Most music fans love a tactile experience – buying a record, checking out the inserts, spinning some vinyl.
But digital music, and streaming in particular, is having a massive impact on the global music scene right now. As a result, the way music is marketed has changed and the way artists connect with their fans has changed.
Record companies have even gone as far as to employ talent scouts to monitor triple j Unearthed data to get the jump on potential new talent.
Ultimately, the digital landscape is driving decisions around which artists get signed to major labels, which get booked for major festivals and which get played on the radio.
Although, according to music pundits, Spotify playlists are the new radio.
“Instead of waiting for your favourite song or music show to come on the radio you can hear what you like 24/7 on playlists curated by people who understand that genre implicitly,” explains Gold Coast music journalist Trevor Jackson.
So, how do Gold Coast artists stack up across the digital sphere? Well, let’s start with Amy Shark…
To those outside of the Gold Coast, Shark would have appeared to come out of nowhere in 2016, but locals know she’s been a fixture on the local music scene for years with community connections that run deep.
In 2016 Amy signed a worldwide record deal with Sony Music Entertainment and Wonderlick Entertainment and scored a management deal with Unified. She also bagged a coveted Like A Version slot and is in the running for a Hottest 100 berth too. That’s all after she was a three-time finalist at the Gold Coast Music Awards and a winner at the Queensland Music Awards for her song Golden Fleece.
Amy’s 2016 single Adore has racked up a whopping 2.7 million streams on Spotify alone. Her 2015 singles – Spits on Girls and Golden Fleece also performed well with 500,000 and 149,000 streams respectively. The video for Adore has also had nearly 400,000 views on YouTube.
Amy Shark says all she ever wanted was for 100 friends to hear her song.
“It’s about to crack three million Spotify spins,” Amy tells More Gold Coast. “It blows my mind.”
“Streaming is breathing new life into the music world and it’s so exciting to be a part of such a changing world. Labels, agents, managers, they all monitor the stream stats very closely. Streaming is so honest, stats don’t lie. It means people like your music.”
Ella Fence, who took out Gold Coast Music Awards for both song and video of the year for the track Unknown Water has had nearly 280,000 streams of the five tracks on her debut EP Wanderlust with track Hunter clocking up 195,000 of those.
On YouTube, the video for Unknown Water was watched 13,500 times and Hunter 2000 times.
The massive number of streams for Hunter on Spotify can be attributed to the track being added to a curated Spotify playlist, says Ella.
“The playlist I’m most proud to be on is the Femme Fatale playlist which also features Amy Winehouse, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Bibi Bourelly and a long list of other women who are huge influences for my music.
“It’s hugely advantageous … when you are grouped into Spotify curated playlists with other artists who are ahead of you and inspire you. Their fans naturally find your music through that process and become yours – and that is worldwide.
“Streaming is the now. Who knows what the future holds. I find it so important as an emerging artist to capitalise on every avenue and opportunity. No you may not make very much money from streaming, but you can use it as a tool and to your advantage to reach your current, potential and future audiences.”
It’s not just the ladies who are killing it in the digital sphere.
Brisbane-based MDWS is an electronic R&B producer combining lush synths, sparse electronica and ambient vocals.
His debut single, Heartbreak, mixed by Gold Coast’s Guy Cooper at Serotonin Productions has had more than one million streams, when you combine the various remixes – of which there are several. Follow-up single Circles also mixed by Guy Cooper, has had 2.8 million streams.
It seems everything Guy touches turns to gold. His production company Serotonin Productions/Human Records has ticked over more than 12 million Spotify streams from music it has produced since 2009 – as well as 1.8 million sales of albums, EPs and singles.
Emerging Gold Coast stars IVEY, Aquila Young and Jacob Lee have also amassed large streaming figures on Spotify. IVEY have been gaining attention from music press across the country and their song Smell of Smoke has 183,000 streams, while Aquila Young scored a BIGSOUND showcase berth this year and has 215,000 streams for the song Vagabond. Jacob Lee, flying mostly under the radar here on the Gold Coast, has 1.6 million streams for his single Chariot.
Another Gold Coast BIGSOUND artist, Lastlings, has nearly clocked up 1 million streams for its track Chills. In fact, Lastlings don’t have a single song on Spotify that has less than a quarter of a million streams.
Burleigh favourites Hanlon Brothers, who took out Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2015 Gold Coast Music Awards featured on a single by CODIO called Lose Control. The track has had 276,000 Spotify streams.
Mike Perry, better known as PACES, has been on the Gold Coast most of his life. Finding his feet in music projects such as Surecut Kids, PACES in 2015 released his debut album Vacation but a track released prior to that Nothing’s Forever has a whopping 2.3 million streams on Spotify.
Other digital successes include Woodford Folk Festival favourites and Gold Coasters Bobby Alu and newcomer Emily Wurramura who both have more than 100,000 streams for singles on Spotify, with Karl S Williams ticking up 75,000 for his song White Hotel.
There are artists you can see most weeks locally who are also gaining serious attention on Spotify. The Lyrical with 1.6 million streams for F**k It All, Peach Fur with 118,000 streams for Glimmer, Yes Sir Noceur with 17,000 streams for their song Voodoo.
Metal rockers Darkc3ll, setting the standard for Gold Coast/SEQ metal bands have YouTube sorted with some 22,500 views of their most recent single Preacher.
To find out where you can see these bands performing locally, check out the More Gold Coast gig guide.