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It’s official, Richard Kingsmill is the most powerful man in Australian music and the second most important player in the country’s ‘Arts and Culture’ sector.
Influential website the powerindex.com today released its list of the ‘Top Ten Most Powerful People in Australian Arts and Culture’, listing Kingsmill second only to professional gambler and MONA founder David Walsh. According to the list triple j’s divisive Music Director exerts more influence than Cate Blanchett or Baz Luhrmann with the site noting: “There aren’t many who match the make-you-or-break-you power of Richard Kingsmill.”
It goes on to describe Kingsmill’s role: “’The King’ sits in the driver’s seat of one of the few outlets with the mandate to uncover (or “unearth” in J’s parlance) up-and-coming local artists. Some also say Kingsmill has more ‘hard power’ than anyone in the industry. He’s often portrayed as a kind of Roman emperor, casting an almighty thumbs up or thumbs down to the latest young band lucky enough to have their demo played by him.”
The index is quick to note, however, that Kingsmill has regularly dismissed such assertions, only last year telling Rolling Stone in a rare interview : “I am not monopolising or acting as some sort of overlord.This [idea that I am the most powerful person in Australian music] is just such a misconception.”
Speaking with FasterLouder last year, Dave Ruby Howe – triple j’s Unearthed Director – was also quick to dismiss notions of a ‘Kingsmill Empire’: “It’s not a dictatorship, as some people would believe it. I don’t know where that… I can guess where that sort of thing comes from. It’s just an idea, and it’s an assumption. It’s not a true one, but when those assumptions are passed around and people start to believe it, and they judge it upon that, then that sort of idea just keeps on going.
While detailing the reasons for Kingsmill’s place on the power list, The Index also discusses some of the criticisms that have been levelled at triple j’s Director over the years, including his age and the length of time he has been in the role.