BIGSOUND 2016 – The Topic That Stumped BIGSOUND

“We don’t have any avenue for live music on TV and it’s pretty devastating,” says Sarah Mason, Entertainment Producer for Channel Nine’s Today Show.


Reported for Street Press Australia [READ HERE]

With all questions and damn near no answers to the lingering gap in live music, it’s place on TV, this one has to be the most stumped panel of guests for BIGSOUND featuring Sarah Mason and Paige McGinley, talent producer and booker from Australia, Jim Pitt of Conan and Jon Salter of ATO Records both from the USA.

“Seem like there is a major hole without Australia having any live TV outlet,” expressed Jon Salter with an outside perspective.

Salter, who has cornered every aspect of the record label business, spoke on how integral late night television has on US music, as did Jim Pitt who once put Sinead O’Connor on the SNL stage only to find her tearing in half a picture of The Pope, live.. No seven second delay.

Both Sarah Mason and Paige McGinley had no apparent solutions for the gaping void of live music across Australian television, commercial and ABC, SBS networks – an surmountable effort by any one person or plausible idea. There was plenty of room for nostalgia, though.


“I remember Tex Perkins And You Am I singing Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap on live TV (Live Rove, 2009), drum kits getting kicked over. I love that kind of live tv, I live for that,” recalled McGinley.

McGinley pointed out that, today, Australian TV is covering music by way of music panel shows where churning through 70-odd clearances per show are not necessarily cheaper than live music production costs – leaving us to believe that network producers have no faith in Australia’s interest in watching live music anymore.

Sarah Mason added that for morning television, such as Nine’s Today Show, having live music “smack-bang in the middle of the show, 7.55am, at its highest viewing, the artist has to be able to satisfy every demographic and is competing with breaking news stories.”

What was concluded from this bleak outlook was that live music built for TV needs to be repackaged into something new, such as Carpool Karaoke, for example.

One highlight from the discussion worth noting came out of Salter and Pitt in a non-committal talk of booking Melburnians King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on Conan in the foreseeable future.

“One of the most exciting things is booking those baby bands for their first TV appearance,” said Salter upon closing the talks.


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