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Battle scars, grief and trauma run deep in the music industry.

My own experience includes ongoing, deep psychological wounds. The music industry spat me out twice — traumatic immediate loss of income, identity, purpose and imagined futures built on integrity, hard work and visions that failed to materialise.

I can now pinpoint, in the rearview mirror, both the summer of 1993–94 and the spring of 2008 as defining perceived industry ‘failures.’ Cognitive neuroscience research explains the influence past experiences have on behaviour. Often unconscious, these psychological and physical triggers explain the negative effect on our wellbeing. …


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Seeking to understand why my Spotify use has changed and is now increasingly skewed toward algorithmic lists I researched a “Digital Cultures” paper for university – this is an edited version.

Canadian cultural critic, Marshall McLuhan would define Spotify as a medium, and therefore differentiated from the music (content) that is played on the platform. He would argue it is not the music that matters so much but what we do, as humans, with it is that has an impact on culture.

As a digital media platform Spotify functions within what new media scholar Jose van Dijck calls a ‘techno-cultural construct’ meaning Spotify can shape users’ activities instead of merely facilitating them. The technological engineering of Spotify was socially shaped by the desire of users to curate personal playlists — now the foundation for the consumption of music. …


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Music is everywhere. We hear it in coffee shops, salons, bars, restaurants, gyms, hotel and theatre foyers, workplaces, shopping malls, family leisure centres, tourism attractions and the list goes on.

We feel music through our hearts and communicate it through our brains — music creates a bridge between the heart and head.

Research in music and neuroscience demonstrates the many fascinating ways that music affects human’s mood and behaviour.

Barry Goldstein summarised here the four ways that music affects the brain : emotion, memory, neuroplasticity and attention. Listening to music affects our emotional and physical experiences. A 2009 study from Petr Janata at the University of California found evidence of how familiar music can reconnect us to meaningful moments of our past experiences. The University of Newcastle Australia, broke ground with a study in how popular music can assist patients with severe brain injuries recall their personal memories. Hearing music can help orientate and map alternative routes to reorganise our brains. Music provides a key to engage our brains and hold our attention. …


A wall of flat screen TVs with different images on each one
A wall of flat screen TVs with different images on each one

A response to the Australia Council for the Arts provocations in the September 2020 Discussion Paper, re-imagine What next?

The discussion paper centres the idea that COVID-19 has provided a “clear imperative: future disruptions are inevitable, and the arts and culture industries must rapidly adjust to ensure they don’t just survive but thrive in the future.”

I was immediately curious — what would the collective arts and culture industries’ artists, artsworkers and organisations consider in the consultation to follow? …


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PART THREE : Play Data, Royalty Distribution and Equity

How royalties are distributed to the owners of songs and sound recordings deepens the complexity of the issues unpacked in FAIR PLAY Part One and Part Two.

Data has reshaped the conditions of economic exchange in the 21st Century.

The UK Intellectual Property Office commissioned research from Ulster University in 2019. Their Music 2025 The Music Data Dilemma: issues facing the music industry in improving data management report adopted a holistic view. Inspired by SST (Social Shaping of Technology) with an emphasis on the contingent, complex and intricate relationships involved in innovation. The research evidenced strong and growing consensus that “transparent and efficient data infrastructure is key to building a more sustainable music industry.” …


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JULY 2020

The ACCC has re-authorised the monopoly of APRA and by extension, OneMusic Australia. Until 2024 APRA will maintain the status quo as the exclusive power broker between Australian small businesses and music rights holders.

Over 18 months the publicly funded ACCC received a total of 76 submissions of which 88% were critical of APRA and OneMusic. Queensland’s Nightlife Music alone invested over half a million $ to fight for music industry reform to benefit Australian artists and businesses.

Urgent reform could have expedited crucial growth of Australian innovation and technology and returned increased revenue to Australian artists when their music is played in public places. …


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Why I care about public performance income for artists

I married the co-founder of Nightlife Music in 1997. A computer programmer and a fan of happy house music. Tim.

Through the 1990s and 2000s, every three months, Tim would diligently collate all the data from what music was played on the Nightlife Music systems around Australia. A quarterly royalty report for record companies and APRA would be printed and posted.

Line by line, reporting the detail of which artists’ music videos had been played in an increasing number of Australia’s pubs, clubs and venues as the Australian company grew.

I was an artist manager through those years. I was building careers through live performances and selling CDs. I understood the mechanics of copyright and revenue streams for artists. I was proud that our family business played its part in getting Australian artists paid royalties when their music was played in public. …


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PART TWO : Governance and Scrutiny of Australian PROs

Catch up on PART ONE: The ambiguity of One Music’s ‘Copying Licence.” here.

Governance is not the most exciting topic or perspective of the music sector. It would be much more fun to dance and talk about our favourite new songs, bands, get back to live gigs and discussing remixes! Stay with me, as more than ever in the traumatic post-COVID19 rebuild of the Australian Music Industry interrogation is now required.

The Governance Institute of Australia defines governance as:

“…the system by which an organisation is controlled and operates, and the mechanisms by which it, and its people, are held to account. Ethics, risk management, compliance and administration are all elements of governance.”


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PART ONE : The ambiguity of One Music’s ‘Copying Licence.”

Australian Background Providers of Music (BPMs) are calling for a ‘level playing field,’ copyright clarity and fair competition for music streaming platforms in public performance.

Revenue from playing live, songwriting and recordings are what sustain the livelihoods of your favourite bands and artists. As Australian venues open back up to audiences post-COVID19 much rightful attention is being placed on getting artists back on stages in live music venues across the country.

When an artist plays live and earns an income from ticket sales that is not the only music you hear in venues. As important to earning a living from live shows is the income generated from public performance of Australian artists songs and recordings. …


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Thinking, doing and being. Collective transformation at our boundaries.

Our bodies, senses, conscious, unconscious and higher selves’ are living our lives. Isolation and a daily meditation practice have allowed for some thinking time. Reflection. Slowing down, mindfully observing the un-doing of modern life. Un-doing the working, travelling, studying, reading, consulting, deadline-ing, function-ing, gig-ing, invoicing, eating, laundry-ing, grooming, exercising, zooming, re-framing, re-zoning, re-modelling, re-imagining . . .and landing into simply being. Being within, breathing nature, intuiting the soul’s wisdom and sensing ‘knowing’.

Joe Dispenza examines the idea that we humans have three ‘brains’ — our neo-cortex/thinking conscious brain, our limbic/chemical emotional brain and our cerebellum/reptilian unconscious brain — neural connectivity driving our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Dropping into the heart, observing our hands’ actions and mindful of thoughts inspired a curiosity about the transitions between these ‘brains’ and the threshold of each. The spaces between one inner life, one body’s thinking, doing and being and the thoughts, spaces and bodies of others. Wondering how our past internal and external experiences inform the present connectivity between how we think, do and be. …

About

Leanne de Souza

Governance | Leadership | Advocacy | Strategy | Research | Undergraduate at UQ | music, books, conversation, alchemy, justice and champagne

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