More than 750 delegates are expected to attend the 7th AustralAsian Music Business Conference, to be held August 11-13 at the Sydney SuperDome.

More than 750 delegates are expected to attend the 7th AustralAsian Music Business Conference, to be held August 11-13 at the Sydney SuperDome.

The AMBC takes place in a context dominated by market changes and declining sales figures in Australia. According to the Australian Record Industry Assn., figures for 2004 showed the volume of albums and music DVDs shipments fell by 3.8% year-on-year to 63 million units, for a 6% drop in value to A$606.9 million ($456 million).

Denis Handlin, chairman/CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia and chairman of ARIA, will deliver this year's keynote speech. He tells Billboard.biz that he will focus on what he sees as exciting changes in the industry.

"I will discuss why the record industry is in its best phase ever, despite the current lower sales; how record labels have and will continue to change not only in their marketing but also in the people they hire and the businesses they deal with," he says.

What excites Handlin most about the Australian music business is the myriad of new global marketing opportunities created by the digital area, "and the public's interest in music is stronger than ever before," he says.

Conference organiser Phil Tripp, managing director of Sydney-based events company Immedia!, says that new marketing concepts and reaching global audiences will be recurring themes at seminars.

The two other keynote speakers are Ted Cohen, EMI Music's global senior VP of digital delivery and distribution; and Roland Swenson, CEO of South By Southwest in Austin.

Tripp says digital distribution has provided Aussie acts and companies with greater global penetration than ever before. The presence of Swenson highlights the increasing importance of SxSW as a launching pad for record, publishing, touring and management deals in North America and Europe for Aussie acts.

Other seminars will look at new directions for the Australian music business, the future of A&R, avoiding rip-offs, new income from games and ads and branding through new technology. Showcasing upcoming technological gadgets is always a keystone at the AMBC.

Says Tripp, "Australians are early adopters of new gadgets because we're physically so far away from the rest of the world. We were one of the first to get mobile phones, and by capita are the biggest users of iPods and fax machines."