The Australian music industry is undoubtedly back in growth following four straight years of a double-digit uptick, our industry surpassed half a billion dollars in revenues in 2018, but our biggest threat is Netflix, podcasts, and sleep.
Those were just a few of the key takeaways at Dan Rosen’s session at BIGSOUND today, Australian music: The state of play.
The ARIA CEO outlined the state of play across the music industry both in Australia and internationally on Day 3 of the Brisbane conference and festival today. He used the platform to stress the importance of a growth mindset.
“If I wanted to put it in a phrase of a great, Aussie band: We’re back in black,” he smiled.
“It’s a great feeling to be back in black. We have a growth mindset in this business now. There’s positivity and there’s optimism. When we came to BIGSOUND at the beginning of this decade it was a very different story, and it’s a wonderful thing to be in a growth business.
“[…] We’re a growth business, we’re a digital business, and we’re a business that matters,” he added.
Dan Rosen said that while Australians listen to 18.3 hours of music every week, music’s growth is now competing against some very loud and also very silent combatants.
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Artists are now competing against Netflix and sleep, with the battlegrounds now being the phone, the car and the home speaker.
“Radio’s last stamp is the car. Can streaming services break into the car?,” Rosen asked. “That’s where a lot of people are listening to music. Unfortunately traffic is getting worse in our cities, that’s more time people are spending in the car.
“The other battleground is the home,” he continued. “[…] Australia’s been a little bit behind the US and the UK, this is a room of early adopters but the home speaker market hasn’t grown in Australia like it has [overseas] yet.”
Dan Rosen said the rise of the home speaker could in fact get older demographics on to streaming services however. “One of the battles for older people has been technology but they have no problem saying what they want to listen to.”
At Summit LA in 2017, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was asked who his competitors were.
“He didn’t say Disney, he didn’t say HBO, he said ‘sleep. Sleep is my competitor’,” noted Rosen. “Which really is a metaphor to say I’m competing with minutes […] I’m competing for attention.”
Rosen said our best choice of weapon is to make music compelling.
“If we want to hang on to those 18.3 hours that people listen to music in Australia, we need to make sure that we’re working closely with tech companies, ensuring that music is still a key part of their strategies, and making compelling music. And selling that to Australian people and people around the world.”
“It’s a great time to be in music. Wall Street’s investing in us, venture capitalists are investing in us […]. People are investing in copyrights, people are buying catalogues.”
“[…] We’re coming to the end of the decade in great style,” Rosen signed off. “We’ve gone from pessimism, to optimism, from decline into growth. We’ve gone from an old school industry to a digital industry, and we’re sexy again. So tell your parents it’s a good time to be in the music business.”