ARIA has a new chair.

With immediate effect, Natalie Waller is elected chair for a two-year term, slotting into the position left vacant by the exit of former Sony Music ANZ chief Denis Handlin.

A stalwart with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Waller has served as head of ABC Music & Events since 2012, having joined the public-broadcaster in 1998.

At ABC Music, Waller has experience across many genres, with an emphasis on Australian music and championing niche genres, and she works with a string of ABC music brands including the national youth network, triple j.

Currently, she holds the post as vice chair of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA), was appointed to the board of the Country Music Association (CMA) in January 2021 and serves as chair of the CMA Australian Task Force.

In 2019, she was appointed to the ARIA board of directors, following a shakeup to the trade body’s constitution to better reflect diversity in Australia’s music industry.

Waller’s new appointment will be welcomed by a music industry that’s confronting its own set of issues, as the #MeToo movement approaches critical mass, and as snap lockdowns continue to plague live entertainment across the country, due in part to the bungled vaccine rollout.

With her election, Waller joins an all-female tandem at the helm of ARIA. Earlier this year, the trade body named TV industry veteran Annabelle Herd as CEO.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Natalie as the new Chair of ARIA,” says Herd in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, local time. During her two-years on the board, Herd explains, Waller “has demonstrated an incredible knowledge of the scope and diversity of the Australian music landscape. We are thoroughly looking forward to the next two years and continuing our mission to communicate the true economic and cultural value of our amazing recording industry.”

Despite the pandemic, Australia’s recorded music industry continues to flourish. Wholesale data published in late March by ARIA revealed the record business expanded by 7.3% to A$542 million ($412 million), during the 12-month period that included the harshest months of the pandemic.

It was the sixth successive year of growth for an industry that has been riding high on streaming.

“It is an absolute honor to be elected as ARIA’s new chair,” enthuses Waller. “At this time of change and challenge for the Australian music industry, I’m determined to give my all to continuing ARIA’s mission of championing our fantastic artists and industry. I’m thoroughly excited to get to work with the board, Annabelle and the ARIA team.”


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