Aussie music struggling to make local charts

Dua Lipa is one of the big artists selling out concert tours - Newsreel
While mega-stars like Dua Lipa are selling out concerts, Australian artists are struggling to make the local charts. | Photo: Tyrone Lebon (official Warner Music picture for Radical Optimism album).

Australian music is struggling to find its place in a fractured market dominated by “heritage artists” and international mega-star tours.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) said only four local albums made the ARIA Top 100 chart in 2023, and only three singles. All of the singles were released in the previous year.

The figures were outlined in a submission to the current Federal Government inquiry into Challenges and opportunities within the Australian live music industry. ARIA made the submission jointly with the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia  (PPCA).

The submission says it has never been harder for artists to establish a sustainable career in Australia.

This reflected a two-speed industry where mega-star stadium tours sold out in minutes while other tours could not break even.

“Recent data presented by Creative Australia has shown that 35 percent of music festivals reported a loss in 2022-23 and more than 25 music festivals have been cancelled since 2022,” ARIA said.

“For Australian artists, playing live music makes up the majority of their earned income at around 58 percent while steaming royalties come in at 15 percent.

“The impact of festival cancellations in particular cannot be overstated when 80 percent of acts at festivals are Australian.”

The submission cited the 2023 Triple J What’s Up in Australian Music report which found 50 percent of local artists were thinking of leaving the industry.

“The artist’s livelihood, heavily reliant on both touring and recorded music revenues, faces significant strain, exacerbating financial pressures and contributing to mental health challenges and burnout,” it said.

“To truly move the needle we need a comprehensive, whole-of-music ecosystem that nurtures a renewed appreciation for Australian music.

“By fostering a vibrant and diverse musical landscape, we not only celebrate our cultural identity but also create pathways for emerging talent to flourish.”

Despite the struggles for local performers, overall recorded music revenue in Australia grew for each of the past five years, including 10.9 percent in 2023.

Live music attendances had rebounded after the COVID pandemic with 11.5 million ticketed attendances in 2022, generating more than $1 billion.