30 Under 30 April 23, 2020

TMN 30 Under 30: Meet your Entrepreneur & Innovator winners

TMN 30 Under 30: Meet your Entrepreneur & Innovator winners

With the finalists, 30 victors and Reader’s Choice champ revealed, it’s time to meet the winners.

After getting to know the Digital & Social winners on Wednesday,  it’s time to take a look at the three TMN 30 Under 30 heroes from the Entrepreneurs & Innovators category.

Congratulations to Jayden Bath from Loch Hart Music Festival, Josh Simons from Vampr & Nic Kelly from Project U.

We asked each applicant to outline the biggest challenges facing the music industry and all 30 entries were unique and worth sharing. Responses were given prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

This year’s are made possible thanks to six incredible sponsors, including APRA AMCOS, Eventbrite, MTV, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music.


Jayden Bath, Loch Hart Music Festival

What are the biggest challenges facing the music industry?

Climate change is not just the biggest challenge facing the music industry, but it is the biggest challenge facing the world. Climate change is the most serious and most pervasive risk faced by the natural world and by global human society. For the first time, all of the top five risks in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report are climate and environmental risks.

While other industries are more extensively disrupted by climate change (farming, insurance, and real estate), the widespread impacts of climate change are not escaped by the music industry, particularly by the music festival scene.

In an Australian context, there is significant vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The Australian music festival scene suffered immensely at the hands of climate change this summer. Lost Paradise and Falls Festival (Lorne) were the two major victims who were required to cancel their events due to extreme weather.

The music industry has been at the forefront of the movement to fight climate change. Following the devastation of our 2020 bushfires, the creative industry demonstrated amazing compassion and philanthropy. The surplus of bushfire relief charity gigs that were held in response to these fires made me proud to be a part of this benevolent community.

However, education and behavioural change are the keys to a sustainable future. Music venues and festivals can no longer continue operating with the bottom line in focus when the environment is the expense. Fortunately, we are now seeing pledges being made with Green Music Australia, single-use plastics abandoned, vegetarian/vegan meals being a staple, BYO bottle campaigns, formal recycling and composting, and re-usable systems being put into action. It is uplifting and needs to become standard to help tackle both the music industry’s and the world’s biggest challenge of the modern era – climate change.


Josh Simons, Vampr Inc

What are the biggest challenges facing the music industry?

Somewhat refreshingly I believe some of the biggest challenges right now are not challenges facing artists, but rather challenges facing the old guard – major labels, publishers, etc.

The question they are asking themselves right now is how do we remain competitive when it comes to attracting new talent, in a landscape where many of these artists are already generating massive revenues and holding onto the lion’s share through independent distribution, streaming and playlists.

If the USP and appeal of signing to a major label in the past ten years was essentially their ability to bankroll and accelerate projects with some reliability, what is their role in a market where more and more distributors are exploring FinTech solutions for their most popular artists?

If I’m Justin Bieber and I’m coming to the end of my contract, am I going to re-sign with a major label where I might retain 50% of royalties at best, or am I going to go and have conversations with medium-sized distributors who can advance enough of my future expected income to fund my next project whilst still allowing me to hold on to 80%+ of my royalties?

It’s an interesting and opportune time to be a new or trending artist.


Nic Kelly, Project U

What are the biggest challenges facing the music industry?

First, meaningful regional commitment from the music & media industries!

As someone who has grown up regionally, I think access to a diverse range of music experiences & strong local media in non-metropolitan Australia is absolutely paramount. From a music perspective, it is deeply disappointing to see state-based music bodies spend millions on ‘music initiatives’ that focus 99% of the time on a 20km radius of the CBD of that state. They claim to be ‘inclusive’ – and they may be from an equally important gender standpoint – but completely ignore the lack of access for people living outside of metropolitan Australia and the lack of privilege that comes with that. I am combating this by working with primarily regionally based artists (4/5 of my management clients live outside metro Australia) and putting shows on in these areas.

For media: I strongly believe companies need to invest in providing content & media to every Australian, and Regional Australia should be just as critical to national corporations as metropolitan Australia is. Media should not just be a source of entertainment, but media should be able to help foster local communities and assist in the development of economy & culture in smaller areas.

Second, I’m passionate about the expansion of DAB+ radio services to wider Australia. Regulatory and business hold-ups have halted the expansion of this important audio distribution platform. This speaks to my first point – for too long, decisions made in Metropolitan Australia have not fed fast enough into the rest of our vast country.

Third, more diverse voices on Australian radio to better reflect the people radio speaks to. Commercial radio remains a predominantly white industry from the on-air perspective and I think it’s crucial we better reflect this in media.

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