuff. And obviously it sucks because no one buys music any more because of it which means everyone in a band is poor. If you like a band enough just go buy their record! It’s like two hours of working at Maccas and your get endless plays of the record AND you’ve helped out the band get lunch on tour or something.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I just hope our show is packed and really fun. I hope it’s not just full of industry people in suites judging us. Actually it would be cool to see old men in suits crowd-surfing and pouring beer on their heads. As for what it plays in the industry I really don’t know. Every year I go it just seems like a place for all these music industry types to wank off over each other and drink beer and talk shit. I’ve never really seen much business go down. But who cares? It brings heaps of bands to Brisbane and it’s a good time so that’s all cool with me.

Nick Findlay, triple j
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
The Australian music scene is in a real healthy state right now – bands are getting a lot of local and international exposure, punters are actively seeking out new local talent (as well as wanting to interact with them) and despite the digital age we live in, record sales seem to be pretty healthy. It’s great to see that in the past five years the majority of requests coming into triple j from listeners are for fresh Australian music, and that they’re really keen to “own” these artists as something to treasure.

What needs to change?
Live music venues are always in need of a helping hand, and despite the recent mass public outcry to venues shutting down and the like, they still seem to be in a difficult position. Saying that, it’s something that is obviously getting better, but small to medium venues still seem to be lacking (at least in Sydney, that is). Less red tape, as well as more enthusiasm from local punters to see gigs mid week, will no doubt help out on this level.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
I am always shocked when I hear people in the industry talk about the internet having a negative effect on music, when all I see is it advancing music in so many ways. Not only has it liberated and empowered artists to do things more independently, it has given consumers easier ways to find their new favourite band and communicate directly with them. Professionally I scour through a heap of music daily, but whereas years ago most of that would have been serviced directly to me or found through live gigs and social groups, now a lot of it comes organically through blogs, social media, streaming services, etc.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
There are two things I enjoy most about Bigsound; firstly getting to watch an incredible amount of great live music, and secondly to meet with artists and managers on a one on one level, to hear what they’re up to, discover new music, and dispel any myths in regards to servicing music to triple j. As the country’s largest music radio station, people can often feel like they need to jump through hoops in order for us to hear their music, when in reality all you need to do is say hi!

Mark Wilson, Warner Music (ex-Jet)
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think the current state of Australian music good, however I feel like we need to be championing the kooks and weirdos more. On a broad level we seem to lean towards the vapid with no sense of sex or danger. Nice is nice, but it’s not for me.

What needs to change?
I would hope that we can move towards showing the same respect and admiration for a local acts as we do for international acts.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
On a personal level I guess it’s affected the way I buy music. Tend to buy downloads and vinyl. In my personal music experience the CD is dead. On a professional level it is both an overwhelming and significant tool. I can hear if a band can write a ‘tune’ after only hearing about them two minutes before.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
My hopes are to be turned onto some compelling interesting music that I’ve not heard. I think anything that brings the wider music community together is a positive one.

Tim Nelson, Cub Scouts
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think it’s really good, there are lots of genuinely talented artists and bands getting the credit they deserve.

What needs to change?
It’s hard to make an income as an independent musician – a big problem for a lot of musicians is illegally downloaded music. I think that people need to be really supportive of bands they like and get a ticket to see them live.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
The Internet and social media give bands an opportunity to constantly interact with fans. I think it’s a good thing, being able to connect with fans on a more personal level means they’ll connect more with your music. It does mean I’m on my phone as much as possible though, which is probably annoying for my friends in real life.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
BIGSOUND is a really good opportuntiy for bands to showcase and network. Last year when we played it for the first time, we were still self-managed and had to make a lot of connections for ourselves, so it was a great chance to have meetings with people we’d been emailing for a while, and we also got to make some helpful new friends. When you play at an event like BIGSOUND, the audience will often be full of people that can help you out a lot, which is exciting but can be daunting if you over think it. This year we hope to continue making new connections. We’re planning on releasing the Paradise EP in the US and the UK later this year, so we’ll be looking to keep building our team for these overseas endeavours.

Mathew Coyte, editor-in-chief Rolling Stone 
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
Australian music is entering a golden phase. There are a number of bands at a point where they’re ready to compete on an international level and their inevitable success will only strengthen the perception that Australian bands are punching above their weight.

What needs to change?
We need to be more selective in what we promote overseas. It only takes everyone getting behind a dud band to ruin the credibility of Aussie tastemakers. Some bands get a leg-up purely because they’re nice people, and that’s where the danger lies.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
Professionally, at Rolling Stone, we pretend to some degree that it is removed from what we’ve done for the last 40 years. But realistically, it’s had a huge effect. Mostly in that it has created a lot of white noise about bands and requires a lot more sifting through to find the stuff that is actually worth listening to.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I hope that people see the value in BigSound and just don’t think of it as a free holiday in the sun. You can actually see the next big thing at BigSound. I saw the Temper Trap for the first time at BS, Kirin J Callinan, Abbe May and a whole bunch of other artists who’ve gone on to make impressive records.

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George Sheppard
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think it’s amazing! There are so many talented exciting bands and musicians making fantastic music all around the country at the moment. Just take a listen to The Griswolds, Hey Geronimo and Lime Cordiale for example. Australia is blessed with a lot of talented musicians. I just wish more of them were able to get their music out there. There doesn’t seem to be enough opportunities for great Aussie bands to have their music discovered. Australian bands that have the potential of becoming commercially successful on a global basis, and those which do in fact break through overseas, often struggle to get exposure in their home country, which is unfair. There is so much great Australian music out there you would think it would have more acceptance here where it originated. I would encourage all those fantastic songwriters and bands/singers to keep at it and persevere, and I would encourage all media outlets to give Aussie music a fair go.

Our band Sheppard was lucky enough to break through onto nation-wide commercial radio as a relatively unknown, independent band. We wouldn’t have been able to do it if the music programmers at Nova and Austereo hadn’t decided to take a risk and give us a spin. All credit to them for doing so. I hope it’s the start of a very important shift in airplay policy, where commercial radio stations will take a few more risks and give good local bands a chance.

What needs to change?
There needs to be a type of affirmative action at radio stations in favour of current local bands to give them more airplay. There might also be an increase to how much local music Australian radio stations are obliged to play. That way, commercial radio stations won’t just keep playing what’s dictated by the tastemakers overseas – instead, we can all work together to develop our own thriving original music culture here in Australia which can then make a more credible showing in the overseas markets.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
I think the internet has been a HUGE step for the music industry. Although piracy has been a major issue, it’s much easier now than ever for a band to get their music into the public domain and heard. All you have to do is send a link, click a button, and your song can be played instantly be anywhere in the world. YouTube in particular has been revolutionary, and has become somewhat into an industry of it’s own with musicians, actors, comedians and other artists developing their own YouTube following, sometimes in the millions of people. I can’t wait to see what other revolutionary tools the internet will bring to the creative side of our lives. Our management has encouraged us to explore and exploit these resources as much as possible, particularly on social media platforms. Check it out!: #wearesheppard

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I’m extremely excited about BIGSOUND. I think it’s a fantastic platform for up and coming Australian bands to showcase their talents to the right people. Thanks to the organisers, we have a chance to take our music, our performance and our careers to the next level. My main hope is that everyone who comes to watch our show has an amazing time, and to prove that an independent commercial Australian band can have great songs, great musicianship, and great energy!

Georgina Ingham-Myers, NOVA music director
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think Australian music is great and something to be proud of. So many Aussie artists are finding success overseas as well as at home, this wouldn’t happen unless we were producing quality music.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
Thanks to the internet, music is at our fingertips. Not only can we download songs but we can watch video clips, preview songs and find out exactly what the artists are up to. Personally I love it, I can get what I want when I want. Professionally I also think it’s very handy. I use Facebook, twitter and Instagram to give me a sense of what music people are into. And the iTunes chart is great, it’s an up-to-date easy way to see what songs people are buying.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I hope everyone comes away from Big Sound having learnt or experienced something new. It might be an idea, a new sound or an awesome band that you hadn’t come across before. I think Big Sound plays an important role in our industry. There aren’t too many times in a year where like-minded music lovers come together to discuss the big issues that shape our industry. The music industry is forever changing and evolving so we need Big Sound help to help us stay on top of it.

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Thelma Plum
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I had an amazing year being involved in Australian music and being a part of it. Getting to meet so many of my favourite musicians and songwriters, who have influenced my love of music. It has been really encouraging.

What needs to change?
Touring and playing so many venues has made me realise sometimes the challenge of getting to people to learn to listen. Australia has such a culture of live music and going out that audiences sometimes take it for granted, I hear this is very different culturally in Europe and the UK.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
Since the time I started making music I have always had access to the Internet. It has been an important way for me to reach out and connect with other artists and fans. It could have made me a little antisocial as I am totally addicted to Instagram.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
My main hope this year is to connect with lots of nice people from all over the world and discover lots of new artists that I haven’t seen play live yet. It is also the biggest party of the year!!

Michael Chugg, Chugg Entertainment
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I BELIEVE THE CURRENT STATE OF AUSTRALIA MUSIC HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN AS MANY BANDS EVER AT ONE TIME THAT HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BREAK THRU INTERNATIONALLY CERTAINLY MANY INDUSTRY PEOPLE OVERSEAS ARE SAYING THAT THE BEST MUSIC IS COMING OUT OF AUSTRALIA & NZ & HAS FOR A WHILE. EVERYONE IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE IS LOOKING AT OUR TALENT & AFTER 1 YEAR OF CHUGG MUSIC WE HAVE ALL OUR 5 ACTS MAKING MASSIVE INROADS

What needs to change?
I THINK MAINSTREAM RADIO CAN DO MORE TO FOSTER THE NEW BANDS, IT WOULD BE GOOD TO SEE TRIPLE J BE MORE OPEN TO A LOT OF MUSIC HOPEFULLY THE NEW GOVERNMENT WILL EXPAND & INCREASE THE SUPPORT OUR BANDS GOING OVERSEAS WHICH HAS CERTAINLY IMPROVED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS SOUNDS AUSTRALIA ARE BECOMING A VERY POWERFUL & HIGHLY RESPECTED BODY ALL OVER THE WORLD & I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE FUNDING INCREASE A LOT AS THEY ARE REALLY OPENING DOORS

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
THE INTERNET HAS CHANGED THE MUSIC MODEL IT HAS ENABLED YOUNG MUSICIANS TO GET THERE MUSIC OUT TO THE WORLD & THRU THE MANY PLATFORMS STILL EVOLVING MUSIC IS SO ACCESSABLE TO THE PUBLIC WORLD WIDE. ITS VERY EXCITING TO LOOK AT A RECENT LIME CORDIALE SALES STATEMENT & SEE DOWN LOADS & STREAMING SALES ACROSS 15- 20 COUNTRIES WHICH IS FANTASTIC FOR A YOUNG BAND THAT HAS NOT LEFT THE SHORES YET THE SOCIAL NETWORKS HAVE PUT ARTISTS & FANS IN TOTAL CONTACT LIKE NEVER BEFORE. THE MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES & EXCITING PROJECTS ARE ENDLESS TO LOOK AT A YOUNFG INDIE ACT LIKE SHEPPARD & TO SEE SALES IN AUSTRALIA & MANY INTERNATIONAL TERRITORIES QUICKLY EDGING TOWARDS 300,000 IS SO EXCITING I SEE ABIG YEAR AHEAD FOR A LOT OF OZ ACTS INCLUDING OUR STABLE, THE ONES TOUCH ON HERE AS WELL DEEP SEA ARCADE WHO HAVE JUST RETURNED FROM A VERY SUCCESSFUL EUROPEAN & UK SOJOURN, HEY GERONIMO WHO ARE ATTRACTING MUCH INTEREST & OF COURSE THE GRISWOLDS WHO HAVE A BIG BUZZ GOING & A WORLD WIDE DEAL & WILL BE RECORDING AN ALBUM SOON IN NY

FROM MY OUR TOURING POINT OF VIEW IT HAS WORKED IN REVERSE , MY TEAM HAVE DISCOVERED UNKNOWN EUROPEAN & US ACTS THRU TRAWLING THE WEB & THE LIST OF NEW CLIENTS IS EVERY EXPANDING

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
IN THE LAST 3-4 YEARS BIG SOUND IS QUICKLY BECOMING A MAJOR SHOWCASE CONFERENCE THAT STANDS SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE BIGGEST NORTHERN HEMISPHERE EVENTS & I KNOW IT WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO THE AMAZING QUALITY OF INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS & DELEGATES IS GROWING EVERY YEAR & THE DEALS & RELATIONSHIPS THAT HAVE BEEN STARTED AT BIGSOUND WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE & I BELIEVE IT HAS MADE MORE MORE OZ INDUSTRY PEOPLE REALISE THEY CAN PLAY ON THE WORLD STAGE

IT’S AN EXCITING TIME FOR AUSTRALIA & THE CHUGG TEAM IS PROUD TO BE A PART OF IT

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Stephen Halpin, Groovin The Moo director
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
Australian music is in great shape with so many new and exciting acts emerging. I always find it fascinating at festivals that crowds for Australian acts are so massive, and nobody seems to notice. A lot of attention is paid to visiting internationals, which I understand as they tend to provide an exotic story. But recent festival crowds for acts like Flume, Chet Faker, Tame Impala, Seth Sentry, 360, Vance Joy, Rubens, etc, tend to be much bigger than internationals.

What needs to change?
I don’t know of anything specifically that needs to change. The industry is going through a period of massive change worldwide, so we just have to try to keep up. If something needs to change, if feel it will change organically.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)?
Personally, the internet has been overwhelmingly positive. Having access to so much music via spotify, youtube, soundcloud, etc means there is always something new and interesting to discover. It has definitely broadened my musical horizon. Professionally, it has changed how we program the festival. In the earlier years the focus was to book established ‘headliner’ type acts. But with so many bands emerging and getting popular very quickly, it has become more important to book these fresh and exciting new acts on the lineup.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
I hope it continues to grow and receive strong support from the music industry. Obviously it’s a wonderful showcase of new Australian artists, but I feel its main role is to provide an opportunity to meet and network with people from all parts of the Australian music industry.

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Basil Cook, ABC + Four/Four
What do you think of the current state of Australian music?
I think music in Australia is in a very healthy state. We are very lucky to have some amazingly diverse bands, artists and producers on our own doorstep. From the lofty heights of someone like Gotye claiming a number one song in the USA, Tame Impala being fan voted as number in the UK NME, through to the amazing success Gurrumul has enjoyed or the numerous sold out shows a punk band like The Smith Street Band from Melbourne can do through a solid hard work ethic. We are very lucky to have the music we do have in Australia.

What needs to change?
We need to support our own bands and artists and celebrate the music that is created here. It is a sad state of affairs when a huge festival like Soundwave ignores to support local bands on the line-up. Similarly, it is hard to watch bands choose to go overseas to work with producers when we have some much amazing talent on our own shores.

What are your thoughts on the internet’s effect on music, and how has it changed you (personally and professionally)? 
The internet has been amazing for music in general. Discoverability of new acts is so easy and the power of word of mouth online is amazing. At times the industry has struggled to keep up with certain technology advances, but overall it can be such a powerful and positive force for the industry also. Personally, I discover news bands daily and for me and my friends to share this new music with each other so easily is incredible.

What is your main hope for BIGSOUND, and what role do you think it plays in the industry?
My main hope for BigSound is to meet Billy Bragg!! Haha, but other than that I love BigSound every year to really get together with some amazing people from the industry, celebrate music, and get to watch some incredible live bands. Can’t wait!

One Response to What do you think of the current state of Australian music | answers for BIGSOUND 2013

  1. SmallBear PhysicalActivity September 12, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Thankyou so much for putting these up. Some real food for thought. I hope the amounts of glowing positivity keep oozing from Australian music forever. Yeah.

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