Music Export



Since 2016, Sound Diplomacy have been working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to produce a development strategy for the Cuban Music Industry.

What we did:

  • Developed the platform and framework for music to be seen as an industrial, job-creation mechanism, the first of its kind for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

  • Championed the interests of grassroots and domestic artists by coordinating successful education strategies and building wide international networks. This included 4 week-long workshops in 3 different locations.

  • Supported the coordination of outbound Trade Mission.

  • Provided individual company consultation to 9 music companies.

  • Through the implementation of the work we delivered for UNIDO in Cuba, a new music city strategy for Santiago de Cuba is currently being developed. This strategy is expected to attract more visitors and increase the number of overnight stays as a result of music tourism.

  • The strategy delivered for Cuba aims to strengthen their existing international events, therefore generating more opportunities for music export.

Sound Diplomacy were commissioned to write a strategy to develop the music industry in Cuba. The project aims to increase music export by 30%, as well as achieve gender equality in the Cuban music industry, provide jobs for young people, provide music companies with updated technology and improve intellectual property rights.

Alongside delivering a comprehensive strategy in partnership with the Cuban Ministry of Culture, music companies and musicians, we are delivering a series of workshops on music business, music policy for government, music cities and music tourism, artist development, music publishing and intellectual property.



Between 2015 and 2019 Sound Diplomacy was hired by Initiative Musik gGmbH to manage the German presence at SXSW, one of the most important trade shows for the music, technology and film industries in the world, in cooperation with Hamburg Music Business Association (IHM).

What we did:

  • Venue scouting in Austin

  • Event production and preparation for 5+ day event - including conference, concerts and interactive exhibitions.

  • Stakeholder engagement and invitations

  • Programming of music events at the German Haus

  • OrganiAation of Berlin Beats showcase with the support of Musicboard Berlin, showcasing musical talent from Berlin, including Robot Koch, rRoxymore, Stefan Goldmann and Perera Elsewhere.

We have worked in over 40 countries and with over 100 clients, spanning public, private and third sectors, such as the Greater London Authority, City of Cardiff, Ville de Lausanne, City of Brisbane and UNIDO. We are very proud to work with Initiative Musik and the partners of the German Haus on organizing the German presence at SXSW.

South By Southwest (SXSW) is one of the most important trade shows for the music, technology and film industries in the world. In 2017, approximately 1,000 Germans travelled to SXSW, showcase their music and network with international delegates.

A collaboration between different German states, cities and organisations and supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, the German presence included the German Haus and a Trade Show booth at the official SXSW Trade Show in Austin. Our work has involved coordinating activities at the Trade Show booth, but mainly focused on running German Haus. In line with the objectives, the German Haus offers space for showcases, networking activities, workshops, concerts and showcase events.

The goal of the German presence is to provide substantial business and networking opportunities for participating startups, businesses and musicians and to showcase Germany in the US and other international markets. In 2018 the German Haus and the German Trade Show booth registered over 10,000 visitors at SXSW.



Sound Diplomacy’s long-standing relationship with the Canadian Independent Music Association has seen us coordinate and write a series of market guides to countries around the world.

What we did:

  • Completed a series of extensive reports on 10 Latin American music markets for the Canadian Independent Music Association.

  • Analysed opportunities for Canadian independent music in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico or Chile, among others.

  • Provided introductions to 12 other music markets in the region including Guatemala, Ecuador and Paraguay.

 These market guides are country-specific and extensively profile music markets in regions our clients are interested in exporting to. Previously, our work has covered the markets of Ireland, Italy, France, UK, USA, India and Poland.

Most recently, we wrote a series of comprehensive market reports about Latin American for the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA). The project included ten in-depth reports on the region’s larger, more established markets, such as Brazil and Argentina. The study also included 12 one-page reports on smaller, developing markets, such as Peru and Panama. These were researched using a combination of local experts, desk research and industry interviews.

The guides act as encyclopaedias on the chosen markets, covering the recorded, live and publishing markets as well as secondary income streams, media and PR, and practical information on visas and tax structures. They also identify key consumer trends, from which genres are popular in each country, to the most used social media and streaming platforms, which cities had the most impactful audiences, and which music formats sold best. Finally, they include a directory of contacts from festivals and music venues to local labels, distributors, publishers, publicists, radio stations and other media sources, both physical and digital.

Latin America has the fastest-growing market in the world and offers many opportunities for Canada’s independent artists to develop their audiences.

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Published in May 2017, Sound Diplomacy's Global Music Export Pledge introduces the benefits of music export to governments around the world.

We want every country in the world to have a thriving, active music export initiative. It doesn’t matter how it is set up. It matters how its functions impact the artists it serves. Talent is everywhere, and great talent deserves the best support.

Only some countries and regions have music export initiatives; those that do are very lucky, because the business leaders running them are providing opportunities for artists across the sector, every day. So let’s learn from each other, work together and make music export an integral aspect of national, regional and local cultural policy. Join us at #musicexportpledge

The full Global Music Export Pledge is available free. For more information about the report, contact us here.

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