This week WA Senator Glenn Sterle spoke in parliament about what he deemed “the general decline of interest and support for new Australian music in this great country.”
He spoke of his shock at seeing 17 Post Malone songs in the ARIA Top 40, while only three Australian singles made the cut.
His solutions were financially rewarding commercial radio stations based on the level of Australian music they play, upping the 25% Australian content quotas currently in place, and a Government-funded radio station that plays new Australian music 24/7 “whether they be 16 or 60, regardless of their music styles.”
This final point is an interesting one.
The Sydney label Ambition Entertainment have quietly snapped up an enviable roster of artists that appeal to/are in that upper age tier, including Jon English, Olivia Newton John, Leo Sayer, Marcia Hines, Renee Geyer, Tina Arena, Wendy Matthews, and Russell Morris. The latter scored his first ever top ten album in a fifty-year career, in 2012 with Sharkmouth — a dense record about Australia during the ’20s and ’30s; we’re talking Phar Lap and the Great Depression — and repeated this feat two years later with Van Diemen’s Land, an album that traversed similar ground.
There is clearly an audience for this music, despite radio play. But a government-funded station dedicated to Australian music, regardless of genre or the age of these artists could bolster this under-served sector of the music community.