TMN 30 Under 30: Meet the next group of winners
Caleb Triscari, Calum Anderson and Cass Navaro all took a spot on this year’s TMN 30 Under 30 list.
They’ve had quite different paths to success, but a similar theme emerges when the trio discusses the forces and failures which could be holding the industry back.
Read on below to find out why these three superstars are the future of Australia’s music industry.
The national TMN 30 Under 30 Awards program is supported by APRA AMCOS, MTV, Radio Today, Sony Music Australia, TikTok and Universal Music Australia, and offers future industry leaders the chance to showcase their achievements and propel their careers forward.
Caleb Triscari, NME Australia/ Self
As a journalist working across multiple publications during the height of COVID-19, Caleb Triscari had a front-row (virtual) seat to the collapse of the Australian arts sector.
But it wasn’t just live entertainment and music which suffered – music writing jobs and journalism also took a hit, with Triscari noting he’s had evolve quickly to stay employed.
Despite the struggles, he’s also aware of the advantages he has.
“There are many barriers to accessibility in the music industry that need to be torn down, many of which offer me an unfair advantage,” he says. “As my career progresses, I hope it becomes one that advocates for equity among all tiers of the industry, junior to senior. I hope that, were I to take on more leadership roles in the future, I would contribute to a workplace that prioritises secure employment and respect.”
But what are the biggest challenges facing the music industry, according to Caleb?
“If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that one of the largest challenges facing the music industry is how the labour performed by musicians and cultural workers is valued, be that from the lens of government, companies or individual consumers. It’s been made clear that the arts sector, one of the most negatively impacted, was disproportionately unsupported by the Federal Government in the wake of the pandemic, despite its strong economic output. I believe this, in part, comes down to the public’s recognition, or lack thereof, of art’s role in society.
“Looking elsewhere, the wave of tech disruption, while exciting and interesting, has also raised questions around fair compensation and recognition. While streaming services have offered musicians from all backgrounds a more accessible platform, their disappointing record on artist fees/revenue has been reported far and wide. This again has to do with how we recognise the work that goes into the ‘supply chain’, from conception to mastering, and who gets the largest slice of the pie. I believe this is something that will only be scrutinised further as companies like Spotify continue to expand their product range, delving into AI and machine learning.
“In many ways, this issue goes hand in hand with diversity in the industry. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, there was a large uproar over the diversity among management teams at record labels and other music companies – and rightfully so. What we’ve seen time and time again is a lack of appreciation and equity towards our colleagues from marginalised backgrounds. Artists of colour, as well as BIPOC workers, go above and beyond to contribute meaningfully to music and pop culture, and this is often unnoticed, unfairly compensated or appropriated for another’s gain.”
Calum Anderson, Universal Music Australia
Calum Anderson started making content on YouTube when the platform was “just a baby”, and since then has done everything from run his own company to win awards. Now, he works in creator partnerships & video optimisation for Universal Music Australia and has used his background and skills to build an internal Gaming Working Group to educate the Universal Music family on the opportunities within music and gaming.
He looks at success as his impact on others – have they adopted his ideas and initiatives? Has he created macro positive change for the industry and taken personal responsibility? – and believes it’s exciting to see the music industry adopt models from the creator economy.
But what are the biggest challenges facing the music industry, according to Calum?
“There are two big areas of change I see the industry needs to implement.
- A 360 understanding and adoption of the internet + social platforms. COVID and TikTok hit all at once which really forced the music industry to wake up to the internet as a whole. Songs are both connecting and being discovered in so many different ways now, online communities and creators have highly engaged audiences with millions of real fans that focus on a specific interest. Previously the music industry would mainly think in geographical markets, while the internet thinks in communities and niche interests. It’s the finesse of both thinking in markets, building fandom around an artist, and tapping into the niche interests like gaming, fitness, beauty, and comedy (or even ASMR) that the industry has been forced to quickly learn.
- Increased diversity within the Australian music industry workforce. It’s not just a ‘nice to have’ or ‘the right thing to do’, this is fundamentally needed to continue keeping this industry and creativity alive. Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world and yet a lot of that isn’t fully represented with artists or teams behind the scenes. Further to my point above – we need diversity, different viewpoints/life experiences and identities of individuals working behind the scenes to help artists connect with their ideal fans.We are lucky to live in such a culturally diverse country and so I believe if we get this right then the future for the Australian music industry can be incredibly exciting. As people continue to have more diverse media and music consumption we will need diverse teams to action new initiatives and stay on the frontlines together.”
Cass Navaro, Acclaim Magazine
Cass Navaro got his start as a hip-hop DJ in Sydney and has worked at a booker and promoter across a number of venues, including the iconic Goodgod Small Club.
He says it’s a genuine passion of his to discover, develop and give platforms to young artists, and in particular to amplify POC voices in Australian music – something he does not only via Acclaim, but also with Mirage Records.
“We started Mirage Records to shine a line on the underrepresented talents and sounds of artists in Melbourne and in doing so we’ve uncovered a massive scene with countless incredible rappers, singers, producers and creatives. This is now something we hope to take to the world and put Melbourne and Australia on the map for hip hop,” he explains.
But what are the biggest challenges facing the music industry, according to Cass?
“I believe we’re trapped in a bit of a changing of the guard, perhaps the road to success needs to be paved again by the younger generation. I sometimes feel there is a bit of gatekeeping that happens in this small market. I also believe the music industry needs to allow more space for Black and POC voices and not simply for optics or to meet a diversity quota.”