The ARIA charts could soon look very different thanks to ongoing negotiations between ARIA, Australia’s premier recording industry trade body, and digital service Bandcamp, who’ve become one of the primary channels for independent artists to distribute their music online.
When Melbourne’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard had their Top 20 chart debut earlier this month, we noted how their chart position would have been higher if ARIA counted Bandcamp sales. The band had previously sold 1,500 copies of their new album via Bandcamp in just hours.
Well, according to one ARIA spokesperson who recently spoke to FasterLouder, Australia’s independent artist may soon have a fighting chance at appearing on the charts alongside major label signees and international artists riding massive publicity campaigns.
“ARIA has been liaising with Bandcamp over the past couple of months and Bandcamp are now developing the protocols and the software to report to ARIA. Once that is done ARIA will accept Bandcamp as a chart contributor,” the spokesperson told FasterLouder.
Speaking to Tone Deaf, ARIA’s Adrian Di Giacomo explained that it’s up to retailers to “get themselves into the position to transmit the sales” to the organisation. For example, the iTunes music store debuted in 2003 but didn’t register with ARIA until April 2006.
“Parties wishing to become Information Providers must first contact ARIA,” Adrian explained. “The intending Information Provider’s data reporting capability will then be tested (currently over four weeks). ARIA will not enter into an Information Provider Agreement unless the results of this testing are satisfactory.”
“To qualify and remain qualified as an Information Provider, a retail store must be capable of monitoring and recording all of their eligible sales (genuine sales to actual consumers) through an electronic point of sale computer.”
“Information Providers must electronically track all of their relevant product sales to consumers and transmit to ARIA preferably daily, but no less frequently than weekly, in accordance with the Timetable.”
“Failure to scan and transmit all recorded music sales will result in the Information Provider being suspended from participation in the ARIA Charts until it satisfies ARIA that it is tracking every sale electronically and in compliance with this requirement.”
Having Bandcamp sales register with ARIA could drastically change the shape of the charts as we know them, providing a new avenue of exposure for Australia’s independent artists, who often have rabid followings online but not with the general record-buying public.