AIR is the national industry association of Australian independent recording labels. AIR pro-actively serves and represents the interests and development of Australian independent recording labels across Australia and internationally. There is no other membership organisation in Australia that represents the interests of independent recording labels, which represents around 85% of all Australian recorded music. Its broad scope and national vision place AIR in a unique position. As well as providing its membership with a range of services, AIR chronicles, reflects and advocates for the overall interests of the independent recording sector.
AIR was conceived in 1995 by a group of independent recording labels with the idea of forming an association. The earliest members included prominent industry representatives Ed Jonker, Michael McMichael (AIR’s inaugural Chairman), Sebastian Chase (Phantom) and Graeme Reagan (Hot). Now AIR is a full time professional organisation with a membership of over 350 representing an estimated 80% of the Australian independent recording sector. Membership ranges in scale from small sole traders right through to some of the largest independent operations in Australia – such as Shock, ABC Music, Roadshow, Inertia, Creative Vibes, Remote Control, Rubber Records representing a comprehensive range of genres including, but not limited to, pop, indie rock, jazz, blues, world, classical, dance and country.
AIR is supported financially through membership fees and contributions, project revenue, sponsorship, earned income, investment management and enterprise activities. The organisation has also successfully secured public grants from the Australia Council (Audience and Market Development and the Music Board’s Key Organisations and International Pathways programs), AusIndustry, Arts Queensland, Arts Victoria, Arts NSW and strategic support through Austrade and its international posts. AIR continues to explore alternative revenue sources through the administration of revenues on behalf of its members.
AIR’s primary purpose is to foster an ever increasing marketplace for Australian independent music and assist in the long-term development, growth and success of Australia’s independent recording industry both in Australia and overseas.
The formal objectives stated in AIR’s constitution are:
- To assist in the exploitation of copyrights created and owned by Australian independent record labels
- To promote a commercially viable industry environment which is conducive to growth of the Australian independent sector and to the development of the artists that it represents
- To encourage and facilitate cultural expression through Australian music at local, national and international levels
- To advocate the values and interests of the Company and the Australian independent sector in accordance with these Objects
- To do all things as are necessary, incidental and conducive to the attainment of the above objects and to the development of the Australian music industry at large.
His previous roles vary broadly from being the CEO of Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), running the Queensland Music Network (Q Music), serving on the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) and holding a position on the International Honorary Committee at MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale) for five years. In 2009 Stuart left AIR with a desire to develop his own film production, publishing, music services and consulting company Morph TV.