Swapping shirts at the end of the match is a time-honored tradition in some sports. The Aussie music business is taking a slightly different approach to the same theme.  

The Australian affiliate of advertising agency Droga5 is behind a multi-media campaign around this Sunday’s ARIA Awards, one which tilts the spotlight to homegrown artists. Spearheaded by Droga5’s CEO Sudeep Gohil, the project asks musicians and fans to wear an Aussie band shirt, photograph it and post the snap with the #unitedbymusic tag. 

The likes of Usher and Roger Sanchez have shared their snaps for the campaign.

Gohil and ARIA CEO Dan Rosen drew-up the project after last year’s awards. The agency’s plan was to “work with the ARIAs to help raise the profile of Australian music and help raise the profile of the ARIAs in general, and more to the point actually help Australians appreciate how amazing our music scene is,” Gohil notes.

It’s a campaign built around comradery -- or “mateship” in the Australian vernacular. And as Gohil explains, it extends above and beyond just foreign artists. Australian bands, celebrities and music fans are encouraged to show their colors.

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Back in July, William Morris Endeavor acquired a minority 49% stake in Droga5, which is headquartered in New York and has offices in London and Sydney. Through that strategic partnership, Droga5 has been able to tap WME’s roster. Marc Geiger, the head of music at WME, “has been helping us get in front of artists,” notes Gohil. “WME have been instrumental for us in getting the artists on board. As much as it sounds like a simple idea, you can imagine it’s tricky to get to the right people, get to the t-shirts, get them to take a photo of themselves, send it over.”

The campaign has a retail-dimension. Australian retail chain David Jones and fashion brand Marcs are shifting merch inspired by songs written by ARIA Award-nominated artists.

Gohil admits success in a campaign like this is tough to quantify. “The success of this will ultimately be for the ARIAs to have a bit more swagger about it, at bit more respect for what it does, and loving Australian music a bit more. The true extent of it will only come to the fore when people see it in retrospect. We’re trying to build a longer term platform around this whole idea of united by music.”
 
The ARIAs week began Nov. 26 and concludes Dec. 4, with the ARIA Awards the centrepiece.

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