SOS presents: An Aussie music lover’s guide to festival season

With the cancellations of this year’s Harvest and Homebake festivals (among others), you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s not a lot going on this summer. Think again. 

Here’s a few festivals that have some fine Aussie talent on display. We’ve got you covered from December right through until March. Click on the links for full lineups and festival info.

The Plot
-  When/where: December 14 @ Big Top Luna Park, Sydney; December 15 @ Palace Theatre/Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Miami Horror, Alison Wonderland, Touch Sensitive, Wave Racer, Hayden James, Indian Summer, Gold Fields and way, way more (full lineup)

 

Paradise Music (All-Aussie Lineup)
- When/where: Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Lake Mountain, Victoria
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Glass Towers, Elizabeth Rose, Millions, Oisima, Naysayer & Gilsun, Client Liaison, Friendships, I’lls, Animaux

 

Meredith Music Festival
- When/where: Dec. 13-15, Meredith, Victoria
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes, Vance Joy, The Bamboos, Spiderbait, Hermitude, Word’s End Press, Courtney Barnett, Stone Field and more.

 

Woodford Folk Festival
- When/where: Dec. 27 – Jan. 1, Woodford, Queensland
- Awesome Aussie Acts: The Basics, Busby Marou, Chance Waters, Darren Hanlon, Claire Bowditch, Matt Corby, Hey Geronimo, Gangajang, CourThe Bombay Royale and heaps more

 

Falls Festival
- When/where: Dec. 29 – Jan. 1, Marion Bay; Dec. 28-Jan. 1, Lorne; Dec. 31 – Jan 3, Byron Bay
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Big Scary, The Cat Empire, Flight Facilities, Chet Faker, Oliver Tank, The Paper Kites, Pond, The Preatures, The Rubens, Thundamentals, Violent Soho and heaps more.

 

Field Day
- When/where: January 1 @ The Domain, Sydney
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Flume, Ta-Ku, Panama, Flight Facilities, Hermitude, What So Not, Elizabeth Rose and more.

 

Big Day Out
- When/where: Jan. 19, Gold Coast; Jan. 24, Melbourne; Jan. 26, Sydney; Jan 31, Adelaide; Feb. 2, Perth
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Tame Impala, Flume, Rufus, Pez, DZ Deathrays, Peking Duk

 

Laneway Festival
- When/where: Jan. 31st, Brisbane; Feb. 1st, Melbourne; Feb. 2nd, Sydney; Feb. 7th, Adelaide; Feb. 8th, Fremantle
- Awesome Aussie Acts: Adalita, Cloud Control, Vance Joy, The Jezabels, The Growl, Dick Diver, Jagwar Ma, Kirin J Callinan, Scenic and more.

 

Golden Plains Festival
- When/where: March 8-10, Meredith, Victoria
- Awesome Aussie Acts: You Am I, Cut Copy, Chet Faker, Adalita, Seekae, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Hiatus Kaiyote and stacks more.

 

So where are you headed this summer? And who are you psyched to see? As always, let us know below.

Spotify: Helping or harming the music industry?

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So the other day, I was chatting to a friend of mine who happens to run a pretty big-name Australian indie label (yes, a nameless-namedrop). Anyway, at one point, Spotify’s recent third birthday came up in conversation. And it seems she wasn’t joining in the celebration.

As it turns out, one of her artists just released their debut record. Yet, despite a successful launch event, wide acclaim and solid airplay on FBi and triple j, you could count the number of album sales on one hand. No, literally.

As my friend explained, streaming services such as Spotify are really hurting music sales. And there are a few big names that share her displeasure.

After pulling all of his own records from Spotify, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke had this to say about the service:

“When we did the In Rainbows thing what was most exciting was the idea you could have a direct connection between you as a musician and your audience. You cut all of it out, it’s just that and that. And then all these fuckers get in a way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. We don’t need you to do it.”

Yorke’s distaste for Spotify stems from the measly royalties paid to artists when their music is streamed for free. As Sound and Vision’s Geoffrey Morrison explains: “My friend Phil is in the band Just Off Turner… He shared with me the band’s singles and albums sales data. He asked me not to give specific dollar amounts, but percentages tell the story just the same.

“Over the period of time he showed me, Just Off Turner sold just shy of 9,000 tracks on iTunes. In the same span of time, they streamed 5,000 tracks on Spotify. The Spotify income was 0.2% of the iTunes income. Zero. Point. Two. Percent.”

But how do they get away with it?

Well, a few years ago, Spotify struck up a deal with the four major record labels: Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music. Each of them signed, assuming that new release sales wouldn’t be effected, whilst their back catalogue (which no longer sold) could generate money through streaming. As such indie labels have since been forced to follow suit in order to compete.

So do you use Spotify? And what do you think of it? Let us know below.

Should our digital radio stations be forced to play Australian music?

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Last week, I touched on the history of Australian content quotas in radio broadcasting. But with new technologies come new regulatory challenges. Enter digital radio.

Back in 2010, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) exempted digital stations from any local content restrictions that apply to regular stations.

ACMA has seemingly ignored the pleas of the wider local music community, and waived the quota in the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice, meaning there’s no minimum required airtime for locally sourced music until 2014.

So why is this an issue?

Well, as FasterLouder’s Elmo Keep explains, the influence of commercial radio is manifold. If there’s only a small amount of Australian music played on the radio, then only so much will be popularised. The average listener’s tastes – and purchases – will reflect what is played on-air.

As such, the broadcast authority’s decision will inevitably have “serious repercussions for Australian artists and labels,” warns Nick O’Byrne, General Manager of the Association of Independent Record Labels (AIR).

“We know there is a direct link between sales and exposure from commercial broadcast,” adds O’Byrne, “and this ruling has the potential to damage the financial viability of the Australian music industry significantly.”

However, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) sees things a little differently, arguing that the decision was necessary for the survival of locally-produced Digital Radio. So essentially, they’re saying the listener’s don’t want to hear Australian music, and they’re just giving the public what they want.

CRA also suggests that it will “encourage diversity” on the airwaves. Yes, apparently being forced to devote six out of every hundred songs to new Australian music would’ve really threatened the diversity of music on our radio.

So are you buying it? Tell us what you think below.

Ten Tracks Tuesdays: Mixtape 5

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We’re back with the only thing that’s good about Tuesdays: a brand new mixtape!

This week features more swoon-worthy sounds from Dustin Tebutt and Oscar Key Sung, as well a juicy remix by Fishing (I’m a big fan of anything those boys put out, especially if they’re rapping on it).

Also on the playlist is the new one from Cut Copy - soon to deliver one my this years most anticipated dance releases.

So have a listen, have a dance, and tell us what you think!

Nick

Australian radio quotas: how did we get here?

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A few weeks back, I wrote about the need to support local content on Australian radio – commercial stations are currently required to devote just 6.25% of airtime to new Aussie music. But how did we get to these quotas? Allow me to give you a quick run-through.

- According to ASONG, Australia’s first local content standard was introduced in 1942, as part of Broadcasting Act. The Act required broadcasters to devote at least 2.5% of played content to Australian composers.
- This was doubled to 5% in 1956.
- However, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board announced a secondary quota for music performed by Australians in 1973.
- Such was initially set at 10%, but was subsequently increased to 20% in 1976.
- A 1987 Board review changed the compliance period for these requirements from 24 hours a day, to solely between the hours of 6am and midnight.
- The 20% level remained until 1992, when the Broadcasting Services Act made local content part of a self-regulatory code
- Today, commercial and community broadcasters are required to play at least 25% local content, but only a quarter of that has to have been released in the last 12 months
- This leaves us with that lovely little number of 6.25%

This doesn’t sound like a lot, but how does it compare to other countries who’ve introduced radio quotas?

- In Canada, at least 35% of broadcasted popular music must be local
- In South Africa, it’s 20% between 5am and 11pm
- Four local compositions must be played per hour in The Phillipines
- In Uruguay, stations must play at least 30% local music
- This stretches to 80% for stations in Nigeria

So what do you think? Are our stations doing enough to support Australian artists? Tell us in the comments below.

Ten Tracks Tuesdays: Mixtape 4

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Here’s your weekly fix of ten sweet-sounding Aussie tunes.

This time around we’ve got new stuff from SOS favourites Kilter and Straight Arrows, as well as the soothing sounds of boatfriends and Snakadaktal (as remixed by Sydney duo Cosmo’s Midnight), and killer beats from Yahtzel, Emoh Instead and TDY.

Once again, take a listen and show some love if you’re feeling it.

Nick

Ten Tracks Tuesdays: Mixtape 3

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How was everyone’s weekend? Good? Good.

Well we’re back to cure those early-week blues with ten more tunes that we think are pretty damn nice. We’d love to hear what you think too!

This week features nu-disco cuts from Flex Cop, Midnight Pool Party and Kowl that are sure to get you dancing, as well as dreamy soundscapes from The Money Go Round and Pascal Babare.

Anyway, enough chit-chat. Take a listen, and as always, click through to buy/download/show some love.

Nick