Why do we care?
When innovative industry disruptors enter a market and take on the monopolies we generally assume that it’s going to result in an overall improvement of services. Often times this is the case, but in some cases they can also have some unintended consequences.
Global music streaming services were once touted as an equitable way for independent recording artists to engage directly with an almost unlimited, global audience. Unfortunately, they have not created an even playing field for musicians.
While they may be workable for popular artists, who have highly financial labels behind them; for local, original, unsigned artists, they can be a trap, as they allow people access to music without needing to invest in it in any way.
The Pack Australia sees this situation as the ultimate ‘industry killer’. The way we see it, if this continues unchallenged, unsigned Australian musos won’t be able to afford to make new music at all, and we’ll be stuck with ‘cookie-cutter’ albums coming out of big labels and hit studios from overseas, but nothing new and original from our own great, Australian artists. To us, that’s not an industry – it’s a factory.
How does streaming impact on the Music Industry?
Australia has embraced music streaming services like Spotify, but we feel that this has, perhaps unintentionally, created a massive imbalance in the system.
We want the industry to understand that globalised streaming services provide a platform for music distribution, but do not provide a support network for artists, and that by making music available at low or no cost they have created a kind of musical ‘Darwinism’ – a creative class war not based on talent or skill, but on money, luck and access.
Musicians backed by major labels rise to the top by virtue of the money behind them, while unsigned artists (save for a precious few lucky bands who are ‘discovered’ by popular playlist curators) sink to the bottom of the playlist pile, found only by those dedicated listeners who seek them out.
Coupling this with insultingly low per stream income, the slow death of physical and direct digital music sales, and the lack of venues willing to offer original bands paid live performing opportunities – being an original artist in Australia has become incredibly hard work.
Recording and marketing music costs money, which local, original bands are clearly struggling to make back through gigs or album sales - so most musicians have a ‘day job’ to make ends meet - which doesn’t leave them much time to be creatively productive.
If our musicians are barely earning enough money annually to cover the cost of recording a studio album, and they can’t afford the time to create or record new music, how will the Australian music industry thrive, grow and position new Aussie music on the global stage into the future?
How will we fix it?
We love our industry, and we think Australia has a huge amount of hidden talent that will remain hidden if we don't support its growth and development. We're a social enterprise on a mission to become Australia's leading enabling technology designed to foster and facilitate a healthy local music ecology.
We have devised an elegant solution to this problem – a localised streaming service which will directly connect local business with local music and local listeners.
Based around principles of local economic development, our solution is simple and scalable, and designed to ensure that artists can grow their listener base through exposure, while also creating a range of direct income streams through fair per play payback, direct royalty allocations and a location based ‘jukebox’ style service netting both participating businesses and artists incentive payments.
As a social enterprise, we intend for a percentage of the profits from the service to go back into the industry through a not-for-profit foundation to support local, original artists to create, record and distribute new music, with a focus on underrepresented female and Aboriginal artists as well as new original music from all genres – we intend to support our industry to become sustainable and competitive.