Media in Australia: Popular Music

Today’s music and associated industries are facing a number of challenges due to the changes in technology and behaviours of music fans. In The Media & Communications in Australia, Shane Homan discusses the ongoing battle for copyright and revenue, which turned quite ugly in 2002 when heavy metal band Metallica and the Recording Industry Association of America took successful legal action against file-sharing service Napster that year (2010, pp. 224). The two plaintiffs argued that downloading breaches copyright protection for music, and leads to a loss of revenue. (2010, pp. 225).

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in September 2012 that Australians “download music illegally more frequently, by head of population, than any other country”, making Australians the world leaders in illegal music downloads (Zuel, B 2012). Despite this, Australians also pay for digital downloads and also buy records in a physical format “at a rate which surprises the industry worldwide”. This seems to indicate that Australia are one of the biggest music consumers in the world and will do whatever it takes to obtain the music they want, whether legally or illegally. With digital music sales up 37% to last year, perhaps the Australian music industry isn’t in such a bad state after all.


Homan, S. (2010), Chapter 13, The Media & Communications in Australia, 3rd edition, Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin.

Zuel, B 2012, ‘Australians world’s worst for illegal music downloads’, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September, viewed 28 October 2012, <>.



This is the ninth of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The next  two will be uploaded over the course of a few weeks, the links to which can be found here:


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