Australian acts should target North American festivals, delegates were told at Sydney's recent AustralAsian Music Business Conference.

Australian acts should target North American festivals, delegates were told at Sydney's recent AustralAsian Music Business Conference.

Speaking on Saturday (Aug. 13), the third and final day of the confab, Roland Swenson, founder and CEO of South By Southwest in Austin, TX, said, "There is an Australian brand at SxSW, and it's recognized as a quality brand."

SxSW will in March 2006 host an Australian showcase event, as it has in the past three events. This year, 350 Aussie acts applied to perform at the official showcase, of which 30 were chosen and 17 made the journey.

SxSW is considered so vital for the Australian business that the government's export funding and trade support association Austrade has set up a full-time representative in Austin to support acts. The Australian SxSW showcase in March generated 12 label, publishing, management or agent deals came directly from last year's showcase, Austrade says.

Canadian Music Week, also to be held March 2006, is marketing itself as a key destination for the Australian business. "Australian acts have a reputation for being strong live," says its founder Neill Dixon, who delivered a presentation in Sydney on the Canadian music market. CMW, which held an Australian showcase this year plans to hold a larger one next year. Dixon said that Aussie acts performing at CMW would not need a work permit to enter Canada.