Why International Markets Should Be A Crucial Focus For Australian Artists

24 June 2024 | 1:12 pm | Priya Dewan

Gig Life Pro founder/CEO Priya Dewan shares her insights on the explosive growth of the Asia-Pacific music market, and the region’s value for Australian artists.

Priya Dewan

Priya Dewan (Supplied)

When I moved back to Singapore at the end of 2011, barely anybody in the developed music markets had an “Asia strategy”. Today there isn’t a single music creative or professional that isn’t aware of, and shouldn’t be highly invested in, this region.

At the start of 2011, I was the Label Manager of Warp Records for North America, based in LA. I had recently had my first Billboard Top Ten record (Grizzly Bear’s Vecketamist), was nominated for my first Billboard recognition (appearing in their 30 Under 30 list) and was just nominated to the Board of A2IM. It was an incredible time to be in independent music in America, and I was a rising star.

That was also the same time I went home to Singapore for a holiday, and to watch the first-ever edition of Laneway Festival Singapore. It was at that festival, watching artists like !!!, Beach House and The Temper Trap perform in that market for the first time – to thousands of rain-soaked, happy fans – that I first realised there was an opportunity for me back in Asia.

I moved back later in the year, just in time to experience first-hand the incredibly explosive growth that Asia continues to experience.

Spotify launched in Asia in 2013, followed by Apple Music in 2015. Every year since Goldman Sachs started publishing their Music In The Air paper six years ago, Asia has shown record growth across the region in all areas of the industry, with markets like Thailand and Vietnam showing double-digit growth in the last few years.

Most artists today, especially Australasian artists, would have Quezon City, Philippines (aka Manila) and Jakarta, Indonesia in their Top Ten, if not Top Five markets for socials and streaming.

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Southeast Asia is home to large volumes of incredibly enthusiastic, expressive and loyal music fans. Some of Australia’s closest neighbours are some of the largest and most influential markets in the region – Indonesia with 275+ million, Philippines with 115+ million and Vietnam with 98 million. They are also top global markets for our favourite global platforms like Spotify, Meta and TikTok, making them incredibly accessible to Australian artists and businesses.

Touring across Asia has also become more accessible with a range of different sizes and styles of festivals emerging across the region. There are established, locally produced events that have been running for over a decade – like We The Fest in Jakarta, Clockenflap in Hong Kong, NH7 Festival in India, and Busan Rock Festival and HipHopPlaya Festival in Korea.

There are many newer local festival properties that are quickly gaining global awareness and popularity, too, like Maho Rasop and Wonderfruit in Thailand, and LaLaLa and Joyland in Indonesia. Several large global festival properties have also launched in the last few years, like Rolling Loud Thailand, Lollapalooza India and Ultra all across Asia. There are also great conference and showcase opportunities like GMAs in Taiwan and Music Matters in Singapore.

India is another very valuable market for Australasians, as it has completely opened up to international music across all genres post-covid. India is YouTube Music’s #1 market, has five to six viable local touring markets, and hundreds of millions of English-speaking music fans prepared to invest in their favourite artists. NH7 Festival in India has even offered our members the opportunity to submit an emerging artist to perform at their festival this year via a Perk on the GLP Platform.

In the last decade, Korea has been the most successful Asian market to export their content, and over the last few years, it has also been a great market for Australian artists to find opportunities to develop within. Local services like MELON feature more international content, services companies like EMA allow you to invest in marketing directly, and showcase festivals like Zandari Festa and MU:CON are available too.

Fuji Rock Festival and Summer Sonic Festival Japan have been on every Australian artist’s wish list for over a decade, but to get on their radar required serious investment and usually a local licensing arrangement which made it out of reach for most independent artists and many major label artists.

Last year we hosted two member mixers in Tokyo and we are incredibly excited to report that there are tons of opportunities available in that market – third-party label services, collaborations with local artists, dozens of festivals and live houses to perform at.

Gig Life Pro offers All Access Members incredible opportunities to attend an event and connect with local industry and creatives across the region via our Gig Life Pro Explores trips. We have current partnerships with the Busan Rock Festival in Korea in October and Maho Rasop in Thailand in November and are in discussions with several others, as well.

Gig Life Pro was built to showcase all that APAC has to offer, as well as tools and services to help Australians navigate the opportunities. Whether you are curious about the region and want to take your time learning through our content and engaging with other members on the platform or you want more specific and immediate assistance via our on-platform consultants, we aim to provide tools for our industry to get connected and learn at every level and price point.

Over 1,000 members from across the globe are currently signed up to Gig Life Pro, from companies as diverse as Live Nation, The Orchard, Maho Rasop Festival, FUGA, Warner Music, Lonely Lands, Sony, Clockenflap Festival, Partisan, Ditto, SXSW and SXSW Sydney, Wasserman and plenty more.

Head here to learn more.