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Holden’s music memoir on racism, representation and Shazam

Mark Holden on Music Memoir Panel. Image : Rebecca May
Australian Idol judge, Mark Holden made some waves during a fascinating session on music memoir at Byron Writers Festival.

In particular, the former pop idol spoke about the changing state of music, and targeted the ingrained racism in the industry in the decades through to the ‘90s.

Now a practising barrister, it’s obviously an issue that motivates Holden and he has spoken about the issue of representation in the music industry before. Obviously drawing on his experience from Australian Idol with Guy Sebastian, he said during the session that Dami Im would not have been signed prior to the 2000s.

‘The gatekeepers (to the music industry) were a handful of white men,’ said Holden. There were barely any people of colour other than Kahmahl, Marcia Hines and a handful of Indigenous artists. Diversity was not high on the agenda when music production was such an expensive venture.

Holden spoke about changes in technology and, despite there being problematic elements such as copyright, licensing and artists payments, he did believe that applications like Shazam open up independent music to be discovered easily.

Nolan.Andrew Ford, Mark Holden, Hon Barry Jones and Mandy Nolan on Music Memoir Panel. Pic: Rory Banwell

Holden shared a story about Shazamming the theme song to the BBC show Broadchurch and finding the entire back catalogue of Icelandic artist Olafur Arnalds (who wrote the show’s theme song). An artist he now uses to work out to..

The panel discussing musical memoirs included the Hon Barry Jones, Andrew Ford, Mark Holden and was chaired by Mandy

Nolan.Andrew Ford, Mark Holden, Hon Barry Jones and Mandy Nolan on Music Memoir Panel. Image: Rory Banwell

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