Industry Scoop From Australia
The Idol Phenomenon
American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson is ready to be embraced by Australia after having conquered the US. Riding high on the Idol phenomenon sweeping the world, the dynamite performer will be arriving to our shores on September 22 to promote her debut album, Thankful, which is released here on September 15. The first single, "Miss Independent," has received plenty of local radio support and rocketed straight into the #1 spot on the US Billboard Charts in its first week of release. The glamorous 22-year-old Texan will embark on an extensive promotional schedule including TV and radio performances, instore appearances, and a possible guest appearance on Australian Idol. On the subject of all things Idol, the franchise's Arabic counterpart has literally become a 'hit'. When the Lebanese favourite was eliminated from the competition, live audience members pelted each other with chairs while the two remaining contestants fainted. Then when the winner was announced, thousands of supporters took to the streets cheering, honking horns and even shooting guns in the air. Now if only the Australian Idol winner could garner as much attention!
Who Is The OZ Artist Of The Year?
That is the question Channel [V] is currently asking its viewers for its annual "Oz Artist Of The Year" competition. Or perhaps it should be renamed the Silverchai' award considering the trio have won it every year! Although, they are faced with some pretty stiff competition in 2003 from other local acts who have had amazing years. Artists such as Delta Goodrem, Candice Alley, Amiel, The Androids, Powderfinger and Grinspoon will certainly be up there contending for the crown. Now in its 7th year, the competition gives viewers the chance to vote for the homegrown artist they feel has had the most impact on the Australian music world in the past year. Viewers will need to register at www.channelv.com.au to be able to vote online from a selection of 50 Australian artists with voting closing on October 7 and the winner being announced on 'whatuwant' on October 10. One lucky voter will be randomly selected and flown to Sydney's ARIA Awards on October 21 to witness the winner of the "Oz Artist Of The Year" receive their gong. So get voting now!
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Business Booming For Eminem
Eminem's latest single, "Business," the fourth off The Eminem Show, has gone gold, shipping in excess of 35,000 copies in Australia. This follows the success of the first three singles, which all went platinum or better. Business is certainly booming for the rapper with the 7x platinum The Eminem Show spending well over a year in the charts and still going strong. As Universal Music point out, there is no denying that Eminem is the biggest selling artist in Australia.
BMG's Audio Riot
BMG Australia are set to embark on a new era in developing local dance music in 2003, with the inception of an innovative imprint label, Audio Riot Recordings. The concept of the new label is to find and foster the most exceptional talent in the often-isolated dance music genre and introduce their music to wider audiences both here and overseas. This will be coupled with an arm bringing the best of an established UK roster of superstars to this country - including Sasha, Faithless, Kosheen and Groove Armada. The label's first Australian signing is Melbourne based electronic producer Cam Farrar. Having previously produced for labels such as Vicious Vinyl (Madison Ave/Rogue Traders), Cam's own debut single 'Wasted' was groundbreaking enough to score him an instant deal and get the label off the ground. The single's video has been directed by Sam Bennetts from Rogue Traders 'One Of My Kind' fame and will be released on September 15. His debut album is scheduled for release later this year. Another act who have been welcomed to the label are UK act Bad Cabbage. Their track, 'Your Rude,' is now the longest running song in the ARIA club chart since it's arrival on our shores earlier this year and is certain to be pushed heavily by the Audio Riot crew. The single hits the stores on September 29.
Other New Signings
Soul garage combo The Tremors have inked a deal with their fellow Brisbane residents Dew Process. Says A&R Manager Jean Reid, who witnessed their first gig in December 2002, "I had heard on the grapevine that a "Brisbane super group" had been formed called The Tremors and they were playing soulful garage and Ike & Tina covers. That sounded pretty good to me and sure enough when I strolled into Ric's one Thursday night last December there they were - Geoff and Dan from Sixfthick, Cec from Mexico City and Elea from Gazoonga Attack - all four pounding their instruments & givin' it up & givin' it good for the some hundred or so people already crammed into the tiny bar. We all wanted a peek at the band none of us had seen or heard before and damn it they were good!" Rapidly gaining a reputation for their twenty-two minute organ grindin', gee-tar molestin' drum pulverisin' blast of a set, The Tremors promise less funk, all soul, more spit and less polish. With just nine months together under their belts, The Tremors' debut EP Can I Get A Whiskey? should be out this month. Virgin Records have also announced the new signing of Melbourne act Daughterboy Jao. Concocted under the influence of Queens Of The Stone Age, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground and cartoons, their brand of raw, melodic rock quickly garnered the attention of Virgin Records, whose local stable includes local luminaries Silverchair, paulmac, Gelbison, Little Birdy, Rhibosome, Downsyde, Decoder Ring and Resin Dogs. Daughterboy Jao will release their debut EP 'Fake Blood And The Rest Is Unknown' on September 8 with a full-length album (produced by Paul McKercher) due for release in early 2004.
Mafia Need You!
MAFIA, that is, Music And Film Independent Artists, is seeking entries for the Soundtrack Awards which are to be held at the Gaelic Club in Sydney on November 29. With the aim being to celebrate the talents of musicians and sound recordists, this world first event will also demonstrate the importance of soundtrack to film. For those interested in entering, you must compose an entirely original soundtrack to a given three minute silent film and submit it either as an MP3 file or on CD within seven days. There are no constraints on the style of music to be composed and entries must be in by September 19. Judging will take place in October and the winning three entries will be screened at the Awards night. There will also be live performances and winners will be presented with fantastic prizes to nurture and encourage their creative ventures. For further details and online entry forms, go to www.mafia.com.au.
AMBC: The Lowdown
Over 600 people gathered at Sydney's SuperDome last month for the 6th AustralAsian Music Business Conference, which was held over three days from August 14-16. Dubbed as the ultimate three-day networking and learning environment, people from all levels of the music industry listened as more than 65 experts talked about the fast changing face of the music industry. After speaking with a large number of the attendees, the overall verdict is that the conference was a success. Many were inspired by John Woodruff's opening speech on Day 1. The most successful Australian manager talked about how the merging of the major record companies would provide great opportunities for up and coming artists and labels. This set the tone for the rest of the day where the general message was to go independent.
Day 2, however, was more about the major record companies. All of the top CEO's spoke about the future of music and particularly about downloading and copy protection, which most of the panel weren't eager to adopt. This was followed by a young A&R panel who talked about what it is they look for when signing new acts. In particular, they mentioned how they like to 'discover' new acts themselves and how important it is to be getting people to your live shows and creating a buzz in the media. The Dos and Don'ts of sending unsolicited demos were also a popular topic of discussion, which continued onto Day 3 during the Print Media & Radio panels. The message here was to get your music right before anything else. If the music is no good, no fancy bio or packaging will do anything to sway the person you are sending it to. In fact, going over the top with your package can even result in your music not being heard at all. One example included by The Music Network's Keith Welsh involved an explosion of glitter all over his keyboard, which led to him binning the CD without hearing a single note. It was unanimously agreed that including glitter in your package is a definite no-no.
The print media panel also showed just how artists could receive free publicity and how a story would need some kind of selling angle in order to keep readers interested. The Brag's Adam Zammit mentioned how reading about who the most well endowed member of a group would make far more interesting reading than hearing a spiel about the songwriting process for an album. A lot of people I spoke to were also highly praiseworthy of Triple J's Richard Kingsmill, who encouraged artists to send him their demos, despite it taking up a lot of his time. During the Radio Airplay panel, he was also challenged by Australian radio legend Trevor Smith to play 50% of Australian music on Triple J. Kingsmill, however, pointed out that they already play around 40% of Australian content each month and that is certainly a lot more than what the commercial stations play.
A lot of ground was covered over the three days, which is impossible to sum up in a paragraph, but what it did do was give emerging artists the knowledge that they need in order to achieve their dreams. It also gave delegates the chance to network with their peers and many saw this as the most valuable part of the AMBC. The only two criticisms that came up were the lack of women on the panels and the fact that most of the panels were targeted towards emerging artists who did in fact make up the majority of the audience. Overall, the AMBC was the event where all of those serious about making it in the music industry converged and who left with a better insight into how all of the different elements within the industry work together.
The Black Eyed Peas-Elephunk
LA outfit the Black Eyed Peas make a long awaited return with their 3rd album Elephunk. Mixing hip-hop beats with live instruments, this album comes full of surprises. Take the track 'Anxiety' for example - a nu-metal inspired collaboration with Papa Roach ,which really stands out like sore thumb when compared to the hip-hop and 'phunk' contained in most of the other tracks. The other notable collaboration features Justin Timberlake on the huge single of the moment, "Where's The Love," which has sold close to 70,000 copies in Australia already. The vibe of the album is best summed up on the track "Labor Day (It's A Holiday)," which talks about holidays, girls, getting wasted, and celebrations. This is one of those party albums not to be taken too seriously, but one that you'll find highly enjoyable.
Bad Boys II - The Soundtrack
The soundtrack to the action packed film of the same name features some of hip-hop's biggest names. Executive Producer P.Diddy has brought together the likes of Jay-Z ("La-La-La"), Justin Timberlake ("Love Don't Love Me"), Beyonce ("Keep Giving Your Love To Me") and a rare Notorious BIG & 50 Cent track, "Realest N*ggas." Not to be outdone, P.Diddy himself contributes on a couple of tracks, including "Show Me Your Soul" (with Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell & Loon), "Shake Ya Tailfeather" (with Nelly & Murphy Lee) and on "Girl I'm A Bad Boy" (with Fat Joe & Dr Dre). Despite a couple of unnecessary 10-second movie snippets added in between and which do nothing to enhance this collection, this album should keep the hip-hop fans pleased.
Thinktank - Rules For Revolution
Formed in 1997, Adelaide's Thinktank have built up quite a following over the years from working hard on the live circuit and supporting artists such as Hot Water Music, Rival Schools and Millencolin. The constant touring has paid off for the foursome with the release of Rules For Revolution. This pop rock affair contains some fine songwriting and superb melodies. This is no more evident than on "Open Letter," which has received plenty of rotation on Triple J and on "Braving The Day," which happens to be the latest single. If you like to hear low-slung guitar work, watertight rhythms and soaring vocals, then do yourself a favour and listen to this.
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