SXSW talkfest on global music cities

Dr Andrea Baker.
Dr Andrea Baker.

The global music cities of Melbourne, Austin and Berlin will feature in a talkfest chaired by a Monash University academic at the world’s largest music and media conference in Austin, Texas next month.

Music historian and journalism academic, Dr Andrea Jean Baker from the School of Media, Film and Journalism will chair a keynote panel at this year’s South By South West (SXSW), which will look at Global Music Cities such as Melbourne, Austin and Berlin, and their contribution to the cultural economy – Dr Baker’s current area of research.

“Melbourne, Austin and Berlin sit at far corners of the world with different cultures, climates and distinct sounds, but each has one major thing in common – they are branded as three of the most supportive cities for live music in the world,” Dr Baker said.

“However, high density living, residential development, local planning, regulation and licensing laws continue to impact on these cities, which are noted as some of the globe’s busiest live music corridors.

“In this scenario, Melbourne, Austin and Berlin’s pro-growth live music industries have needed a united community voice and perhaps, a seat at the government table to help maintain their global music city status.”

The Global Music Cities panel will also include Nick O’Byrne, Don Pitts and Christian Morin.

Mr O’Byrne is the General Manager of AIR, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association. 

He is also the Executive Programmer of BIGSOUND – Australia’s largest music industry conference and festival for emerging artists. As well as this, he manages Australian musicians Courtney Barnett and Sterling Silver. 

Mr Pitts is the Music Program Manager at the City of Austin (Texas), and has more than 25 years of experience in the music industry, including sixteen years in the Entertainment Relations Division with Gibson Guitar.

Mr Morin, who was involved the underground clubs in the former East Berlin in the early nineties, Morin set up the music agency Headquarter entertainment in Berlin, was founding member of the Berlin Music Commission and helped to establish Berlin’s Music board, a German government initiative to promote contemporary local music, in early 2013.

“The panel will allow us to explore to how these three cities are best able to support live music and the lessons learnt which might be able to be translated for other cities around the world,” Dr Baker said.

SXSW is the key event on the music calendar. It is attended by over 75 per cent of the world’s music industry, and over 19,000 people will have the opportunity to hear from the panel.

In 2013 Dr Baker had research residences at the University of Texas (Austin) (and attended SXSW) and at the Freie Universität’s Institute for Arts and Media Management in Berlin (Germany).

She is also a project leader for the annual Melbourne Music Week, and a founding member of the St Kilda Live Music Community, which deals with issues surrounding live music.

In July 2013, she was appointed the academic representative on the City of Melbourne’s Music Strategy (2013-2017) whose aim is to present Melbourne as a dynamic, global music city.

Click here for more details of SXSW’s Global Music Cities’ presentation