BRISBANE, Australia — With the 2022 ARIA Awards now done and dusted, organizers are looking ahead to next year’s edition — and a brand-new category.
The Australian recorded music industry’s 37th annual ceremony will debut an award that celebrates the best use of Australian music in the creative and advertising space.
The new trophy coincides with the launch of Our Soundtrack Our Ads, a call-out to the Australian advertising industry to invest their music budgets into homegrown artists to soundtrack their work.
Spearheaded by ARIA Award-nominated recording artist Holly Rankin, the singer, songwriter and entrepreneur otherwise known as Jack River, Our Soundtrack Our Ads is the platform through which brands and creatives can gain eligibility for the new award.
It’s “an exciting opportunity for brands, creatives and the music industry to unite with a common goal of championing local music and local storytelling,” comments Rankin, whose debut full-length album Sugar Mountain opened at No. 11 on the ARIA Album Chart in 2018, and earned three ARIA Award nominations.
“We have such amazing talent here in our backyard, so getting to hear new and upcoming voices across more commercials, social media campaigns and creative content is exciting for the next generation of artists, brands and music lovers alike.”
Rankin got the ball rolling when, during the Olympic Games in July 2021, she noticed so many of the Aussie triumphs in Tokyo were beamed back home to the soundtrack of popular tunes from abroad.
So she took a stand.
Local businesses and media should do more to champion Australian music through its outlets and on commercials, she wrote in a PSA. “We need you more than ever. We wanna be your soundtrack,” read a post on her socials.
The essay went viral, commitments were made, and Our Soundtrack Our Stories was launched, to promote the use of Australian music across local businesses and media.
“We’ve been workshopping for the last 12 months, just feeling out how this would work, and making sure it would be super-authentic to both industries. And a true partnership,” explains Saynaree Oudomvilay, PR & Communications Senior Account Director at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, a partner in the new initiative.
Our Soundtrack our Ads is “really an extension of the legacy Holly has created,” she continues.
The ARIA Award should create some healthy competition. “We wanted to make (the campaign) super-accessible, and not just put out a lofty claim but back it with something tangible. The award does that,” Oudomvilay tells Billboard. “It’s also good to hold everyone accountable and make sure everyone puts their money where their mouth is in making those campaigns and engaging artists and supporting local.”
Early next year, partners in the campaign expect to share more details on what the initiative looks like, how brands can get involved, and more. In the meantime, brands, creatives and agencies can view the “pledge” and sign up for more information at the official ARIA website.
“Advertising has such an important role in impacting change across society. It creates ideas and tells stories that leave an important mark on culture. Music is no different,” comments ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd.
“I’m thrilled to celebrate talent and creativity across the two industries with this first-of-its-kind award in 2023.”
With the support and influence of Australia’s ad industry, she continues, “we can continue to create opportunities for Australian music to be heard in all its forms, by all who create it.”