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Indie music now makes up 30 per cent of Australia’s music industry (Music Insight)

A study commissioned by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), has found that independent music is more popular than ever with the mainstream public.

Indie music has been on the rise in the mainstream the last couple of years, as more and more musicians head away from major labels and go their own way.

In the past, it was hard for musicians so make an honest buck without the help of a major label. But the rise of independent artists and labels has grown with the rise of accessibility in the form of streaming platforms. Suddenly, being indie can be incredibly lucrative (if you make it).

Recent indie success stories include Flume, Vance Joy, Meg Mac, A.B. Original, Gotye, Chet Faker, Hermitude, The Temper Trap, Sia and Hilltop Hoods.

It is also noted that many other artists who were originally under mainstream labels have gone into indie territory, such as the likes of Eskimo Joe and Alex Lloyd.

The AIR study found that in the 2014-15 financial year, the Australian recording industry generated nearly $400 million. But, more significantly, the indie music sector accounted for over 30% of that figure, generating $154.8 million.

Even more encouraging is that in this time period, over 6,000 singles and albums were released by Aussie indie artists. 95% of those releases were new artists. Many international reviewers and analysts have noted the rise of Australian indie acts on the world stage, but it is even more encouraging to see how well these artists’ records stack up when it comes to the numbers.

The study, titled AIR Share, was put together with Deloitte Access Economics. AIR general manager Maria Amato was particularly proud of the growth of indie music when she spoke with Triple J.

“This is truly a benchmark report that serves as the first indicator of the enormous cultural and fiscal value the Australian independent recording sector contributes to the Australian economy,” said Amato.

Chris Maund, from Aussie industry titans the Mushroom Group, also commented on the rise of indie labels and the powerful role they now play in the music industry, telling Triple J:

“We sign a lot more Australian artists than the majors. Indie labels can afford to take more risks, and so ensure the diversity of music. Almost every new music genre in history, from hip-hop, grunge to trance, were launched from indie labels – with the passion and low overheads to take such risks.”


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