Where do Aussies discover new music?

How much new music did you discover today? And where? 

SoundCloud, Spotify or Bandcamp? YouTube recommends? Newer apps or traditional mediums like radio? First, let's look at where Aussies consume their music. Research company GfK’s Share of Audio found live radio accounts for 65.3% of time spent by Aussies a day, across all age brackets, including the 10-17 and 18-24 demographics. 68.4% of Australians listen to live radio every day. Infinite Dial says 88% of Australians tune into AM/FM and DAB radio, outpacing America’s 65%. 10.5 million Australians listen to commercial radio a week, 3.5 million to community radio stations, and 2 million for triple j. 13% listen to podcasts (up from 10% in 2017), at an average of five a week.

Personal music collections are the second most listened to, says Share of Audio, with 12.6%. Streaming services are third at 11%, and tipped to explode as more Australians embrace sophisticated voice recognition systems.  Mat Levey of Amazon Music says when it launched in Australia this year, “35 of Amazon’s 150 playlists featured exclusively Australian content. In total 75% of Amazon’s playlists contain Australian music…featuring popular and emerging artists.”

Online music videos had a 3.3% share (73% of Australians used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music) while podcasts’ share was 3.2%. In comparison, a US study by Nielsen found Americans discovered music through radio (51%), friends and relatives (45%), movies (31%), audio or video streaming apps like YouTube (27%), social media apps (25%) and television (23%). Festivals missed out on the cut although another Nielsen study found one in eight Americans cite festivals and other live events are a source of music discovery. Research is just starting to be done for Australian festivals on that score.

How about pubs, clubs, gyms, shopping complexes, and even bowling centres? This was the claim at the NSW parliamentary inquiry on Australian content by Nightlife Music CEO David O’Rourke. His company provides music for such establishments, and he said. “We are where Australians hear great, new homegrown music for the first time, and in many cases, we are the ones that drive consumer choices when they go home.” He said Nightlife alone played ten times more music than radio over a three-month period from June to August and featured almost four times as many Australian artists.

So what classifies as new Australian music? “New” is, as defined by ARIA, under 12 months old. APRA, however, want to widen this definition from just recording artists to Aussie songwriters. Streaming wants to include engineers and producers. Commercial radio reckons that if a track was recorded in Australia by a visiting international act, then it should count towards filling up its Australian quota.