Interview // Maria Amato on: The AIR Awards and Indie-Con


Hi Maria, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. How are you doing in this strange time?

It’s not fun being locked down but we all have to count our blessings and find other ways to get things done

You’re the CEO of AIR, can you tell us a bit about what AIR is and what you do?

The Australian Independent Record Label Association (AIR) is a national, not-for-profit trade body based in Melbourne that promotes and represents the interests, growth and long-term development of the Australian Independent recording industry in both local and international markets.

Its members include Australian Independent artists, label and distributors, ranging from small sole traders to some of the biggest independent operations in the country, all of which represent a full spectrum of music genres. AIR also has a subscription program for tech and service companies to become ‘Friends of AIR’ and offer exclusive benefits to our member base

AIR is well regarded for the services they provide their members and their overall contribution to the success and sustainability of the Australian independent recorded music sector. The organisation’s main objective is to facilitate business relationships. Over the years this has been achieved via the curation of numerous conferences, presentations, workshops and industry-tailored events that increase members access to industry networking, collaboration and educational opportunities.

AIR strives to recognise, promote and celebrate the success of Australia’s Independent Music sector and does this via a weekly production of Australian Independent Music charts, a newsletter and a strong social push to promote new independent music.

In 2006 AIR began holding an annual Awards event – called the AIR Awards thanks to support from industry partners & sponsors which has become a key event on the Australian music calendar, with hundreds of industry guests in attendance every year and performances from some of Australia’s finest artists. Over 200 individual Awards have been presented to date and for many winners it has been the first industry recognition they have received, serving to help springboard them to national and international attention, recognition and success.

The independent music sector is a broad genre sector, artists such as Goyte, Paul Kelly, A.B. Original, John Butler, Dan Sultan, Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard & The Wizard, The Cat Empire, Lior and the Waifs are proudly independent Australian business who have received AIR Awards and had their careers catapulted to international recognition and success

This year the AIR awards are going to be held virtually, how will this occur? What can we look forward to with the changed format?

The 2020 AIR Awards will be held as a hybrid event from Adelaide’s Lion Arts Factory on Thursday 1st October and will be broadcast via YouTube as a one hour special from (8pm Adelaide time) and you can watch here:

Here is our promo video:

It’s wonderful to see such a diverse list of nominees this year for the awards. Particularly women! Have you seen any trends occurring with the nominees this year in comparison to the previous years?

The talent pool just keeps growing each year. We have also added more award categories this year too

Australia is starting to see a great mix of up-and-coming acts young acts that are dominating the industry. Do you have any thoughts on this?

It’s so great to see people doing what they love and connecting with engaged audiences

How do you believe the music industry is developing and changing? How is this reflected in the nominees for the 2020 AIR Awards?

The nominees for the 2020 Awards celebrate the success of 2019 releases. Covid-19 restrictions have put the brakes on a lot of touring activity and live performances in 2020 and Artists have had to find new ways to engage with audiences. In times of trouble though, we turn to Music and the Arts to uplift us and now more than ever they need our support

AIR are just blitzing it with a tonne of incredible opportunities to be involved in the industry- particularly with the upcoming IndieCon. What is the story of IndieCon? Where did it come from?

Indie-Con is now in its 4th year and was created to with AIR artist and label members in mind to provide opportunities to address issues affecting the industry, explore new ideas, provide professional development and networking opportunities

How do you feel the new online format will affect IndieCon?

Whilst its disappointing that we cannot all meet up in Adelaide to hold the conference face to face due to Covid-19 restrictions, by going online we can reach wider, global audiences and that’s a good opportunity

What can attendees expect from the two-day online conference?

See full Program here:

Personally, what advice would you give to members of the entertainment industry in these times? I’m sure there are a lot of disheartened people at the moment.

Focus on what you can do not what you cannot, try and stay positive and find other ways to do things you would normally do – every challenge has an opportunity hidden within it but we need to think outside the box to find it

Any final words?

Do what you love –

Thank you so much for answering a quick Q&A, we’re super excited about everything that AIR are doing and can’t wait to see how the awards/ indie con pan out!


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