Jack River commends ARIA on launch of New Release Chart: “This kind of ambition is needed more than ever”

“Aussie artists deserve a chance to be charted in real time,” River told NME

Jack River has applauded the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) after they announced the launch of a new weekly chart category, the New Release Chart, and a reconfigured schedule for the longstanding Australian Single and Album Charts.

The latter charts will now be published at 4pm AEST every Friday, beginning with tomorrow’s (June 10) installation. This, the industry body said in a press release shared last Sunday (June 5), will give Australian artists a boost in exposure, allowing them “to be in the spotlight before the main charts are released”. The standard Singles and Albums Charts will still be released at the usual time of 5pm AEST every Saturday.

As for the newly established New Release Chart, ARIA said the category was created “in response to the constantly evolving landscape of music consumption”, and will allow for “a greater, more dynamic insight into how Australians are engaging with the freshest new and emerging music”.

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The new chart will focus on both local and international releases, categorising them by popularity over a four-month cycle. In order to prevent it being dominated by artists that tend to have multiple concurrently charting releases, the New Release Chart will be restricted to three entries per artist.

In a press statement, ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd explained that “as the musical landscape evolves, so does the way Australians buy, stream, listen and engage with the music they love”.

She continued: “When that happens, it’s our role to find new opportunities to celebrate fresh releases and shine a light on our home-grown artists, continuing our proud history of championing the incredible, talented and dedicated industry we are lucky to call our own.

Herd went on to say that the New Release Chart would amplify attention towards “exactly what new music Australians are seeking out and introducing into their lives each week”. Up-and-coming acts are at the core of the initiative, she said, noting that ARIA “hope this will showcase hot and exciting talent, including our local artists, as well as emerging music trends”.

Speaking to NME, River said the new chart would help Australian artists stand out, especially in a landscape where some international artists can dominate the charts for months at a time.

It “gives new music a chance to enter the charts without being dwarfed by longstanding international releases”, she said, asserting that “Australians deserve to know about amazing releases moving to the top of the pile, and Aussie artists deserve a chance to be charted in real time.”

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River also stressed the importance of metric figures in the growth of an artist’s career, saying that “the relevance of charting can’t be understated” because “it’s a huge part of an artist’s career and a way for both [the] artist and industry to measure success”. In the past, she continued, “it was becoming near impossible for a local artist to make even a brief appearance in the ARIA Charts.”

River has long been a champion for the recognition of local artists on a more significant scale. Last July, for example, she called on Channel 7 to prioritise music by Australian artists during its coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her petition was successful, and led to the launch of an industry-wide campaign to increase support for local music played in local businesses and on-air.

That campaign, dubbed Our Soundtrack Our Stories, saw widespread support from industry bodies like ARIA, and was eventually backed by commercial streaming service Qsic. River noted that ARIA have been “extremely supportive” of the movement, and further commended the “monumental shifts to the [annual ARIA Awards] and judging” under Herd’s lead. “I think this kind of ambition is needed more than ever,” she said.

Last month, ARIA partnered with River to launch the former’s new event series, In Conversation, which will see artists interview each other to discuss their experiences within the music industry. The first event – a live conversation between River and UK indie-pop trio The Wombats – will take place at Sydney’s Factory Theatre next Tuesday (June 14). All proceeds from the event will be donated to Support Act – find tickets here.

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