The battle to get Australian music in front of you is heating up.
- Commercial radio has local content quotas, but streaming giants don’t
- APRA calling for commitment from platforms on local content
- Industry more broadly concerned about dominance of foreign music in charts
The body that collects royalties for musicians is calling on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music to commit to putting a minimum 25 per cent Australian music in the playlists they curate — the same figure that bounds commercial radio stations.
It comes as musicians, including country singer Kasey Chambers and Cold Chisel’s Ian Moss, prepare to lobby politicians in Canberra today in an attempt to get decision-makers to understand the effect of emerging digital platforms on the music business.
For a long time, mainstream pop radio stations have been forced to play 25 per cent local music between 6am and midnight. The rule was designed to put homegrown work in front of Australian listeners.
But no such requirements are placed on streaming services, which are becoming the dominate way Australians discover and enjoy music.
“This really does affect us and our careers,” said Hannah Crofts of the band All Our Exes Live In Texas, which is part of the delegation heading to Canberra.
She said services like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music were increasingly important to the financial viability of the band, which has toured Europe and the US and last year won an ARIA for Best Blues and Roots Album.
They should therefore be subject to the same rules as radio stations when it comes to supporting local music, she said.
“I don’t know why you wouldn’t have that,” she said of content quotas.
She also suggested the services could be using their predictive algorithms to promote Australian music to local users.
APRA AMCOS, which collects royalties for musicians when their music is streamed, wants a commitment from the major platforms: Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
“We’re in ongoing discussions with the major streaming services as to how they can better support Australian music and show their commitment to the market here, on their local platforms,” APRA’s incoming CEO Dean Ormston said.
“We are calling for a minimum of 25 per cent Australian content on their own locally curated playlists.”
Spotify and Apple Music declined to comment on the proposal, while Amazon Music did not respond.
In December, after a year-long review and much industry discussion, a parliamentary panel recommended local content quotas for film and television streaming services like Netflix and Stan that would force them to invest in homegrown productions.
The discussions are taking place in the middle of a broader debate about how to help Australians artists compete in an increasingly globalised marketplace for music.
Last year, not a single Australian artist topped the ARIA pop chart.