About Sounds Australia

Sounds Australia is Australia’s national music export brand initiative, established to deliver a cohesive and unified umbrella platform at international market events. A financial partnership between Federal and State governments, peak music industry bodies, commercial operators (industry and artists) and sponsors.

Under the Sounds Australia brand, the initiative’s principle aims are to:

  • Build a ‘whole of nation strategy’
  • Centralise efforts across national, state and territory funding agencies and commercial operators on behalf of the Australian contemporary music sector
  • Raise the profile and visibility of Australian artists and industry in key international markets
  • Facilitate the introduction of buyers and sellers of music.

The overarching market activity plan for Sounds Australia is based on a number of factors. Firstly, an assessment of past performance, activities and results in market and, secondly, an evaluation of potential additional markets which offer export opportunities. It is important to note that each market is subject to its own detailed project plan which is developed in the months leading up to the event. The rationale for this is that, typically, plans are tailored to be ‘fit for purpose’, subject to which artists and/or personnel are participating.

International Marketing

The Aussie BBQ at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2012
Since its inception, Sounds Australia has gone from strength to strength, in 2012 taking 145 Australian acts to ten international music markets including SXSW, Canadian Music Week, The Great Escape, Music Matters and CMJ. In May 2012, the program’s success led to the Federal Government’s allocation of an additional $1.75 million in funding for Sounds Australia initiatives over a four year period. Sounds Australia will use these funds to boost its reach into new markets and to explore opportunities to promote live music within Australia.

Most recently Sounds Australia engaged with the nation’s largest ever cultural diplomacy program in India, Oz Fest, that saw Australian industry and government figures join performers in celebrating and championing Australia’s music culture across multiple cities. Sounds Australia facilitated the showcasing of break-through Australian acts, Karnivool, Jinja Safari, The Aston Shuffle, Big Scary and Sheppard at Oz Fest. The bands also performed at The Aussie BBQ (hosted by Sounds Australia and Stagemothers) in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore and at the NH7 Bacardi Weekender. The showcases were a central feature of Sounds Australia’s efforts to bring artists in to this vital and emerging market.

As part of Australia being selected as the Spotlight Country for the 4th edition of India’s leading music and digital forum, Nokia Music Connects, Federal Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP, spearheaded the conference program. Presenting a keynote address titled The Role of Government in Music and Culture, the program also featured music promoter Michael Chugg ‘in conversation’ and Sounds Australia’s Executive Producer Millie Millgate moderating a panel of Australian industry people.

The Aussie BBQ Tour India and the Spotlight Country Focus was made possible by support from the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Domestic Events

A crucial component of the national export stratagem lies closer to home in the considerable (and ever growing) amount of export activity that takes place in Australia, with particular respect to international buyers attending domestic music conferences.

In response to this activity Sounds Australia created a domestic platform to complement the international roll-out of the export strategy, by encouraging industry to utilise the domestic showcase/conferences as a training ground of sorts, both prior to and in tandem with participation at international events.

For many, the opportunities that are made available at the domestic events can act as the catalyst in stimulating serious interest in artists before they leave Australian shores. There is still potential for this to be refined and capitalised upon further.

A combination of the following events will remain on the agenda as potential locations for undertaking export-focused activity, such as business to business meeting coordination (between the Australian showcasing artists and international speakers) or to run export master classes:

The continued inclusion and importance of the domestic events also supports the need to build the capacity for export and quantities of export-ready artists that are applying to international events from each State.


Esti Zilber. Email: ezilber@soundsaustralia.com.au. Website: www.soundsaustralia.com.au. Published in Music Forum, Vol. 10, No. 2, Autumn 2013, pp 14-15. Entered on Knowledge Base 19 January 2014.

Esti Zilber is the Export Music Associate Producer at Sounds Australia.

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