Australian music industry conference Face The Music took place late last week over two days at Melbourne’s Arts Centre, and while many were looking for Harvest Festival and Soundwave boss AJ Maddah to deliver the controversy at the gathering of the Australian music scene’s industry figures, it was another high-profile promoter that has actually given the more pointed delivery.
Presented as part of the 2012 Australasian World Music Expo (AWME) Conference Program, Michael Chugg of Chugg Entertainment, recognised as one of the world’s biggest and most successful concert promoters, had some eye (and ear) opening comments in regards to Australian radio and their (severe lack of) support of local music.
During his Keynote Address last Friday 16th November, co-presented by AWME & APRA, Chugg spoke frankly with veteran music journalist Iain Shedden about his five-decade experience in the industry, as Music Feeds points out.
“Mainstream radio will not fucking play Australian music until they have to. It’s awful,” noted the music mogul during the hour-long forum. “I’m sure eventually it will change, but it’s very frustrating the short playlists and the domination international music has on commercial radio stations.”
Chugg criticised mainstream radio for fulfilling their quota by playing “greatest hits shit… between midnight and 6am,” adding: “With mainstream radio, it would be good to see out of the 60 to 70 records they play, 25 per cent of that be current Australian content.” “Mainstream radio will not fucking play Australian music until they have to. It’s awful,”
“The Commercial Radio Association will tell you that I’m full of shit,” the promoter remarked, “but just stay up one night and have a listen. You’ll be surprised.”
The 25% regulation is enforced by the Commercial Radio Association, and the quota was laid down as part of the Broadcasting Services Act in 1992; but the last year the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that the code would exempt digital commercial radio stations from local music quotas for three years.
Chugg also noted that he’d raised his concerns in a discussion with Federal Minister for the Arts Simon Crean, while the two were in India as part of the Music Connects India conference in Mumbai.
During the conference, Crean spruiked the benefits and importance of promoting Aussie music and bands abroad while promoting the finalising of a new Cultural Policy that sees the Australian Government investing $3 million of the federal budget into contemporary music, including $200k handed to Australian music to help them tour.
Chugg however, sees a deeper problem at hand. “I told him (Minister Crean) it was all very well talking about how many Australian bands we’re breaking overseas, but did he realise that they had to go overseas to break it because we can’t get any airplay on our own radio stations…? He was a bit pissed off with me about that, but that’s the reality of it”
Chugg remarked that Crean said, “‘You’ve got to talk to the Communications Minister because it’s not in my portfolio’, and I thought, ‘give me a break… you’re either united or you’re not’.”
The Chugg Entertainment boss also spoke about his own experiences at the Mumbai Music conference, calling it a “great eye-opener”as to a new market of musical talent.“The Commerical Radio Association will tell you that I’m full of shit, but just stay up one night and have a listen. You’ll be surprised.”
“The production levels, the crew, the marketing, the promotions, and most importantly, the kids, were all switched on,” said Chugg. “The other thing that blew me away was the Indian bands, they rock out. There’s a big metal scene but a great musical scene as well, and some of the bands I was dancing and whooping and yeah-ing to could fit in anywhere in the world.”
Chugg also noted his interest in bringing out some of those Indian acts to Australia in future. “We’re definitely looking at doing some crossover and bringing some of the Indian acts down here. You might not be able to understand the lyrics, but you certainly get the vibe of what they’re singing about… there’s no doubt about that.”
Chugg’s comments arrive just after Chugg Entertainment yesterday announced a brand new partnership with Rob Potts Entertainment Edge to bring a brand new festival to the Australian festival calendar in the Deni Blues & Roots Festival.
The brand new NSW-based festival will be held at the iconic Deniliquin Ute Muster site, and see Santana headlining a bill featuring the likes of Steve Miller Band, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak and more on March 30th and 31st, 2013.
It’s also the second venture into Australia’s festival market for Michael Chugg in the past few months, after his Chugg Entertainment group recently announced alliances with Homebake 2012 as co-promoters.