Music Australia News

Australian Contemporary Music in 2016: Ten Positive Developments

Tame Impala
Jasmine Crittenden
| December 20, 2016

Australian contemporary music has faced numerous challenges in 2016 – from the cutting of four of Radio National’s music shows to significant drops in ticket sales in Sydney as a consequence of the lockout laws. However, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. So, we thought we might bring you some holiday cheer in the form of positive news.

  1. Original Australian music earned more royalties than ever before. APRA AMCOS achieved record revenue of $333 million in the 2015-2016 financial year, according to the APRA AMCOS Year in Review report. This was 8.73% higher than 2014-15.
  1. Original Australian music earned more royalties overseas than ever before. In the 2015-16 financial year, APRA AMCOS’s international revenue jumped by 12.5%, to reach $38.3 million. Responsible for much of this were world-famous songwriters, including Lorde, Gotye, Sia, Flume, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett and Troye Sivan.
  1. Australia’s live performance industry earned more money than AFL, NRL, soccer, cricket and super rugby combined. The industry generated $1.4 billion in ticket sales across 18.38 million tickets, according to Live Performance Australia’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2015. Contemporary music was the biggest contributor, having generated $477,904,944 across 5,554,811 tickets.
  1. Several Australian acts, promoters and venues made international ‘Top 100’ lists for ticket sales. Among them were 5 Seconds of Summer, AC/DC, Frontier Touring Company, Bluesfest Touring, Sydney’s Qudos Bank arena, Perth Arena, Melbourne’s Palais Theatre and Richmond’s Corner Hotel.
  1. Several Australian acts received Grammy nominations. These included Courtney Barnett for Best New Artist, Tame Impala for Best Alternative Album and Hiatus Kaiyote for Best R&B Performance.
  1. The Federal Government renewed Sounds Australia’s funding. After threatening cuts, the Government announced at the 2016 Face the Music conference, that Sounds Australia would receive $1.16 million over the next four years. The back flip followed an intense campaign, which saw a petition on attract 6,629 signatures.
  1. The NSW Government provided funding for micro-festivals in Western Sydney and Regional NSW, to be run in partnership with the Live Music Office. In 2017, $300,000 will go towards free, live music events, to be held in streets, cafés and unusual spaces, such as hair salons, in Western Sydney and regional New South Wales.
  1. The SA Government agreed to cut red tape hindering live music. The changes include relief from cumbersome approval processes for small, non-traditional venues hosting “low-risk” gigs and easier coordination between Adelaide City Council and local councils.
  1. Western Australia’s regional arts venues received $2 million for upgrades. The funding is to be distributed across 13 venues, including Margaret River Culture Centre, the City of Bunbury’s Entertainment Centre and the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.
  1. Australia gained its first awards dedicated to live music performance. Initiated by Larry Heath, former editor-in-chief at the AU Review, the National Live Music Awards were inaugurated in November, with concerts held in capital cities around Australia and awards handed out across 16 categories.


  1. Kirsty Rivers

    While this is a fantastic list, there is an absence of any mention of the Victorian Government’s commitment to contemporary Music, including the new Australian Music Vault – an amazing highlight for all those who have worked so hard for a National Music Hall of Fame.

    The Victorian Government’s Music Works program also delivered $1.2 million commitment to Music Mentoring through The Push and Music Victoria, $400,000 to music venues sound issues through Good Music Neighbours, Our first music tourism grants via Rockin’ the Laneways, support to Sounds Australia, three year funding to our peak body Music Victoria and millions in direct grants to the artists and industry!! These investments are a true commitment to contemporary music . Bring on 2017 and even more investment across Victoria and internationally – Kirsty Rivers, Creative Victoria.

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