Sydney is one of just three cities worldwide to form a membership-based network focused on creating connections on a global scale.

Announced today, the Music Cities Network (MCN) was initiated by Hamburg Music Business Association (IHM) and Sound Diplomacy last year.

The network now includes Sydney, Aarhus (Denmark) and Groningen (Netherlands) and has a four-pronged concentration:

  1. Improving cities through music policies and collaborative projects;
  2. Building greater networks and creating an actionable agenda for change;
  3. Providing and sharing information and research about music cities activities & policies
  4. Facilitating exchange and collaboration for music business, artists, cultural institutions and education.

The Network is launching an information exchange project where a selection of music venues from each of the four cities will share their audience development strategies and experiences. City of Sydney told The Industry Observer it is seeking interest from local venues in the coming weeks to take part in the project.

The results of the project will be presented to participating venues, festivals and cities.

The network has already facilitated a collaboration between two of its members. Earlier this year Aarhus based composer and percussionist Christian Windfeld recorded on the UNESCO world heritage-listed Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. Aarhus music industry association Promus reached out to the City of Sydney seeking help with approval from the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

Christian Windfeld said: “I got some really good stuff down on tape performing in the Great Turbine Hall, the Dog Leg Tunnel that penetrates the entire island and – most excitingly – inside a perfectly circular air raid shelter from World War II.“

The Music Cities Network has already been active in the industry conference circuit having hosted meet ups and forums at The Great Escape (Brighton, UK) and Eurosonic Noorderslag (Groningen, the Netherlands). This week it will present an official panel as well as a “Music Cities Mixer” networking event for all SXSW music delegates in Austin, Texas.

The panel speakers are: Katja Hermes (Sound Diplomacy), Jocelyn Kane (San Francisco Entertainment Commission), Timotheus Wiesmann (Hamburg Music Business Association), Hugh Nichols (City Of Sydney) and Jesper Mardahl (Promus).

In May, the network will take part in SPOT Festival in Aarhus, hosting a seminar program and a showcase of new talent from Hamburg, Aarhus and the “candidate-city” of Bergen, Norway.

In September, the network will also take part in Reeperbahn Festival (Hamburg, Germany).

Hugh Nichols said: “Music is both a cultural and economic industry that operates globally, but has its roots in local communities. There is lots of work happening here in Sydney to support our local industry, and being part of a network of cities doing similar work is a hugely worthwhile thing for us to do. The Music Cities Network gives us both a way of communicating our own work to international colleagues, as well as allowing us to keep up with all the great things other cities are doing. As the network grows and new cities join, these benefits will only increase.“