The Brag Media
News August 3, 2018

Report: ARIA’s recommendations to Senate radio & streaming quota inquiry

Report: ARIA’s recommendations to Senate radio & streaming quota inquiry

The Australian Recording Industry Association’s testimony at Wednesday’s Senate inquiry into Australian quotas for broadcasting and streaming services expressed that some things needed to change, offering a number of criticisms and recommendations.

One was the importance of commercial radio in particular and streaming services playing more Australian music.

ARIA was represented at the haring by its general manager, Lynne Small and its corporate counsel – commercial, Rohini Sivakumar.

As to be expected, many of ARIA’s concerns echoed that of APRA AMCOS, whose two executives spoke earlier in the morning.

One point raised was how the Canadian government’s 35% radio quota and investment in its music industry has translated into  a continual flow of Canadian artists into global charts since the ‘70s – and currently now with the likes of Drake and Justin Bieber destroying any and all global streaming records.

However, Small made a strong point – under the Fair Trade Agreement with the US, Australia cannot increase any existing protective quotas in any industry – including music’s.

So essentially, radio quota has to sit at its current 25% – but any move to lower it would be “detrimental”, Small warned.

Sivakumar pointed out to the committee, in ARIA’s 2017 end-of-year charts, no Australian artist appeared in the Top 30 of the Singles Chart or the Top Ten of the Albums Chart.

Obviously not a state of affairs that should be allowed to continue.

ARIA made some recommendations:

  • Take away radio stations’ policy of self-categorising their formats, where calling one’s format “nostalgia” than “hits and memories”, for instance, means being obliged to a 5% quota than a 15% quota.
  • Get commercial radio to reinstate an independent committee like AMCOM, made up of radio and music execs to oversee that stations were keeping to quotas. Commercial radio’s Commercial Radio Australia quietly scrapped this in 2017.
  • Install Australian quotas for digital stations, which ARIA has been agitating for over 12 months. The radio sector’s argument is that quotas will prevent them from introducing niche music, as the government intended. However that has not been the case, and many digital stations have across-the-board mainstream playlists.

Small spelled out, “Digital spectrum is a public asset and it is our view that access to that asset should be accompanied by some public responsibilities, and it is appropriate that one of those should be the provision for Australian content.”

  • Greater investment and locally-curated playlists by streaming services to support more Australian music.

Sivakumar pointed out that new initiatives such as releasing new records on Fridays around the world means that Australian recording artists have to compete with overseas artists with established and bigger fanbase, and need to be heard.”

ARIA has already had discussions with streaming services about local curators putting together Australian playlists to have a certain benchmark of Australian music played, and that these would remain even despite organisational policy changes in the future.

  • More Federal government investment and funding for new acts to make records, tour and kick-start their careers.


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