New Models of Distribution - Australian Broadcasting Corp Presentation


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Stephen Adams lives in Sydney where he now works as Producer, Australian Music Unit for ABC Classic FM. At the ABC, Adams's role includes co-producing the specialty radio program New Music Up Late , commissioning and producing recordings and other special Australian music projects, involvement with international broadcast program exchanges, and producing an Australian Music website.

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New Models of Distribution - Australian Broadcasting Corp Presentation

  1. 1. AMU Web Context, Projects & Challenges for a public broadcaster presenting new Australian music on line For Soundstreams: New Models of Distribution Conference by Stephen Adams, May 2008 (Producer, Australian Music Unit, ABC Classic FM, Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  2. 2. Background 1: ABC Radio • Australian Broadcasting Commission (now Corporation) established 1933 • ABC funding from general tax revenue - no licensing fees. • 6 ABC radio symphony orchestras - one in each state capital • ABC Radio now includes 4 national networks: Radio National, ABC Classic FM, Triple J & News Radio plus ABC Local Radio stations across country • Orchestras progressively corporatised and divested from ABC 1990s – 2007 • 2008 – orchestras independent in finance and programming. Special relationship with ABC through Service Level Agreement providing a dollar-neutral commitment to record and broadcast all orchestral series concerts.
  3. 3. Background 2:ABC Classic FM Focus on coverage of Australian performance • Music production teams in every state capital (3 teams in Sydney and Melbourne) • 500+ concert & studio performances recorded & broadcast p/year • Concert broadcasts: midday & 8pm, Mon. - Sat. (70% local, 30% international exchange content) • ABC concert recordings also broadcast in weekly programs New Music Up Late, Jazz Up Late and Jazztrack • Sunday Live free broadcast concerts presented around country 10 months per year • Australian Music Unit created to support extended use of Australian content and exchange programs
  4. 4. ABC Radio on the web Radio web success stories include: • Radio National podcasts onal.htm) - huge international take-up for in-depth talk and feature program content) • Triple J’s JTV ( - radio moving into music and youth magazine TV content) & Unearthed ( - user music uploads with audience responses feeding on-air programming). • DIG ( - on-line automated ‘radio’ & TV content for mainstream popular music, jazz and country music
  5. 5. ABC Classic FM on web Classical radio not ABC priority for web resources. ABC Classic FM (CFM) website developed for: • music playlists (e.g. • program/presenter info. (e.g. Website maintained 3-days-a-week web, expanded to 5 days in May 07. 2006-2008 - shift towards artist and publisher agreements leads to on-demand web streaming of on-air programs.
  6. 6. Australian Music Website Background to CFM’s Australian Music website • January 2004 - disappearance of on-air ‘home’ for Australian music with closure of weekly specialty programs New Music Australia and The Listening Room. • July 2004 - new temporary specialist position – Australian Music Curator – created to pursue opportunities for Australian music programming across the network • October 2004 – becomes clear that cross-network programming is a long-term project which will not provide a focus for new music and other specialist audiences. Decision to establish Australian Music website ( • No new resources for design or content creation. Work within existing text & list structure. Use pilot projects to expand content & explore diverse models for presenting new music.
  7. 7. Pilot project #1 Web as sonic gallery & music as objects in space Sonic Environments and previous incarnations (Drawing a long bow; Shortcuts; ModArt05; Aurora in the Metropolis…) presented as audio on-demand streaming with text and images. Problem - temporary nature doesn’t suit secondary & tertiary education audience - a major potential audience for this content.
  8. 8. Pilot project #2 Radio programs on-line for posterity • Canberra’s Calling heritage project • Elision 20th anniversary concert Problem - Addresses long-term access to Australian heritage music content on line but doesn’t use web resources to attract or engage audience.
  9. 9. Pilot project #3 The A-Z of Spiritual Music Associative linking of • concepts (text & talk) • musical experiences (music recordings) Developed by composer Richard Vella in collaboration with ABC. Q - Could a similar architecture be developed for more diverse and even user-generated content - a music- experiential Wiki?
  10. 10. The AMU podcast Audiences want downloads not streaming. • 2005-2007 Independent new music artists shift from opposition to desire for their work to be downloaded. • New recording contracts incorporating download rights. • October 2007 - enough content available to begin weekly new Australian music podcast, building regular on-line audience for new music.
  11. 11. Pilot project #4 The Orpheus Project • Artists/listeners create and upload short musical works responding to opera & Orpheus story with samples from Monteverdi’s l’Orfeo. • Project trials user-generated content and creates relationship between network’s core content and broad-based new music community. • Diverse new work generated, with audience choice and ABC choice winners receiving commissions for new work. • Huge download statistics at culmination of project - 300,000 downloads in final week! Definitely need to do more of this, BUT need to find more ways for audience to interact on line, and to streamline in-house processing to make increased on-line activity sustainable.
  12. 12. Pilot projects #5 Val Camonica Pieces & The Lute Project Radio grappling with rich-media: music with independent film art; & music video feature content Q How do we pay for independently -produced rich media content? Q How does a radio station build in-house capacity with multi-media?
  13. 13. Issues Arising • Website design - as quantity, diversity & richness of content develops, how do we re-design websites to be both inviting and navigable? • Audiences - how do we promote our on-line new music resources to relevant old and new audiences? What are the possibilities for u.g.c. and the development of on- line communities? • International competition - Will on-line broadcasters and other music presenters hyper-link together to survive, or fight to the death? Or is the web an opportunity for new and local music presentation? • Radio on line - How will audio specialists become strong producers of visual content & manage added burden of making on-line content? Or is there a large role for purely aural radio experiences on the web? How can the vast heritage archive of national music recordings be made available on line? • Artist fees - With no new money, how do we pay artists for on-line rights? Or should it be seen as promotion or just more broadcasting? • Copyright and royalty collection - What are appropriate models for artists receiving remuneration for on-line presentation of their work? What about creative commons and the ideal of the web as a creative melting pot of freely exchanged ideas? Cf: Pool - UGC research partnership with the tertiary sector - - launching in July 2008