Methodology

The Australian Research Council project comprised four overlapping methods, involving combinations of surveys, interviews, observations and/or policy analysis:

(i) Australian music industry> data

Online Australian music industry surveys were distributed to Australian musicians, publishers, recording labels, booking agents and related sector- workers. Two surveys were conducted with the assistance of partner investigators, Sounds Australia and APRA AMCOS. Survey questions related to different industrial activities (manager, artist, booker, etc.), the frequency and nature of both domestic and international work, types of (public, private) assistance and funding and annual revenue streams for different activities. Enquiries about revenue streams proved difficult for many participants, who were wary of revealing incomes (despite assurances from industry bodies that individual responses would not be highlighted, and that all data adhered to university guidelines of confidentiality). The first survey (November 2016— June 2017) targeted Australian industry participants (including musicians, singers, songwriters, composers, DJs, music managers, music publishers, record labels, record producers and booking agents). Participants were identified through email invitations to Sounds Australia contacts, and national radio and press releases. The relatively low response (127 completed surveys) prompted a second survey (March-October 2018) targeting music publishers and recording labels that produced a further 22 responses. An additional survey of major booking agents in the United Kingdom and the United States, to obtain information on the revenues of Australian acts they had booked in the last three years, garnered a further eight responses.

Additional data were gained from central industry and govermnent sources to complement the surveys, including the Department of Jobs and Small Business, the Australasian Performing Right Association - Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society (APRA AMCOS), the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), the Australian Recording Industry Association Limited (ARIA) and the Australasian Music Publishers’ Association Limited (AMPAL).

(ii) Export Data Collection

Sounds Australia survey: The team gained access to a set of surveys undertaken by Sounds Australia between 2009 and 2016, cataloguing artist, manager and industry experiences where Sounds Australia had a presence at an international event. Questions related to combined forms of financial assistance and outcomes (opportunities, deals made). This constituted 58 surveys (2009-2016) and 701 participants, which were compiled and analysed. The insights from these surveys informed the design of the final Export Strategies survey to investigate the impact of exporting opportunities over time.

An Export Strategies survey was conducted in 2018 of 405 artists and artist managers who had completed the above Sounds Australia survey, to identify the impact and strategies that may have resulted from selected international music market events. Questions related to possible opportunities relating to expoxt activities; income streams; financial investments; and nontangible investment activities such as promotions, publicity and networkbuilding.3 Artists and managers were also interviewed, with 15 interviews completed between 2015 and 2018, focusing on themes of export readiness, export strategies and their experience of international industry events.4

(iii) Policy> data/analysis

In 2016, a project database was created of govermnent, industry and academic literature relating to music exports, and the role of culture in national/ global trade. For non-English-speaking nations, research assistants with relevant language skills were hired for key translations of core policy and industry documents (France, South Korea). From 2016, project members attended core music expoxt events within and outside of Australia, including music trade fairs (for example, MIDEM), and core music showcase and festival events designed (at least in part) to present acts to new audiences and markets (for example, SXSW, The Great Escape, Primavera). National export managers and key workers charged with promotional activities at these events were observed, and in many cases, interviews were conducted with them on-site. In addition, team members observed Sounds Australia information sessions for aspiring exporters in Melbourne and Sydney. A total of 66 export administrator interviews were conducted from 2016 to 2018, including export office administrators, governmental department workers and heads and export event administrators and workers. Questions related to then- roles in policies and strategies, national branding strategies, local funding infrastructure and music export activities in relation to wider local industrial ecosystems.

In consultation with partner investigators APRA AMCOS and the Australia Council, seven nations were selected for further investigation as countries with active music export schemes/offices: France, South Korea, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Norway. These nations were chosen as good examples of expoxt policy innovation, as longstanding music export countries or as exaxnples of both. Beyond these case studies, Australia’s music export office, Sounds Australia, was exaxnined as a separate entity through access to our funding partners’ data. This level of access meant that Australian contexts are inevitably xnore detailed than the other case study nations, where the project team has relied upon interviews and public industry and government documents for assessment. In some cases (South Korea), the relative lack of access to key government and industry figures has been a barrier to a more comprehensive analysis.

(iv) Observation/analysis

As we will discuss later in the book, international circuits of trade fairs, industry conferences and promotional festivals retain considerable influence in music expoxt activity. Such gatherings provide “settings in which people from diverse organizations and with diverse purposes assemble periodically, or on a one-time basis, to announce new products, develop industry standards, construct social networks, recognize accomplishments, share and interpret information, and transact business” (Lampel axid Meyer, 2008, p. 1026). Beyond the advantages of like-minded professionals catching up, they also offer “occasions for information exchange and collective sense-making” (ibid., p. 1027). Expoxt music event organisers, then, are paxt of broader creative ixxdustries’ efforts in "seeking ecorxomic gains [that] are consequently deeply entwined with their need to react to and anticipate field developxnents, and to position themselves as ixxtermediaries between potential audiences and broader field developments” (Schlusser et al., 2014, p. 418). These “festivals, fairs, and conferexxces build on the social xxetworks present in a field (Maskell et al., 2006), but the selection of particular audiences contributes to the forming or redesigning of these networks” (ibid., p. 419). In their 2014 study of German popular music industry events (including Reeperbahn), SchtiBler, Dobusch and Wessel found a considerable need for events to offer different platforms than their rivals (with some separating commerce from other activities); intense competition for hosting events, related to local boosterism; different understandings of industrial connections; and continual validation of the “new” ("disrupted fields”) (SchtiBler et al., 2014, p. 419).

This broader understanding—that a music trade fair is not simply representative of the field, but also comes to actively construct it—is useful in this project. Project members attended various global export gatherings, including South by Southwest, The Great Escape, MIDEM and A2IM. In addition to interviews with national export office staff, we also observed the array of presentations, national stand displays and interactions with delegates, performances and related business meetings (brief and protracted) central to these events. We acted as “observers] as participant” (Brewer, 2000, p. 84): We made those we came in contact with aware of our research intentions as we participated as audience members (checking out industry and national stands, attending conference presentations, collecting materials offered in relation to export presentations). Beyond finding other potential interviewees (with key industry workers providing introductions to other industiy sectors and figures), we were more interested in observing how both seasoned participants and newcomers made sense of the intense milieu which was a recurring feature of such events, including the networking choices and decisions made. This global circuit was also useful in assessing the “social” and “symbolic” frames (Moeran, 2011, pp. 86-87) of interaction, particularly attempts to interpret how each nation regarded other representations and strategies; and the degree of collaboration between seasoned industry workers. In later chapters, we provide occasional snapshots, drawing on contemporaneous notes of the project team at different industry events.

 
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