BrandAmp, the 50/50 European joint venture comprising Universal Music Group and global communications agency WPP, is expanding internationally with the launch of an office July 8 in Sydney.

The Australian deal is forged between Universal Music Australia and WPP's media investment arm GroupM.

London-based BrandAmp was established in September 2006 to develop music and brand partnerships for WPP agencies and clients.

Acts to benefit from the new subsidiary will include Universal's international acts like U2, Jack Johnson, Sting, 50 Cent and Black Eyed Peas, as well as local-based artists Powderfinger, Wolfmother, Vanessa Amorosi, Kate Ceberano and Brian McFadden. They will work with GroupM's ad clients such as MediaCom, MindShare, Maxus and Mediaedge:cia.

BrandAmp Australia's GM Darren Aboud tells, "Response (from clients) has been very positive." The first signing is expected by late July, and will go to market by February 2009. The office will also tap music from other record labels.

Aboud is a Universal Music vet. He served as marketing director in Australia before relocating to Hong Kong in 2001 as VP for international marketing covering Asian territories. He was based in London as the company's VP of U.S. repertoire from 2004 to 2007.

The band-and-brand sector in Australia is experiencing rapid growth. Sean Pickwell, managing director of Sydney-based Waterfront Entertainment Marketing, estimates the sector grew 60% last year and will achieve a similar growth in 2009. He puts its annual revenue at A$12 million to A$15 million ($11.3 million to $14.17 million).

The arrival of BrandAmp to Australia "will provide an unmatched ability to deliver incredible new opportunities for brands and advertisers," according to George Ash, managing director of Universal Music Australia, in a statement.

Raja Kanniappan, Sydney-based COO of GroupM Australia adds, "Music is a very effective communication channel and connects brands to very specific audiences. GroupM is very excited about the BrandAmp partnership with Universal Music and its launch will allow our clients and media agencies to harness the power of music."