| 27 Feb 2024
Australia's AIR chalking out plans for Independent Music Awards and 20th anniversary

MUMBAI: Australia's independent music companies' trade body AIR (Australian Independent Record Labels Association), is chalking out a plan to celebrate 20 years of existence. It will also be curating its 10th annual Independent Music Awards. The awards, which are expected to take place on 22 October, will be completely for Australian musicians.

Talking about the 1996 founded organisation, AIR CEO Dan Nevin said, “AIR will have special plans to celebrate 20 years of our existence. Currently, we plan to exhibit 20 years through digital photographic exhibition followed by some gigs. We plan to have our presence felt at MIDEM and Indie Week 2015, to help our artistes enter new markets."

Before the awards, AIR plans to unveil a new website, which will make it easier for artists and artist representatives navigate the website smoothly. “Independent Music Awards will be only about Australian artists. It will include big and upcoming names as well. It will be about bringing names like Sia, Vance Joy, Chet Faker, Courtney Barnett and many others, under one roof,” said Nevin.

Nevin, who holds little over six months of experience in AIR as a CEO and more than two decades of professional expertise, believes that working with AIR is challenging, and at the same time fulfilling. "It is an exciting time in the independent space, so I decided to move from commercial side of business to other side. I am in touch with lot of label companies and I thought there should be a collective voice to the issues in the industry which is a reason I took this job at AIR. We are a small organisation and there is lot to do."

He also said there are artists like Remi, Seth Sentry, The Jungle Giants and many others from Australia who can make it big internationally. “There are some artists who are worthy of making it big. It is difficult to comment so soon if they will take it to the next level, but hip-hop artists are doing very well. Seth Sentry- is a hip-hop artist who is doing well in Australia and he will soon release an album. His label is planning to make him huge in Australia and is keen to take him international.”

In physical format, LP sales have seen an increase even though CD sales are diminishing. Nevin said, “LPs had almost disappeared for a while but sales are significantly increasing now. It is two per cent of sale in the Australian market, which is still very low.” In Australia, physical format sales are still a major revenue source, even though they are diminishing year on year due to digital consumption. “We have to make sure that labels and artists, are able to monetise their content digitally. Today, artist revenues have gone down drastically. We as a body have to make sure that revenues are coming in,” he added.

Yet another but an important aspect of digital is the ad- funded streaming model. Commenting on that, he said, “We will be engaging with streaming services more as I consider streaming an opportunity.” He further added, “The free model has proven to be successful even though it is not a model we support. For us, AIR artists and labels have to earn reasonable income from streaming. I understand the free model is ad funded but their revenues are not quite there. It has impacted the whole view of the streaming model.”

He further added that streaming is a great model if artists are paid. Nevin stated, “A lot of people have gone down the free path and now it is difficult to come back. But I have faith that recording label associations and other organisations will make the right moves to make changes in the future, so that ad-funded models remain but revenues are higher. I am not against the free model but I need to ensure that all artists earn through the streaming model.” There are over 30 legitimate streaming services in Australia. Nevin believes that they all have something different to offer and with new streaming services of Apple coming into the picture, there will be an impact on the Australian music industry.