Australia Council For The Arts has today released the findings of a three-year research project looking at the cultural and economic value of Australian music exports.

The study was completed by University of Newcastle and Monash University, in conjunction with Sounds Australia, APRA AMCOS and Australia Council For The Arts, and looked at artists like Flume, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Methyl Ethel and Courtney Barnett as examples of success in overseas markets. 

“Music is one of our nation’s most powerful cultural exports," said Australia Council Arts Practice Director For Music, Paul Mason

"When our artists connect with audiences around the globe, they are sharing culture and perspectives. The increased number, range and diversity of Australian musicians who are achieving international success is promoting a rich and nuanced sense of Australian creativity in a global context."

“The insights from this research help to paint a clearer picture of the state of Australia’s exporting music industry, as well as the opportunities for its future, including potential avenues to support the continued growth of the industry."

APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston added, “More and more Australian musicians are now globally recognised household names, with music now standing alongside the powerhouses of Australian exports; food, agriculture, wine, tourism.

"But we are at a critical time for our industry, at a crossroad when the economic models that support music are shifting around the world.”

"The opportunity now is to build on the work in the North America and European markets and to explore the full potential of Australian music exports and people-to-people links in the Asia-Pacific rim and South America."

The report, released today, summarises five key insights from the study. These, along with key points within each insight, can be found below.

Australian music exports are increasing and delivering substantial economic and cultural benefits to the nation.

  • The export value of the Australia music industry is estimated to be approximately $195 million (Aussie artists, music publishers and record labels).

  • International royalty revenue has doubled in the past five years, growing from $21.6 million in 2013 to $43.7 million in 2018.

  • International performances reported to APRA AMCOS has grown from 2,845 in 2012 to 7,095 in 2017.

  • Live performance remains the top source of international income for Australian musicians.

Australian music exporters are entrepreneurial, able to straddle artistic and business realms, and to adapt and thrive in a changing environment.

  • Successful exporting relies on establishing trust, building networks and spending time in the target market.

  • Digital platforms are providing new business models for artists to reach global audiences.

Government and industry provide crucial support for export activities.

  • Government grants provided the largest source of export support among surveyed artists. Those with support from both government and industry reported the greatest export success.

Exports can provide vital income to artists. There is an opportunity to support more artists to develop their capacity to generate export income.

  • Four in ten surveyed artists reported foreign income or expenses.

  • The export income of Australian artists is highly concentrated, with 10% of artists accounting for 97% of total export income.

  • The United States, United Kingdom and Germany were identified as the top countries for music export.

  • YouTube searches have revealed that Australian artists have a wider presence internationally, particularly in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

  • One artist manager shared how social media engagement had shown them a new, highly engaged market: "We’d noticed the South American market tend to share and comment a lot… so I thought it might be a good place to experiment. And we announced the tour. They’re not massive venues, but we were able to gather, like, 4,000 emails of people who wanted to buy tickets..."

A growing number of countries around the world are recognising the value of music exports, and are evolving strategies to maximise their success.

  • Broader benefits of a successful music export strategy include tourism, national branding and national pride.

  • Export programs around the world are increasingly focused on technology and innovation (South Korea, Canada, Finland for example).

For more details and to read the full report, follow the link here.