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19 January 2009

Asia Music

Announcer: The CPR Music Train will next arrive on platform number three. Please stand clear.

Tania Nugent: Platform number three at Roma Street Station is the last place you'd expect to find a music conference. Welcome to the three-day event that is the annual Big Sound Music Conference, a time of year when live music tends to spill out from the most unlikely places in the city of Brisbane.

Professor Julian Knowles: It's been a great turnout. We've had a sell-out audience this year, which has been really encouraging to see. And there's all these luminaries from the Australian music industry and international music industry who have come to talk to us.

Tania Nugent: And they're all aboard the Music Train. Destination - Brisbane International Airport.

Professor Julian Knowles: We're doing showcases of a whole lot of emerging talent, so we've got 45 bands playing from around Australia, but also some international artists participating, and this is one of the venues for the showcases, so a little bit later on, we're gonna see some of the showcase acts at the airport, but also on the train to and from here, we've got showcase acts as well. One of the really important things about Big Sound is that it has an international focus. I mean, the music industry now is a global industry. Asia's such a massive part of the world, and the music industry, in many respects, from a Western perspective, has not really acknowledged that Asia is an incredible part of the global music industry. So, this year, we've invited a whole lot of people to talk to us about the Asian music industry, and all of the different markets that are within it, and to provide advice to us from an Australian perspective as to how we actually navigate our way through the Asian industry.

Chedrick Yeo: My name is Chedrick Yeo. I come from Singapore, and I work for G-Pop, which is a wholly owned German licensing company. We've got 53 licensees, both majors and independents, across the region, from Japan to Middle East, even to Australia.

Jason Magnus: Jason Magnus, that's my name. I run a company called Rock for China, which is a Hong Kong company, music company. We're one of the first companies to bring big foreign rock bands into China.

Oum Pradutt: My name is Oum Pradutt, and I head an organisation called Phase One Events and Entertainment Private Limited, which is headquartered in Bangalore, in India. In terms of India as a market, it's really open to all kinds of international music, though it constitutes just about 8% of the total music that really sells, and there is a potential for it to grow even further. I discovered that the whole globe is truly talking about Asia, and particularly China and India. And I felt that there was this gap that existed between the big rock acts that really come into the country, like your Aerosmiths of the world, down to having nothing at all. Which is when I realised there was a niche market that exists for these kind of artists to perform in India.

Chedrick Yeo: A lot of the success of exporting music into Asia is trying to find that niche. I think Asia as a region, and the different markets, are unique in its own characteristics. So you can say "One formula fits all," though I must say that with regards to dealing in Asia, you need to have a relationship.

Jason Magnus: Our main event is the Beijing Pop Festival. We focus on the live music business, because, frankly, it's the only area of the music industry that's growing. It's also a very healthy platform for foreign artists looking to break into an emerging market, which I think is probably easier than in a developed market like America or Europe. At least with China, everything is developing, so you can kind of ride on the back of that and just see where it takes you.

Tania Nugent: And where does Big Sound take you? Out late, as the showcase continues in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane's famous live music precinct.

Chedrick Yeo: And, you know, hopefully we'll find something suitable for our Asian market, and we'll definitely get in touch with the partners and the labels who are involved.

Oum Pradutt: This is my first visit. You know, it's interesting to meet different people, different panellists and people from the Queensland Government, and I think they're very encouraging.

Jason Magnus: The slate is pretty full at Big Sound in terms of live performances. Hopefully one or two of them will resonate and can take them back to China.