Australia might just be the “lucky country” after all. The land Down Under has produced an abundance of good music of late, and its record industry is enjoying some impressive results.
Powered by a logged-on streaming culture, Australia’s recorded music industry posted revenue of A$526 million ($374 million) in 2018, up 12.26 per cent, trade body ARIA reports. That’s a couple notches up on the 9.7 per cent worldwide growth reported earlier this week by the IFPI in its Global Music Report. And it marks the fourth successive year of growth for Australia, a top 10 recorded music market.
Music streaming platforms provided the lift for this “hugely successful year,” ARIA explains.
The industry association name-checked paid subscription services Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play and Spotify, and non-subscription on-demand brands YouTube and Vevo, which together accounted for more than a third (71.4%) of the entire market in value terms. Combined revenue from all streaming businesses skyrocketed by 41.2% against the previous year.
Speaking during the IFPI’s media presentation of its 2018 Global Music Report, the international trade body’s CEO Frances Moore acknowledged Australia’s “very healthy level” of growth, while Adam Granite, Universal Music Group’s executive vice president of market development, said Australian acts were truly global citizens. “As we’ve seen the rise of streaming, we’re seeing artists from Australia find audiences around the world easier and faster than ever before,” Granite told Billboard. “We definitely see that as an opportunity for the local artists there.”
It wasn’t good news for physical formats. CD sales, not so long ago the powerhouse of Australia’s record biz, continue to erode, falling by 31% to just A$53 million ($37 million) in 2018, although vinyl continues to hit the groove. According to ARIA, the vinyl format grew for the eighth successive year, posting $21 million ($15 million), up 15.2% from the previous year.
Reflecting on the results, Denis Handlin, ARIA chairman and chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand and president, paid tribute to the “great music that is being produced by our outstanding local artists,” and the “tenacious approach” of the local industry.
Handlin adds, “It is now more important than ever that Australia also has the right legal framework in place to protect and promote the work of our Australian artists to ensure artists are adequately remunerated for the use of their valuable recordings.”
Another new wave of Aussies acts spread their wings last year, from Tash Sultana to Dean Lewis, Gang of Youths, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and more, while 5 Seconds of Summer delivered a rare feat by finishing 2018 with the best-selling single in Australia, the first time a local act had done so in 13 years.
All this success, says Dan Rosen, CEO of ARIA, “comes from hard work and commitment to the ongoing investment in our local artists.” The opportunity for Australian artists to cross borders and take on the world, Rosen enthuses, “is immense.”