The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) is a trade group representing the Australian recording industry which was established in 1983 by six major record companies, EMI, Festival, CBS, RCA, WEA and Universal replacing the Association of Australian Record Manufacturers (AARM) which was formed in 1956. It oversees the collection, administration and distribution of music licenses and royalties.
The association has more than 100 members, including small labels typically run by one to five people, medium size organisations and very large companies with international affiliates. ARIA is administered by a Board of Directors comprising senior executives from record companies, both large and small. As of October 2010, the directors were Denis Handlin (chair, CEO of Sony Music), George Ash (Universal Music), Mark Poston (EMI), Sebastian Chase (MGM Distribution), David Vodica (Rubber Records/Music) and Tony Harlow (WAR).
In 1956, the Association of Australian Record Manufacturers (AARM) was formed by Australia's major record companies. It was replaced in 1983 by the Australian Recording Industry Association, which was established by the six major record companies operating in Australia, EMI (now part of Universal Music Group), Festival Records, CBS (now known as Sony Music), RCA (now part of Sony Music), WEA (now known as Warner Music Group) and Polygram (now known as Universal). It later included smaller record companies representing independent acts/labels and has over 100 members. By 1997, the six major labels provided 90% of all recordings made in Australia. ARIA is administered by a Board of Directors comprising senior executives from record companies, both large and small. As of October 2010, the directors were Denis Handlin (chair, CEO of Sony Music), George Ash (Universal Music), Mark Poston (EMI), Sebastian Chase (MGM Distribution), David Vodica (Rubber Records/Music) and Tony Harlow (WAR).
Australian TV pop music show Countdown presented its own annual awards ceremony, Countdown Music and Video Awards, which was co-produced by Carolyn James (a.k.a. Carolyn Bailey) during 1981–1984 in collaboration with ARIA. ARIA provided peer voting for some awards, while Countdown provided coupons in the related Countdown Magazine for viewers to vote for populist awards. At the 1985 Countdown awards ceremony, held on 14 April 1986, fans of INXS and Uncanny X-Men scuffled during the broadcast and as a result ARIA decided to hold their own awards.
Since 2 March 1987, ARIA administered its own entirely peer-voted ARIA Music Awards, to "recognise excellence and innovation in all genres of Australian music" with an annual ceremony. Initially included in the same awards ceremonies, it established the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1988 and has held separate annual ceremonies since 2005. The ARIA Hall of Fame "honours Australian musicians' achievements [that] have had a significant impact in Australia or around the world".
In February 2004, the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) announced its own legal action against Kazaa, alleging massive copyright breaches. The trial began on 29 November 2004. On 6 February 2005, the homes of two Sharman Networks executives and the offices of Sharman Networks in Australia were raided under a court order by ARIA to gather evidence for the trial.
In 2006, ARIA formed sponsorship deals with Motorola and Nova and changed the appearance and conduct of the charting. Motorola took naming-rights sponsorship seeing the charts referred to in the media as the Motorola ARIA Charts. ARIA, have commented that as part of the same marketing printed charts would be reintroduced into media retailing shops and their website would be redesigned. As part of the deal Nova began broadcasting the charted singles in reverse order on a Sunday afternoon show before it was released on the ARIA charts website.
The ARIA Charts is the main Australian music sales charts, issued weekly by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The charts are a record of the highest selling singles and albums in various genres. All charts are compiled from data of both physical and digital sales from retailers in Australia.
The ARIA No. 1 Chart Awards were established in 2002 to recognise Australian recording artists, who reached number one on the ARIA albums, singles and music DVDs charts.
The ARIA Music Awards is an annual series of awards nights celebrating the Australian music industry. The event has been held annually since 1987; it encompasses the general genre-specific and popular awards known as the ARIA Awards, as well as the Fine Arts Awards and Artisan Awards (held separately from 2004), Lifetime Achievement Awards and the ARIA Hall of Fame (held separately from 2005 to 2010 but returned to the general ceremony in 2011).
Like most recording industry associations, ARIA has been criticised for fighting copyright infringement matters aggressively, although in Australia this has largely taken the form of aggressive advertising campaigns particularly in cinemas directly preceding movies. This criticism is stauncher in Australia due to the absence of an equivalent Digital Millennium Copyright Act or state crimes acts which clearly establish copyright infringement as a crime.
In February 2004, the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) took legal action against Kazaa, alleging massive copyright breaches. The trial began on 29 November 2004. On 6 February 2005, the homes of two Sharman Networks executives and the offices of Sharman Networks in Australia were raided under a court order by ARIA to gather evidence for the trial.
The ARIA charts have also been criticised as an easily manipulated market tool abused by aggressively marketed pop acts. "Gold" and "Platinum" ARIA awards are based on units shipped to retail outlets, not on how many of those units are sold to customers. A lukewarm album or single release can achieve Gold or Platinum status by flooding the market with copies, and if 99% are returned to the manufacturer that in no way affects the status of the award.