Finding a new audience in Australia

March 6, 2021

I recently had the honour of being a Gig Life Pro webinar panellist, alongside Jerry Soer from Collab Asia. For those who aren’t familiar with Gig Life Pro, it’s an APAC focused industry online portal, serving the function of a conference. If you’re like me and think that’s pretty neat, you can learn more about the great stuff they do here.

Jerry and I were interviewed by GLP Founder Priya Dewan, but also got a range of really thought-provoking questions from the audience. One particularly stood out to me:

​How can SE Asian artists start building their presence and introducing their music in Australia?

A very meaty question that I want to dissect further. Here’s why Australia is an extremely lucrative territory for Asian artists:

  • Despite its small population, Australia is the 6th largest music market by revenues, and 7th for digital sales. Bonkers. (Source.)
  • Australia is easier and cheaper to travel to from SE Asia, especially compared to the other non-Asian IFPI top music markets of USA, UK, Canada, France and Germany. (Source.)
  • Australia’s appetite in Asian genres is increasing. I’ve been monitoring Spotify’s “Discovery Tool” for a few years, and K-Pop is creeping up there as a growing genre. Outliers like Blackpink and BTS are probably driving this, but even so this shows potential growth.
  • 3% of surveyed Australians indicated an interest in Asian Pop, but this doubles to 6% when we look at 16-24 YOs. (Source.) I know 3-6% of a sample group sounds small, but this has been steadily increasing and is likely to continue. Spotify data also backs this up, with Gen Z being liking international artists more than any other generation. (Source.)
  • There are also at least 263K Australians born in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. (Source.) A significant chunk, and not even including students and Permanent Residents from the SE Asia.

So to answer the question, ​how can SE Asian artists start building their presence and introducing their music in Australia? It’s important to note 2 distinct audiences here that a SE Asian artist may want to market to:

  1. Australian locals, with no deep connection to Asia but have been shown to be increasingly interested in Asian pop culture especially music. This is intensified with Gen Z. Much larger audience but may need a bit more education and awareness building.
  2. SE Asian expats in Australia, with prior knowledge and love for Asian pop culture and music. Smaller audience, but likely to be higher intent and easier to convert or turn into ambassadors.

The audience you’re going after will really affect your promotional roll out. Some thought starters:

  • Pull on the right marketing ‘levers’. If you’re marketing an OS artist to Aussie audiences, you’re likely to be pushing a message around discovering a new hype artist. It’s all about discovery. If you’re reaching your expat crowd, then you might be promoting it as a community vibe, being proud of your local talent, or the rare chance to see an artist you’ve loved for a long time IRL.
  • Figure out which brands, media and personalities have cultural equity with each group. For instance, a great Popspoken interview may have weight with a Singaporean uni student in Melbourne, but not so much for Aussie who has never heard of the website. On the other hand, Time Out is big in both territories and would carry through. You may not need to find global brands, but just be mindful and don’t assume everyone reads/follows the same outlets as you.
  • Pick the right marketing channels. Expat communities may not exclusively use popular social media channels in Australia (ahem, Facebook and YouTube). Take a deeper dive into popular platforms in their origin country, in case they still use these to connect with family and friends. We Are Social x Hootsuite’s country reports are always my go-to for this data.
  • Understand local nuance and figure out where your artist sits in the music ecosystem. Artists that are considered ‘similar to’ are completely different for each territory. What is indie alternative overseas is often seen as extremely safe/commercial in Aus because our mainstream popular leans fairly left. Research this using Facebook Audience Insights for each country to find affinities. I find this more pertinent than Spotify’s “Fans Also Like” tab which seems to be global. Use these insight to pick appropriate tour supports, tour venues, media targets and playlisting targets.

While the thought of international artists playing gigs in Australia right now seems like a distant dream, it’s never too early to start finding and connecting with your audiences, no matter where in the world they are.


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