San Francisco-based digital distribution, marketing and technology company Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) will open an office in Sydney on Oct. 15.

Its managing director will be Nathan McLay, head of digital at Inertia Distributions for the past three and a half years, owner of the Future Classic label and a well-known club DJ and remixer.

IODA's founder and CEO Kevin Arnold revealed the news Oct. 5 at the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) Independent Labels Summit. The summit was held as part of the three-day Big Sound conference in Brisbane beginning Oct. 3, organized by the Queensland government-funded music association QMusic, and which drew 400 attendees.

Arnold told the move will allow IODA closer ties with its local partners. These include distributors such as Shock Records, Stomp Entertainment, Destra Entertainment, Inertia, and Rubber Records and retail partners including iTunes Music Store, Big Pond, and Destra Digital.

Ioda AU will also prepare and encode Aussie tracks for delivery to IODA's network of more than 350 retail outlets, subscription services and mobile outlets worldwide. "Australia is a territory that is going to see major digital growth," Arnold says. "Its music is high quality and diverse." IODA opened offices in London and Paris this year.

The summit looked at ways to create new income and new business models for indie labels. The 360-degree approach, where labels take a share of their artists' non-recording royalties, was lauded as the shape of things to come.

In his keynote speech, David Williams, CEO of Shock Entertainment, recounted Shock's growth from three partners working out of a suburban bedroom to a three-city operation with an annual gross of A$100 million ($90 million) and 180-strong staff. Williams said Shock has moved into publishing, computer games, DVDs (which now accounts for 60% of revenue), a clothing line, a 10% stake in a beer company called Mountain Goat and planned to move into film production.

But he warned that it was important to keep perspective. "Don't close the chapter on record labels just yet, they still do the best job in marketing and promoting your artists," he said.

Also announced at the Indie Label Summit was AIR's new partnership with alcohol brand J├Ągermeister as naming rights sponsor of its annual awards. The gala will be held in Melbourne next month at a date to be specified.