Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Communications and Arts

Faculty

Education and Arts

First Advisor

Professor Lelia Green

Second Advisor

Professor Cat Hope

Abstract

Since 1998, Perth bands have had a strong presence within the Australian music scene. Primarily, each year between 1998 and 2009, songs by indie pop/rock acts from Perth have charted within national broadcaster triple j’s Hottest 100 countdown. Many of the albums from which these songs have been taken have sold in excess of 35,000 copies, and a number of successful and recognised Perth bands have toured with the nation’s largest music festival, the Big Day Out as well as their own high profile national tours. At the same time, Perth’s local indie pop/rock music industry has undergone tremendous growth and development, becoming more integrated into this nationally focused industry while also making significant inroads internationally. This research comprises 40 in-depth qualitative research interviews with 48 musicians and key industry players from Perth’s indie pop/rock music industry and scene. It presents a socio-culturally based examination to explore its evolution over the past decade. This is presented through an examination of the personal experiences of those involved in development of the local industry and who experienced, or witnessed an increase in success and recognition of Perth bands in national, and at times international, contexts. Broadly, this research explores the repercussions the shift in attitude toward Perth’s indie pop/rock music industry and scene as being worthy of national attention and recognition. In particular, it discusses the implications this has on the functioning of this industry as well as the careers of those within it. Further, this study examines what it means to be a musician and/ or music industry member in and from Perth along with the attitudes toward supporting local music product locally and its attempts to connect with audiences beyond the state. Within this, an examination of the influence of the city’s geographical isolation on the functioning of the local industry and on the ability for musicians to connect with audiences beyond the state is presented alongside an exploration of the role of social networks and the structure of the community of practice evident in this local industry. Additionally, the notions of creativity and creative process, core-periphery, and place and space are examined in relation to the functioning of this industry in business and creative contexts. Underwriting this is an examination of the shifts in the national and international music industries and associated music culture. These shifts all at once influenced the validity for Perth music to enter the national market and impacted upon the ongoing integration of this local industry within the national and international markets.

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