The ARIA Awards are just one sleep away.

It could be a nervous night for Genesis Owusu, who heads into the annual ceremony with six nominations, equal best this year with Amy Shark.

And it could spell a jittery one for the team at AWAL Australia.

The distribution and music services company bagged eight nominations this year, across Owusu, Spacey Jane and Nick Cave.

That’s a “pretty serious number,” enthused Ben Godding Senior Director, Marketing – Australia & NZ, when the names were read out Oct. 20.

It’s certainly a serious number for AWAL, which launched in Australia in 2012, and has been designed for business-savvy independent artists, notes Godding, those want to be “in control of their careers and also extremely ambitious.”

That includes plugging into a range of services, including global marketing, campaign coordination, sync licensing, global distribution, while retaining rights.

Watch Genesis Owusu’s ‘The Other Black Dog’:

With independent artists wanting to spread their wings, business is growing.

“In only the last year our artists have had amazing results at triple j with three of the Top 5 most played songs last month, and also several times where up to six of our artists’ tracks have been added to the station in the same week,” he continues.

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Add streams and sales, and “you have a very impressive trajectory for AWAL Australia.”

Founded in the U.K. in the late 1990s, AWAL has carved out its niche providing expertise and action for indie and DIY awards around the globe. Over time, the business has helped build the international careers of Girl In Red, Finneas, Little Simz and many others.

Genesis Owusu

Sony Music saw its model as a good fit and was willing to pay for it. Earlier this year, the music major bought AWAL’s global business (alongside Kobalt Neighbouring Rights) for US$430 million, a deal that is now being scrutised by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority.

Godding, a former EMI Music Australia label manager, has been with AWAL Australia since day one.

In the years since launch, the Sydney-based team has worked on chart-topping albums by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and releases for Angie McMahon and Spacey Jane, among others.

Spacey Jane had its own interstellar breakthrough.

The indie rock foursome signed with AWAL Australia in 2020, their debut Sunlight shone at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart and has punched past 100 million streams, while its platinum-certified fan-fave single ‘Booster Seat’ cracked the ARIA top 10 and scored an ARIA Award nomination for Song of the Year.

Spacey Jane re-signed with AWAL Australia in June 2021.

Stream Spacey Jane’s ‘Booster Seat’:


Owusu, whose career is guided by the Ourness Music Management team, heads into the 35th annual ARIAs in tip-top form.

He nabbed two trophies at the J Awards last week, including the coveted album of the year award for his ARIA-nominated Smiling with No Teeth.

Genesis and his team “knows what they want, where they’re going and a true appreciation of Genesis’s audience too,” explains Godding.

All eyes now turn to the ARIAs. With eight chances, AWAL’s team already feels like a winner.

“We’ve now firmly established a reputation as being a home for the best new exciting talent,” says Godding. “We’ve worked very hard at that and been very selective.”