Michael Chugg’s connection with Asia is well documented. With the launch of a Chugg Music office in the region, the legendary promoter is keen to build bridges for all Australian acts, not just those on his roster.

Chugg Music Asia was set up some six months and announced last week, with Michael “Mick” De Lanty running the operation from Bangkok.

The pan-Asian business is already paying off.

“Chugg Music is doing really well. It’s gathering traction,” Chugg tells TIO. “Traditionally up there for an Aussie act to make it you had to be starting in America or England. We’re slowly going to break that down.”

That process has already started under De Lanty, who boasts more than 15 years’ experience with Sony Music Australia and with independent labels in Australia, Asia and the U.K.

The first project handled by the new office is Sheppard’s ‘Somebody Like You,’ a collaboration between the Brisbane pop outfit and Taiwanese singer Sammy, performed in Mandarin and English and released 18th September.

Stream Sheppard x Sammy’s ‘Somebody Like You’:

The collab is enjoying support from MTV Asia, Channel V Asia, and from radio in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore.

Never miss industry news

Get the latest music industry news, insights, and updates straight to your inbox. Learn more

Chugg Music’s roster is now registered with the Chinese streaming companies, Chugg notes, and several local collaborations are in the works with his label’s artists, including Sheppard, Lime Cordiale, Mia Rodriguez and Casey Barnes, whose latest ‘Bright Lights’ is getting some love from MTV Asia and Channel V Asia.

Listen to Casey Barnes’ ‘Bright Lights’:

Also, Sheppard is recording music with artists from Korea, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, while China’s NetEase freemium streaming service, and other Asian media are supporting Lime Cordiale.

According to Chugg, MTV has reached out to cut a couple of specials with those two acts.

Lime Cordiale
Lime Cordiale

Chugg also points to the support of Asia Pop 40. Executive produced by Rob Graham, the regional weekly chart countdown radio show currently highlights Rodriguez’ ‘Emotion’ on its homepage as a “buzz track”.  Sheppard has already featured on the platform for interviews.

“We’re being embraced,” notes Chugg, “because we’ve got someone on the ground who everyone knows.”

With Asia predicted to dominate politics and culture in the 21st century, Chugg has made it a personal mission to connect Australia’s creative community with music fans in neighbouring territories.

Stream Mia Rodriguez’ ‘Emotion’:

Chugg has “done a lot shows up there over the years,” including a Foster the People tour of Asia, and Chugg Entertainment’s sister company Frontier Touring toured several A-list acts region in the ‘80s and ‘90s. 

And in 2011, Chugg and Danny Rogers of Lunatic Entertainment expanded the Laneway tour into Singapore for the first of several runs in the city state.

Chugg has even dabbled with running venues in Asia.

With the pandemic shutting down touring, partying and international travel, expanding Chugg Music was the right move.

“You can make money out of radio airplay up there,” Chugg notes. “It’s not just about live, it’s about building the bands.”

Chugg Music, the independent management, record label, label services and publishing business, was launched by Chugg and Andrew Stone in 2012.

Last year, the pair launched City Pop Records and announced Mia as its first signing

The concerts veteran is clearly itching to get back out on the road, but that isn’t happening any time soon. For now, all his attention is on the label.

“I’m so pleased I’ve got Chugg Music,” he reflects. “I’ve had nothing else to fucking do for the last eight months.”