The success of homegrown artists came into focus yesterday (Nov. 17) at the Australian Record Industry Assn.'s No. 1 Chart Awards in Sydney. The event throws the spotlight on Aussie acts who topped th

The success of homegrown artists came into focus yesterday (Nov. 17) at the Australian Record Industry Assn.'s No. 1 Chart Awards in Sydney. The event throws the spotlight on Aussie acts who topped the trade body's albums, singles or DVD charts between Aug. 9, 2004 and Nov. 14, 2005. In total, 30 Aussie releases reached the peak of the national charts.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia acts accounted for eight of 22 individual award winners. "That most of this success came after the Sony and BMG merger is a great reflection of the company," Sony BMG Australia chairman/CEO Denis Handlin tells Billboard.biz.

The major's award winners included Delta Goodrem, "Australian Idol" runner-up Anthony Callea, Pete Murray and John Farnham.

EMI Music Australia's biggest act was singer songwriter Missy Higgins, whose eight times platinum (560,000 units) debut album "The Sound of White" stayed at the top spot for a total of seven weeks. Higgins also made the top with her "Scar" EP and DVD "I'll Tell You Mind If You Tell Me Yours."

"This has just been an amazing year for Australian music, and I'm just so proud to be a part of it," Higgins said in a video message, which she recorded while on tour in the United States.

The awards were inaugurated in 2002 to provide greater consumer awareness to domestic artists' chart success. This year, the ceremony was shifted from July/August to November in a move to better represent chart performances during the calendar year. Yesterday's event also recognized DVD releases for the first time.

EMI Music Australia managing director John O'Donnell, who is chairman of the ARIA chart and marketing committee, said the ceremony would provide "a great opportunity to once again profile fantastic Australian music in the lead-up to Christmas."

Other acts acknowledged were Keith Urban (EMI), AC/DC (Albert/FMR), Powderfinger (Universal), Cold Chisel (Warner), Jet (EMI), Cat Empire (EMI), Jimmy Barnes (Liberation), Bernard Fanning (Universal), Cosima (CDV/MGM), Joel Turner (MGM) and the Hillsong Church (Hillsong).

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