SWOT

SWOT: Aussies Take to the (Global) Stage

Despite the raft of negative news about the state of music festivals, there’s actually a fair amount of exciting developments happening. 
SWOT: Aussies Take to the (Global) Stage
Photo by Joey Thompson / Unsplash
In: SWOT

Welcome to SWOT by Sound Story, your inside track on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats looming for the creative industries.

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Trending: The company behind Roxy Jacenko’s aborted $10m house giveaway will be wound up, with legal counsel telling a court the PR maven was the “only adult” in the irreparably broken business partnership. Words by Eliza Barr. Source: The Daily Telegraph

🎵 Music: This year’s Australian Music Prize has been increased from $30,000 to $50,000 – proving SoundMerch’s “commitment and support of Australian artists”. Words by Ellie Robinson. Source: The Music

📰 Media: Uber's David Griffiths joins Stan to lead brand and creative. Source: Mi3.

💰 Advertising: Amazon Prime Video has started displaying advertising on the streaming platform. Movies and TV shows will include "limited" advertisements that run before and during playback in 10 countries, including Australia, the UK and the US. Word by Jason Pollock. Source: AdNews

📲 Tech: News Corp Australia and TikTok held talks over a content deal that would have seen the Murdoch-controlled company paid for its videos in one of the first such agreements for the Bytedance-owned short form video platform worldwide. Words by John Buckley. Source: Capital Brief

📜 Government: The Albanese government has thrown a last-minute lifeline to keep Network Ten on air for 500,000 people in Western Australia, after a joint venture between Seven West Media and WIN Corporation came within days of turning off the signal. Words by Sam Buckingham-Jones. Source: The AFR

🌶️ Spicy: Lily Allen is selling feet pics on OnlyFans for $10 a pop after her lil piggies went viral. Words by Rachel Choy. Source: Pedestrian.


Strength: Pop Gets Its Bop Back

There’s a lot happening in the world of pop music at the moment, and it has people talking for all the right reasons. 

👉 Is there a new vanguard of pop music?

👉 Many commentators and observers seem to think so. Nell Geraets in The Sydney Morning Herald, for example, explores the recent explosion of Chappell Roan, Charli XCX and Sabrina Carpenter in this piece about how they’re redefining pop.

👉 These artists have, of course, been slogging it out for a long time, and local music commentator Nic Kelly has an interesting take on what happens when artists “blow up”, and the way their fans react when they think they were onto the trend first.

👉 If you want a more local twist on emerging talent, you can revisit Rolling Stone AU/NZ’s list of the 25 most exciting and innovative artists emerging from the region.

👉 And here, Aussie producer and DJ What So Not reveals the top five Aussie acts who (currently) have fewer than 5,000 social media followers.


Weakness: Holiday! Celebrate?

Mike Sneesby has gone on holiday. It’s become a PR nightmare for the embattled Nine CEO. So this week we ask: Should Sneesby have stayed home? 

📌 Zanda: It’s been an incredibly tough few weeks for legacy Australia media, with the biggest players making hundreds of job cuts. The advertising landscape continues to shift globally, away from traditional media and towards the big tech platforms. So while not a huge surprise to see the likes of News Corp, Seven and Nine reducing headcounts, it’s important to remember that a lot of great people are now facing unemployment. From a corporate communications perspective, this has been one of the most important times in recent memory to make sure that the optics around the redundancies and broader business are spot on. From the Darren Wick and Adrian Foo headlines, to the fact that it failed to complete its round of redundancies before the end of the financial year, it’s been a dire couple of months for Nine when it comes to PR and reputation. Mike Sneesby may well have had a holiday planned for some time, but as a source told Sky: “The timing is bad. He doesn’t seem to understand how angry the staff are.” Sneesby has been criticised for failing to plan for the eventuality that money stopped flowing from Google and Facebook. The next few years will be filled with uncertainty, and organisations like Nine will have to adapt or die. It’s more important now than ever that their leader has the trust and buy-in of his employees. Sneesby categorically does not.

📌 Jane: This is a tough predicament. The past few months would not have been easy for Sneesby, with allegations of inappropriate behaviour and bullying within the organisation, revenue challenges, and an understanding of the huge impact the restructure would have on staff and the business. But timing is everything. The optics of a CEO taking an overseas holiday after announcing significant layoffs are far from ideal. Hasn’t anyone learnt anything from former PM Scott Morrison’s ill-timed Hawaiian escape? It’s tough at the top – but CEOs and senior executives are paid well to handle immense pressure and stress. Everyone needs a holiday and time with their family, but knowing redundancies were imminent, it would have been wiser to schedule his holiday for when the dust had settled.


Opportunity: Aussies Take to the (Global) Stage

Despite the raft of negative news about the state of music festivals, there’s actually a fair amount of exciting developments happening. 

👉 Local festival Beyond The Valley was named among the world’s top festivals recently.

👉 The UK’s biggest festival, Glastonbury, has also been in the news, including for having two female headliners – Dua Lipa and SZA – for the first time in its history.

👉 One of those headliners brought out Aussie Kevin Parker, from Tame Impala fame, for her set.

👉 Parker wasn’t the only local hitting the Glasto stage. Whadjuk Noongar artists, including Barry McGuire, also performed alongside superstar DJ Fatboy Slim.

👉 And back at home, Strawberry Fields Festival is going gangbusters, having sold out Early Bird Tickets, as well as Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of general release. The festival said a “VERY limited” number of final release tickets will hit the market on Tuesday.


Threat: Disrupters Get Disrupted

More companies have fallen on hard times, putting more people out of work, and driving consumers to already dominant alternatives. 

👉 New local airline Bonza will be placed into liquidation after its involuntary administration earlier this year. 

👉 The decision comes after the administrator could not sell the business or its assets.

👉 Online bookseller Booktopia could be on a similar trajectory, after it was placed into voluntary administration. The Sydney Morning Herald said the series of unfortunate events which led to the company’s demise is a page turner.

👉 It had been scrambling to secure emergency funding, and is now exploring a potential sale or recapitalisation.

👉 The AFR is now reporting that online retailer Kogan.com and bookstore chain QBD Books have now registered their interest with administrators.


The Fun Stuff

Quote of the Week: “The laws contain significant gaps that will ultimately undermine the whole anti-siphoning framework and force Australians to pay thousands of dollars to streaming services to access the sporting events that Australians expect to watch for free,” Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair, in a (fairly inflammatory) after the anti-siphoning laws passed the Senate.

🎙️ Podcast of the Week: This week’s recommendation comes courtesy of Lary Rosin, President of Edison Research. “I’ve been binging through back episodes of a show based here in the States called Hit Parade, which is about music. It’s a really, really well done show from Slate, which looks at the history of music through the charts – so songs that placed high in the charts and artists that did well. It’s extremely well produced, and I think anyone from anywhere might really enjoy at least some of the episodes. So check out Hit Parade which comes from Slate here in the US,” he told the virtual audience at this week’s Infinite Dial presentation. Listen to Hit Parade here.

Written by
Sound Story
Sound Story is Australia’s leading strategic communications consultancy for the creative industries with clients spanning music, media, advertising and technology.
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