The Silver Linings of COVID-19 & Australia’s Music Industry

Image Supplied: Reyko.

In the 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census, the Victorian capital was revealed to house more live music venues per capita than any other city in the world. Better than London (1 per 34,350), New York (1 per 18,554) and LA (1 per 19,607), Melbourne had one venue per 9,503 residents. Not only that, but the study also estimated that the 73,000+ annual live gigs across Melbourne in 2017 had created 18,331 part-time jobs for musicians, DJs, venue staff, production staff and security personnel.

Yet fast forward to today and Victoria has experienced four state lockdowns and contributed to 68 per cent of the countries COVID cases with more than 26,000 jobs lost in the Victorian Arts and Recreational Services sector from February to August. Melbourne, like the rest of the world, continue to endure the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the thousands of Melbourne creatives impacted by the pandemic is artist and producer, Reyko (stylized as REYKO!).

Before the first lockdown, Reyko and his Hip-hop collective New Wave Infinity ambitiously invited 60 local artists and producers to collaborate on their debut project, All CornersRecorded across the first week of 2020, Reyko spent the remainder of the year in lockdown, mixing and mastering the collaborative album and beginning to record his debut solo EP, BEHIND TIRED EYES

Image Supplied: Nick Rae.

The streaming profits from All Corners were donated to The Healing Foundation, a charity that supports Stolen Generation survivors, families and their communities. Though with the inability to tour and gig, Reyko’s livelihood as a musician was severely affected and the Melbourne creative was forced to adapt to the indefinite challenges of COVID-19 and reconsider his career approach.

In the initial stages of Melbourne’s first lockdown, New Wave Infinity member and music video director Nick Rae felt the music community showed unprecedented support towards one another.

“We had some really cool stuff like there was this movement where everyone would start to share each other’s stuff and their profiles and pushing the message of supporting creators. We started to think outside the box on how we can keep this movement going but as we progressed weeks later I think we saw a shift in general people becoming far more isolated and normalised to that concept.”

As more lockdowns followed, and the Australian music industry remained vulnerable, Nick Rae shared his experience post-lockdown in an Instagram post detailing the impact of the pandemic on his mental health and career as a videographer.

“I felt like I fell on my face after lockdown because I had normalised myself to this routine that suddenly changed and there were these expectations to go and now socialise and go work and it took me a long time to adapt back to that,” Rae said.

According to a recent study by RMIT University, the Melbourne lockdowns incited a loss of routine and heavily impacted their mental health issues and opportunities to network. Despite the radical change in livelihood, Rae reflects on his time during lockdown as the beginning of a new chapter in his career.

“Previously, my process was to just film shit that looked cool and smash out videos as much as I could. In lockdown, I got more invested in the art and I looked far more deeper into analysing paintings and visual artwork. I realised I need to be more selective with what I capture, and curate it in a sense that so much more is said in so much less time,” Rae said.

“I feel like I’ve established the seeds of a stronger brand, refined my process and become more open as an artist and that’s what I kind of got from lockdown that I’m still incorporating into my work.”

Outside of their own work, Nick Rae recognises the silver linings COVID-19 presents to the Australian music industry, indicating that the pandemic has reshaped how artists market themselves and instilled a stronger appreciation for collaboration and independency.

“A lot of these artists have home studios that wouldn’t have existed 10-20 years ago and a lot of artists would’ve halted completely. But because we have access to that, a lot of people have created a new catalogue. From what I’ve seen from my bookings and artists reaching out to me, a lot of them have explored different sounds and have tried to drastically tried to increase their sound and branding. They made so much improvement in such a short amount of time.”

Sharing the same sentiment, Reyko believes creatives will approach their future in the industry with a higher regard for time and opportunity.

“People are just realising that the lost opportunities of last year are now facing them directly and they have to take it. It’s really good, as bad as everything was, it’s been a wake up call for a lot of people.”

Frank Tremain.


Implications of COVID-19 on the Australian Music Industry

In 2019, Hip-hop in Australia was entering a new era as the perception of ‘Aussie Hip-hop’ began to be more widely challenged by the success of new styles, trends and faces in the scene.

Chillinit and Nerve solidified Grime’s influence on the scene, Drill began to take dominance with ONEFOUR and Hp Boyz leading the way, and The Kid Laroi released his debut label single ‘Let Her Go’, setting him on an unprecedented trajectory for international success.

Image: Danny Howe/Unsplash.

Owner of Melbourne’s Marshall Street Studios, Bennett Ferguson, attributes the success of local Hip-hop in 2019 to the work from artists in the last decade, who gained national recognition and challenged unflattering stereotypes of the genre.

“2019 was when a lot of things started to break out and do big numbers but I think that’s a culmination of what happened in the ten years before it. That’s just when time meets opportunity and the right group dropped the right track,” Ferguson said.

There was no telling the height local Hip-hop was beginning to reach, but on January 25th 2020, its projection was stunted by the announcement of Australia’s first four cases of COVID-19.

By the end of March, community transmission increased significantly and the Australian government shut their borders to non-residents, closed non-essential services and introduced lockdown restrictions. Melbourne in particular, was hit the hardest by the pandemic, with lockdown restrictions being reinstated throughout the months of winter, the start of the new year, and now, during June of 2021, their lockdown has been extended for a further seven days.

Dr Catherine Strong and Dr Fabian Cannizzo from RMIT University investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry in their research paper, ‘Understanding Challenges To The Victorian Music Industry During COVID-19’. According to the study, “the impact of this on musicians, venue owners and operators, road crews and production companies, and associated professionals and personnel from managers to PR to labels and beyond, was immediate and devastating.”

Key Findings:

  • 44 per cent of respondents lost all their music-related work in the pandemic, with those in full-time employment dropping from 34 per cent to seven per cent.
  • 57 per cent of respondents were worried about paying for basics like food and rent
  • More than 80 per cent of respondents thought their involvement in the music industry would be different post COVID-19, with almost three in five considering leaving the industry all together

Source: RMIT University.

Image: Jon Tyson/Unsplash.

AUD’$ editor Matthew Craig describes the “domino effect” caused by the initial cancellation of live music.

“If they’re not having shows they’re not having advertisement and that impacts us. It just impacts down the supply chain. This whole industry is so reliant on the live sector,” Craig said.

Although the full extent of COVID’s impact is yet to be revealed, I Lost My Gig Australia, an initiative by the Australian Music Industry Network and Australian Festival Association, has recorded a total revenue loss of $345 million. In their follow-up survey with 1,556 participants, 66 per cent of respondents had received no other targeted industry support outside of JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

Craig believes the governmental support to creative arts in Australia has always been treated second-rate to sport.

“NSW starting putting on their own lineups competing with private enterprises who are already doing the same thing. So not only was it no shows but now you can return to shows with restrictions and compete with the government who are putting on shows,” Craig said.

WhatsLively is a live music culture and discovery entity dedicated to bringing more eyes on live music in Australia. Co-founder Trishanth Chandrahasan agrees that the support from the government has been underwhelming.

“JobKeeper has kept people afloat but that’s all its really doing, it’s not helping artists. I mean they get some form of it but they’re relying on shows to make money,” Chandrahasan said.

Despite the challenges faced from COVID, there have been a handful of silver linings in regards to the future of the Australian music industry. The innovation of artists has aided Hip-hop in Australia to continue globalising and evolving in diversity and popularity.

From the normalisation of local line-ups and online accessibility, to a greater respect for time and work/life balance, Chandrahasan believes the pandemic has also helped revolutionise live music.

“I think it’s going to play a large role in changing the way we buy tickets, the way we enter and also what happens during a gig. I think the ticket is going to hold more importance, before it was just your pass to get into a venue but I think now it’s going to be more linked to your identity so it’s going to have a bigger link to who you are.”

Frank Tremain.

Digital Artefact Contextual Report


For my BCM325 Digital Artefact, we were required to frame our topic with consideration to the future in the next 5, 10, 25 or 50 years. I wanted to create something of value for me following my graduation at the end of 2021. As I’ve already begun working in the Australian music industry, I decided to craft a five-year career plan that considered the short and long-term implications and the changing landscape of the Australian music industry.

I used Twitter to promote my articles and Canva to format the two YouTube videos that were embedded in Episode 1 and 2. The multi-media element added to both these episodes didn’t regurgitate the information in my blog but instead added an alternative angle to the topic. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to include a video for the third episode, but here’s a brief overview of the three WordPress blog posts:

  • Blog Post 1 used the SMART method of career planning to map out my future at AUD’$ as a music journalist.
  • Blog Post 2 ideated what role my clothing brand Moriboys will play in my career and investigated the relationship between streetwear fashion and Hip-hop.
  • Blog Post 3 examined the future technologies and trends in the Australian music industry.

Background Research

For the background research, I studied some of the work of my peers within the field including Ben Madden and Parry Tritsiniotis. These are two creatives in the industry whose work has demonstrated a strong public utility and who I think, are key players in elevating the Australian music industry through their journalistic work. In addition to examining my peers and their approaches, I also found three of the subject materials to be particularly useful for my project.

After the Singularity: A Talk with Ray Kurzweil (2002)

In Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity, he describes a new era of society that is a “merger between human intelligence and machine intelligence that is going to create something bigger than itself.” Although my DA doesn’t directly focus on this thought, there is a quote in his reflection of Singularity where he states, “We’re kind of like the pattern that water makes in a stream; you put a rock in there and you’ll see a little pattern. The water is changing every few milliseconds; if you come a second later, it’s completely different water molecules, but the pattern persists. Patterns are what have resonance. Ideas are patterns, technology is patterns. Even our basic existence as people is nothing but a pattern. Pattern recognition is the heart of human intelligence. Ninety-nine percent of our intelligence is our ability to recognise patterns.”

The notion of pattern recognition was incredibly useful to my DA that focused on Australian Hip-hop and career plans. By understanding the patterns of Hip-hop’s development in other countries, I was able to make educated predictions on the future of the scene. Similarly, it led me to research the SMART method of goal planning that followed a structured pattern in accomplishing my ideal career.

The Ecstasy of Communication – Jean Baudrillard (1987)

Jean Baudrillard’s The Ecstasy of Communication argues that society’s gaze is changing into an ecstasy of promiscuity, from the world of the object to the start of the hyper-reality, described as “the space of simulation.” Though my DA focuses on the medium-range future, I also detailed plans for both the short and long term. This paper, in particular, allowed me to reflect on the content that I produce for my career and how I should be aiming to create an immersive experience with my work. By doing so, my short-range future will benefit from consistent and quality content, my medium-range goals will hopefully be achieved quicker and the long-range future will feature a hyper-realistic niche of Hip-hop in Australia with a more active and international fanbase.

Making People Responsible – Wendell Bell (1997)

Wendell Bell’s Making People Responsible challenged the opinion I gained from After the Singularity and gave an important perspective on futurists’ roles and responsibilities. Although my DA is a career plan, it also attempted to predict the future of Hip-hop in Australia and its growing appeal to global audiences. Bell states, “futurists not only study images of the future held by various people in an effort to understand and explain their behaviour, they also investigate the process of image-making itself, encourage people to rigorously explore alternative images of the future, and construct images of the future themselves. In so doing, futurists aim to help people become more competent, effective, and responsible actors, both in their personal lives and in their organisational and societal roles.”

This resonated strongly and provided me with a stronger public utility as I began the DA to better understand my career trajectory in order to make more educated predictions on the future of the industry. By embodying Bell’s perception of a futurist, I hope to, for lack of a better phrase, ‘stay ahead of the competition’ and play a key role in the globalisation of Australian Hip-hop music.

Public Utility

Reflecting on my production timeline, I was able to accurately follow the actions accordingly. If I had the chance to re-do this DA, I would have created a more comprehensive production timeline with details on additional content that I should have made. This could’ve included Instagram, Reddit and Twitter posts related to my DA that would’ve increased my engagement and provided me with a stronger public utility.

The public utility of my DA is unfortunately one of its biggest weaknesses. Reflecting on my work, I limited myself to my WordPress, YouTube and Twitter audience that mainly consists of other UOW students. While they are included in my target audience, I recognise that I was somewhat unable to create a strong public utility for a larger audience. The primary utility that my DA holds is to myself, future employers and fans of Hip-hop in Australia, typically aged between 15-25 years old. While my engagement was less than ideal, I did find that my DA delivered on its public utility to myself and future employers as it provided me with a convincing career plan to follow in the final months of university and post-graduation. I recently applied to a PR/Management company in Sydney and managed to secure an interview as well. Though I’m waiting to hear back, my DA provided me with confidence and clarity heading into my application.

Despite the lack of engagement, the peer feedback loop from my pitch and beta helped me ideate new approaches to my DA. In particular, Rachel, who also focused her DA on her clothing brand, recommended some marketing articles that while were directly useful to Moriboys, also became applicable to the public persona side of my career as a music journalist. It was also suggested by another user to utilise Twitter more which is something I did for my third episode.


BCM325 has been extremely beneficial to my life after graduation as it has given me confidence in my aspirations and abilities, and my career plan is something I will frequently revise throughout my life. I will be entering my field with a concise career plan, a renewed perception of the future and an understanding of my responsibility as a futurist and the potential technologies and trends that will play a future in the Australian music industry.

Frank Tremain.

Career Planning: Future of the Australian Music Industry (Episode 3)

In this final episode of my digital artefact, I want to take a look at the exciting new technology and trends arising in the Australian music industry.

Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2019. Credit: Bluesfest/NME.

COVID-19 has had an undeniable and severe impact on the industry with a recorded loss of 345 million. Hip-hop, in particular, was on an impressive trajectory to reach new mainstream horizons, and although COVID-19 stunted this growth, Hip-hop in Australia has significantly developed during the pandemic.

To be the best creative I can be in the Australian music industry, it’s important for me to understand the development of future technologies and trends within the field. Here are a handful of the developments that are closely related to my future career plan and the subject materials of BCM325:

Virtual Reality

While virtual reality music videos aren’t necessarily ‘new’, its popularity could see a significant increase in the future of the music industry. The entrancing and immersive nature of VR could have endless possibilities for the future of not only music videos, but live performances as well. One of my favourite quotes from William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer describes cyberspace as “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation.” COVID-19 forced live performances to a halt and has encouraged events managers and artists alike to opt towards online performances. To ideate this to the extreme, the long range future of music festivals could be entirely virtual where even maybe one day, the technology reaches such an immersive point that we’re able to touch and feel things within the virtual reality, similar to what we’ve seen during the BCM325 screening of Ready Player One.

Journalism & Marketing

Journalism and marketing in the future of the music industry is already beginning to change in its format and execution. Speaking from my own experience, COVID-19 made Zoom a more popular tool for interviewing artists and working from home. Although, face to face interviews are still preferred and make it easier for interviewers to create a stronger relationship with their interviewees, Zoom has expanded the possibilities for myself and my peers at AUD’$. In regards to marketing, COVID-19 forced the world to become more dependable on the internet. Apps like TikTok has become a great avenue for artists to market their music through and for publications to broaden their audience. The pandemic has actually inspired me with the ideal approach to my career where I could work from home when needed and still achieve a similar result. Once restrictions are lifted further, I’ll be able to have a mix of online and in person work experiences. The future of music journalism and marketing is something I’m passionate to keep a close eye on to stay ahead of the competition and be able to quickly adapt to new trends.

AI Composers

Artificial Intelligence can be described as “how close or how well a computer can imitate or go beyond, when compared to human being.” AI technology is slowly starting to become utilised in music production with companies like Amper able to allow users to generate original compositions by setting limitations on genre, track length and instruments. Though I do believe AI will play a role in the future of music production, I find it unlikely that AI technology will be able to create music on its own, at least in the medium range future. Even if possible, I think the emotional drive of musicians and producers make it for AI to ever replicate.

Frank Tremain.

Live Tweeting Summary Pt. 2

Week 6: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

In week six, we watched Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 original, where K discovers a long-buried secret and tries to track down former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard. Blade Runner 2049 builds upon the original films’ themes of dystopia and future relationships between robots and humans.

Having Blade Runner 2049 be a sequel to a film we’ve previously watched, it made it easier to understand how the film connects to the subject. Specifically, Blade Runner 2049 depicts the Singularity where human intelligence and machine intelligence become merged to create something bigger than itself. While the film shows the technological advancements in human intelligence, Blade Runner 2049 also warns viewers not to neglect the environmental issues in this process. This was something I hinted towards in my tweets as I shared articles that expanded upon this idea, however, I found that students were more engaged in my own thoughts and tweets rather than reading an article. This, and my lack of including additional media such as gifs and images, hindered my engagement throughout the screening. Focusing on the positives though, I felt as though my tweets covered many different areas including the movie’s soundtrack, future predictions and social commentary.

Week 7: The Matrix

The Matrix (1999).

Our screening for week seven was of arguably, the most renowned science fictions of all time, The Matrix. The 1999 film follows Neo as he discovers his world is a simulated reality and is drawn into a rebellion against the Machines.

In this week I examined the film with reference to real life allegories, other BCM325 screenings and the work of Wendell Bell. Bell’s idea of what a futurist should strive to be and the duality of future predictions is portrayed through the character of Morpheus, who offers Neo the chance to forget The Matrix and continue living in illusion (by taking the blue pill) or to enter the painful world of reality (by taking the red pill). I found my tweets received more consistent engagement which may have been due to the time of posting, as I tried to spread my posts throughout the screening, something I carried on doing in the next couple of weeks. Other things I picked up from this week that I continued to do was relate the film back to the subject materials and tweet about the references to Greek philosophy.

Week 8: No screening.

Week 9: Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel (2019).

After the short break in week eight, we started the following week with a screening of Alita: Battle Angel. The anime-based movie reveals Alita, a reactivated cyborg who has no memory of her past as she embarks on a quest to uncover her identity.

Though I did make a more assertive effort to interact with students’ posts through retweets and comments, I think the large Alita fanbase on Twitter was the reason for my engagement becoming an outlier in comparison to previous weeks. This week featured my most engaged tweet for the semester where I discussed the film’s colouring to the previous screenings. While at the time I didn’t think much of it, I’ve come to realise how important colour grading is in developing films’ thematic purpose and overall narrative. My biggest self-reflection from week nine is that I should have explored Donna J. Haraway’s paper on cyborgs, feminism and their depiction throughout science fiction. My favourite tweet thread from this week built upon the Greek philosophy references, where I discussed the Ship of Theseus and demonstrated my understanding of the weekly content outside of the recommended readings.

Week 10: Ready Player One

Ready Player One (2018).

For week ten, we explored the future of virtual reality and hyper-realities by watching the film adaption of Ernest Cline’s book, Ready Player One. The film is set in 2045 and finds humanity finding salvation in the expansive virtual reality universe known as the OASIS.

I tried using voting polls as a new form of engagement and though I didn’t receive an abundance of interactions, it did indicate the opinions of my peers which I could then use to shape my other tweets. In this screening, I made a lot of comments on the weekly materials of virtual reality, trans-humanism and humanities growing dependence on technology. Ready Player One builds upon William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer where cyberspace is described as a “consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation.” Despite the film being lighter in tone to some of the other films, there are still significant warnings from the text about the future of virtual reality and the shift from reality to cyberspace. I explored some of these in my tweets and discussed the interesting theory of trans-humanism. I asked if VR is a form of trans-humanism but I didn’t get any responses and although I usually give my opinion which then creates more engagement, I didn’t do that this time around and it impacted the traction of the tweet.

Week 11: Robot & Frank

Robot & Frank (2012).

Week eleven’s film, Robot and Frank, was quite different to the more dystopian and action-paced movies we were familiar with from past screenings. Robot and Frank is set in a near future, following the profound relationship between an elderly man, his robot and the quickly changing advancements in technology.

In the final week of BCM325 screenings, I felt as though I continued my stride by being able to take subject materials and mix it with other sources for my tweets. Furthermore, I was finally able to make a brief connection to my digital artefact by discussing the future of certain industries, in this case, libraries and the transition to the digital world. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a few weeks, but struggled to find a connection. Robot and Frank shows a man unwilling to adjust to the evolving technology, warning me that I should make a conscious effort to adapt to new advancements. By doing so, this will benefit my career and steer me away from being a senile burglar. Due to it being the final week, I also ranked the films we’ve watched which gained traction and encouraged other students to post their rankings of the film.

Here are some of my favourite tweets from week six to week eleven:

Despite the challenges of scheduling tweets, tying back to the subject material and trying not to shit-post, I found that live tweeting enabled me to demonstrate my understanding of the subject and apply these through a variety of different examples. And the best part is, I got to watch science fiction movies for the whole semester.

Frank Tremain.

Check the Competition: Digital Artefact Beta Reviews

“There is a danger of imagining the future in terms of the present and thereby of forming a closed circuit of representation.” – Tony Myers, The Postmodern Imaginary in William Gibson’s Neuromancer (2001).

Heading into the final stages of the BCM325 Digital Artefacts, we’ve been asked to review peer’s betas and reflect on the feedback loops from students and our audiences. My digital artefact maps out my future career path as a journalist and creative within the Australian music industry. By reviewing the following DA’s and gaining insight from other students, I hope to understand the changes I need to make to my project before the final submission.

Throughout the final weeks of BCM325, we’ve explored cyber culture, cyberspace and the implications of cyborgs and artificial intelligence. While I found it hard to relate these topics back to my DA, I’ve been interested in the ways in which art such as films, music and art have shaped the future. With this in mind, my future career plan and the work I produce both as a journalist and creative should look to push new boundaries and challenge perceptions of the future.

Digital Artefact 1: Future After Graduation – Hussein

For the first review, I commented on Hussein’s beta regarding his Future After Graduation:

Hey Hussein! We’re doing very similar Digital Artefacts and I really enjoyed reading through your approach. I focused more on my individual career in the next five years and the different aspects of my work. My first recommendation for your project is to consider the future of the particular industry you’re looking to work in. This helps readers gain a more personal insight into you and will align with the subject of tackling these issues through various scales of personal impact and overall impact. I also found Wendell Bell’s work super helpful for my DA but I want to recommend ‘Marketing in Cyberspace: What Factors Drive E-Commerce Adoption’ as I think it’ll line up with your project! It looks at marketing in the cyberspace which obviously ties in nicely to the subject materials but also is an interesting read on how the marketing industry might change over the years! Lastly, I think you could build your audience a lot bigger than just Twitter. While it’s a great starting point and it is as far as I’ve taken my project as well, I think Facebook would work really well for yours! Or even Reddit. Try think about your public utility deeper than just students at UOW. You’ve got future employers, other university students, people with interest in marketing etc. Looking forward to seeing your final product and good luck in the next couple of weeks!

Hussein’s DA is extremely similar to my own, as he predicts his medium range future in social media marketing/management after graduation. His DA is depicted through a series of blogs and his online presence on Twitter.

In his beta video, he showed the multiple feedback loops from comments and Twitter interaction and revealed some of the background research he had undertaken since his pitch. I recommended for him to consider what the future of his industry might look like and how or if this might impact his own future in the field. Hussein included reference to Wendell Bell’s work, which I also found to be useful in my own DA, I linked him to an article I found regarding the future changes in his industry. While he had made a clear effort to include outside sources, I thought that tying in subject materials with industry specific sources would enhance his DA significantly. Secondly, I suggested for him to use Facebook and Reddit to expand his reach as I think his blogs would appeal to a larger audience than just the UOW cohort that he is currently targeting.

Due to similar nature of both our projects, my comment to Hussein was beneficial to my own work. Like Hussein, I need to continue considering my public utility and create more feedback loops for myself before the end of the semester.

Digital Artefact 2: The Future of Retail – Steph

For the last review, I commented on Steph’s beta that investigates the Future of Retail:

Hey Steph! I think your project presents a really interesting discussion about the future of retail and your first blog tackles this topic well. Your second blog is quite short and I think if this was the type of content you were eager to continue doing, I’d recommend using Twitter (through threads etc.) or even Tik Tok/Instagram. This will help build your audience and better cater to the content you’re making. Building an audience was something I have been struggling with as well, especially because my Digital Artefact mainly benefits me (I’m doing a career plan for my DA). The easiest way to build your audience is to understand your project’s public utility – why should the average viewer care? Who would be most interested in this content? Who are you trying to target? Exploring this side of your project a little more in the future will make a huge difference in your overall DA. Another suggestion, I’d look to include more subject related materials and readings. I love how you incorporate your DA with the films we’ve been watching but I think you could take this even further and start investigating how your DA relates to futurism, cybernetics, AI… maybe even cyborgs! This one isn’t from the subject materials but this report might be useful. You could definitely have a read of this and explain it to your audience through a futurist lens. Good luck in the last couple of weeks!

Steph’s DA investigates the future of the retail industry and the long range impact of potential changes. Her project takes place on her WordPress website where she has posted two blogs so far.

Steph has conducted thorough research into her topic and connected insightful links to the films we’ve watched throughout the semester. Similar to the other DA’s I’ve reviewed, I recommended that Steph branches out to other social media platforms and gain a deeper understanding about her public utility. In doing so, she’ll be able to create constant feedback loops and heighten her engagement with her audience. I also suggested a report to her that might allow Steph to better link her DA to the subject materials and investigate the retail industry through a futurist lens.

Steph’s DA is one of the more well-researched projects I’ve seen and I was really impressed with the way she referenced her DA throughout the film screenings. This inspired me to reflect on my DA and how it could relate to the films we’ve watched, as well as consider my public utility to a further extent.

Digital Artefact 3: Bits & Masterpieces – Elise

For the second review, I commented on Elise’s beta and her project, Bits & Masterpieces:

Hey Elise! I think your Digital Artefact targets a really interesting niche and it’s great to see how adaptable you’ve been to feedback already. I think the biggest weakness of your project would be your audience, as you’ve been focusing on building your website. However, your DA has a huge public utility that you could be targeting more. Pinterest or Instagram would work so well with your project as you could show different art news or art you think will/won’t have a place in the future. As well as that, using these other social media will help boost your audience and you can direct them back to your website. One thing that I’ve noticed in the future of art is NFTs. Not sure if you’ve heard much about it, but it’s quickly becoming a huge source of income for artists (not to mention a bunch of other creative/sports industries. Here’s a little explainer to NFT’s. Lastly, I’d love to see how you tie this into more of the subject materials in regards to futurism and hyperrealities. This would tick a box for the subject outline but I also think it would be super interesting to see how these developments in art ties into the ideas of futurists. Goodluck with your project in the last couple of weeks!

Elise’s DA was altered since her pitch and now, she’s chosen to explore the future of art trends, forms and accessibility in the next 20 years. Elise has created a new website and has posted two blogs so far.

Bits & Masterpieces is an incredibly interesting niche for Elise to be investigating but I feel as though her content production is one of her DA’s biggest weakness. Though it’s definitely hypocritical of me to say it, I think Elise’s project regarding art is held back by not engaging on image-focused social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. By posting new artworks that she likes or art-related news, Elise would be able to create a larger following that she could then direct back to her blog. In regards to her blog, I suggested she explore NFT’s as it is a relevant trend in a bunch of different industries and would help her relate back to the subject materials.

I think Elise’s DA has huge potential and its one of my favourite project’s I’ve seen, however, by peer reviewing her work, I found obvious areas where I thought she could improve. Commenting on her beta has provided me with new ideas for my next DA blog and given me confidence that although our project’s are niche, there is still a large audience interested as long as we’re able to correctly market towards them.


The three projects I reviewed were all similar to my own with the way they are blog focused and industry specific. Reading my peer’s blogs and checking out their DA’s has allowed me to recognise the importance of a project’s public utility and consistent feedback loops. The main criticism about my comments is that I should’ve engaged more with the subject materials instead of just recommending them to check out particular articles. I think I did this more successfully than the previous blog but I should’ve expanded upon these ideas further. Heading into the final weeks of BCM325, I’ll be able to put to practice both the advice I’ve given Hussein, Steph and Elise, and the suggestions from other peers.

Frank Tremain.

Continuing to Plan

My digital artefact is for BCM325 consists of a series of blogs and videos detailing my career plan in the next 5 years, with implications to both the short and long range future.

In the beta of my BCM325 digital artefact, I analyse the ways I can improve my feedback loops and audience to help me craft a concise and well-researched 5 year career plan with implications to the short and long range future.

Paying close to the responsibilities of futurists and trends in the future of the Australian music industry, I’m planning to focus on building a large DA audience so that I can create more public feedback loops.

With one episode left, I intend to investigate the changing nature of the music industry and digital journalism to help me understand what role I can play.

Frank Tremain.

Career Planning: Moriboys (Episode 2)

Streetwear fashion has been embedded in my life since a young age, and exists in the music I listen to, the movies I watch and even the sports I enjoy. Relying on elements greater than just clothing, the streetwear scene continues to be greatly influenced by the Hip-hop scene. From the evolution of NBA style to rappers and their designer collaborations, Hip-hop culture has evolved streetwear fashion from a fringe subculture to one of the most dominant force in popular culture.

Despite being in the early days in my career as a creative within Hip-hop in Australia, I feel an undeniable urge to further extend Hip-hop’s influence on Australian streetwear fashion. So in November of 2020, I conceived the idea of my clothing brand, Moriboys. Moriboys is dedicated to providing luxury quality, streetwear merchandise and aims to celebrate the culture and creatives within Australia’s Hip-hop scene. This clothing brand is grounded in the inevitability of death and the empowering nature of our own mortality, inspired by the Latin phrase ‘Memento Mori’ meaning ‘remember you must die.’

From learning about Future Studies in week three of BCM325, I’m able to better understand the practice of predicting the future and the ways in which I can contribute. As Hip-hop began in the United States, we can attribute its history as our own crystal ball or oracle. By learning the history of Hip-hop and its globalisation across continents and evolution in popular culture, we’re able to make predictions about Hip-hop’s own development within Australia. I am hesitant to suggest that Australia’s scene will follow the same path as Hip-hop in the U.S, however, if we treat it more as a possible future, we’re able to start planning for a more preferable future.

In this week’s video episode, I explore the history of Hip-hop in Australia in relation to streetwear fashion and culture. I focus on some of my favourite Australian brands and their contributions to the scene to help me shape my own future plan for Moriboys and the role I hope this brand plays.

Below, I have planned out brief Moriboys plans for the short, medium and long range future. These include:

Short Range:

  • Bulk order tees and contact local screen printers.
  • Finalise logo.
  • Enhance social media presence with more activity.

Medium Range:

  • Organise shipping and website logistics.
  • Release Collection 1.
  • Release collaborative collection.

Long Range:

  • Sponsor artists and events.
  • Build a team of graphic designers.
  • Release regular drops of an assortment of items including tees, hoodies, shorts etc.

Moriboys is still in an early development stage and these plans will continue to evolve as my brand grows, however, it’s a convincing start to the overall impact that I hope to have on Hip-hop culture in Australia. If you’d like to support my brand, you can find us on Instagram and Facebook!

Frank Tremain.

Career Planning: AUD’$ (Episode 1)

For the first episode of my career planning series, I utilised the SMART method of goal setting to map out the medium future of my career in the Australian music industry. In particular, I focused on my role at AUD’$ and the progress I wish to make in the next five years.

Though never directly mentioned, many scholars credit Peter Drucker’s The Practice of Management (1954) as instrumental to the development of the SMART acronym. In a study during the 1960s, Dr. Edwin Locke examined the relationship between motivation and goal setting and determined that specific and challenging goals are more motivational than vague and easy ones (Lawlor, 2012).

In Wendell Bell’s Making People Responsible (1998), he divides the our perception of the future in three categories including the possible, probable and preferable. Bell states “Futurists not only study images of the future held by various people in an effort to understand and explain their behaviour, they also investigate the process of image making itself, encourage people to rigorously explore alternative images of the future, and construct images of the future themselves. In so doing, futurists aim to help people become more competent, effective, and responsible actors, both in their personal lives and in their organisational and societal roles(Bell, 1998).

As BCM325 encourages us to be active futurists, this is the way I approached my career plan with elements of possible, probable and preferred futures. Beginning with the possible, there’s a possibility to move to Melbourne to immerse deeper in the scene which would assist me in building a stronger network. Additionally, venturing into PR and events managing is probably the biggest possibility. Although this is something that I am interested in, I would first like to establish myself as a journalist to leverage myself into these roles. That being said, if this doesn’t come to fruition in my medium range future, it is probable that it will occur in the long term.

Next, I included probable elements of my future in the career plan such as maintaining a strong relationship with AUD’$ and being able to interview artists in a longer form that what traditional Australian music media is accustomed to. These probable elements will lay the foundational work for the possibilities in my long range future in playing a key role to the Australian Hip-hop music industry.

Lastly, the preferred outcome of this career plan future would be to exceed the goals in a short period of time and begin examining more long-term, challenging goals. In Baudrilard’s Ecstasy of Communication, he argues “the shift from the world of the object, of the mirror and the scene, to the laboratory of miniaturisation has transformed the pleasure of the gaze into an ecstasy of promiscuity. For Baudrilard, the obscenity of the all-too-visible signals the end of the secret and its representation and the beginning of the era of hyper-reality, the absolute space of simulation. This ultimate call to a disappearing reality permeates popular perceptions of the power of technology and technological images(Baudrilard, 2012).

With this in mind, I’d work towards crafting content in the short-term that will create new opportunities for myself and build an audience in the medium ranged future. I’d then be able to start creating a long range future for myself and the Australian Hip-hop media where the bridge between artists’ talent and coverage is narrowed with more diverse and quality content. By doing so, we’ll be able to create a hyper-realistic niche of Hip-hop in Australia where fans can become more immersed in my own content as well as the artist. Keeping a balance of intimate and loosely structured interviews with high level production value and accessibility looks to be my next best move in achieving this goal in the medium ranged future.

Although setting these goals for myself gave me a more refined vision of my potential future, it also raised some important questions into its practicality. While striving towards my end goal, these types of questions are beneficial in forcing me to continually push myself and update my SMART plan. In my BCM325 pitch, I outlined a different blog sequence than what I carried out so next week will instead look at my clothing brand, Moriboys, and the role I hope to see this brand have within Hip-hop in Australia, and my own future career.

Frank Tremain.

Live Tweeting Summary Pt. 1

Week 1: Metropolis

Metropolis (1927).

In week one, we watched the German silent film directed by Fritz Lang, Metropolis (1927). Metropolis depicts the use of future technologies as a way of dividing the classes of society and manipulating the lower class to abide to the upper class. As I progressed through the weeks, live tweeting for Metropolis was still one of the more challenging tasks. With a long run time and no dialogue, I found it hard to concentrate and come up with tweet ideas while simultaneously trying to enjoy the movie.

I didn’t prepare any tweets prior to the screening and though this did help me come up with one tweet, I often found myself at a disadvantage while engaging with the film. Luckily, I had my HSC assignments to help me out and I already understood the greater meaning behind Lang’s work, I just had to apply it to BCM325. For week one, I found that asking my peers for their opinion and focusing on aspects aside from the characters and the plot worked best for interactions.

With biblical references and imagery, Fritz Lang uses Metropolis to warn the danger of technology as an oppressive tool from the upper class. While depicted in a more obvious sense than the other movies, Metropolis sees part of society suffering at the hands of technology, while the upper class (representing corporations as we’ll see in later movies) reap its benefits.

Week 2: 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

In week two, we live tweeted to Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). This movie helped shape computational future and sparked a generation of space loving, science fiction fans. In this week’s live tweeting, I went from one extreme to another, by not having any planned tweets to now having all ten of my tweets planned out and drafted. I began to include more research into my tweets and these often help spark conversations with my peers.

Though I found myself connecting the dots between the films and the work we’ve been doing in lectures, I still felt that I wasn’t conveying this as effectively as possible. The tweet with the largest engagement for this week was a comedic tweet that played into people’s nostalgia. While I found that these types of tweets were useful in getting above the requirements, I do recognise that they’re completely unrelated to the subject readings.

Week 3: Westworld

Westworld (1973).

The science-fiction thriller Westworld was the assigned movie of week three. Westworld tells the tale of a future with an amusement park where visitors can indulge in their sexual and violent pleasures, however, the park’s robots start to turn, warning viewers of AI. This week I decided to draft seven tweets and have my remaining three be improvised during the screening. I found this method useful as it removed stress from me and allowed me to enjoy the movie while also meeting the requirements.

Additionally, I started to draw more comparisons from the lectures and readings such as Delo’s Laws of the Futures. This received more critical engagement with my tweets and because this was a goal of mine from the start, I was pleased to see it happening. In week three, I realised that the best approach to live tweeting is to have a balance of fun facts, questions, memes and critical thinking.

Westworld shows viewers how our use of technology for personal pleasure can quickly turn awry, and develops the idea of AI gone wrong from last week’s movie.

Week 4: Blade Runner

Blade Runner (1982).

Week four’s movie was Ridley Scott’s legendary, Blade Runner (1982). Blade Runner begins to blur the line between human and android, and has us guessing the morality of this division. In this week, I felt as though I found my stride as I was able to provide a commentary to the movie with reference to the readings and the lecture content.

Additionally, I began to retweet a lot more and continued to ask questions to involve my peers in an open discussion. I made the effort of trying to reply to everyone who would comment on my posts, to try and draw out a larger conversation regarding the topic.

Week 5: Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell (1995).

In week five of BCM325, we watched the anime movie Ghost in the Shell (1995). Ghost in the Shell forces us to question our own humanity as our lifestyle continues to adopt more and more technology into everyday use. Despite wanting to draft my tweets prior to the screening, I went into this class with only 3 drafted tweets, thankfully, I was able to use IMDb‘s trivia option to find some fun facts about the movie.

Another thing I have recently found, is that tweets with images, gifs or videos will often do better than a tweet without. As I completed this while reviewing my peer’s pitches, I have learnt how essential a multimedia element is.

Again, I decided to retweet and like more than usual to engage as much as possible, something that I want to continue to do. Here are a few of my favourite tweets from week five:

Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner both see androids and humans living together, blurring the line between technology and humanity. Although we see benefits to future technologies in these movies, we’re left to contemplate if the reward is worth the risk. Even though there are certain elements of these films that aren’t yet reality, I found myself questioning my own humanity and the morality of technology within our society.

Moving into the second stage of our live tweeting, I am going to continue planning my tweets but I am determined to draw further comparisons and relate back to the lectures and readings. This was an area that I need to work on and it will be worthwhile to do so to help my understanding of the subject and add valuable insight that may be useful to my digital artefact. Additionally, I intend on engaging in more conversations and increasing my interactions through likes, comments and retweets.

Frank Tremain.