Australia's AIR, ARIA In Bust-Up Over Date Clash
Australia's AIR, ARIA In Bust-Up Over Date Clash

An unfortunate date-clash could spark a war-of-words between organizers of Australia's flagship ARIA awards and its counterpart, the independent labels association AIR.

Today, labels body ARIA announced the nominations event for its 25th annual ARIA Awards ceremony would be revealed at a function next Wednesday, Oct. 12 in Sydney. But it's not a neutral date. Next Wednesday's function sees ARIA go head-to-head with AIR's previously-announced annual awards ceremony in Melbourne.

In fact, AIR made public the date for its own awards on Sept. 2, more than enough time for organizers of the ARIAs to mark their calendars accordingly. No doubt there's some red faces; embarrassed ones at ARIA, and angry dials at AIR.

Following today's announcement, execs at Melbourne-based AIR feel slighted that ARIA hasn't so much as stepped on its toes, but there's sense that the double-up may dilute the impact of the independent music industry's big night.

Certainly, the ARIAs nominations party could cannibalize the media coverage of AIR's function later that night.

Billboard.biz has learned that executives at AIR today issued a "please explain" email to the ARIAs' organizers.

"Like most people I know in the industry," explains AIR GM Nick O'Byrne, "I think the ARIAs are the Australian industry's most important night but I don't think they've done themselves or us any favours by potentially streamrolling our attempts to achieve more coverage for great Australian music." O'Byrne tells Billboard.biz, "The best case scenario is that we can draw attention to the stacks of great independent artists enjoying success at both the ARIA's and the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards."

By close of business, ARIA hadn't responded publicly. But a source close to ARIA says the overlap was "definitely unintentional."

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