George Ash, Michael Coppel, Michael Gudinski, Denis Handlin and Rachel Kelly lead the Australasian contingent in Billboard’s latest roll-call of the most powerful music executives around the globe.

With global music sales soaring, thanks chiefly to the booming popularity of streaming platforms, Billboard explains, these are among executives “who are driving the industry’s success outside the U.S.”

All told, more than 50 execs feature in the International Power Players List for 2019, published early Wednesday.

It’s the first time on the list for Kelly, who launched Downtown Music in Australia last February and immediately got down to business. In its first year, the independent music company’s Sydney-based arm enjoyed successes with The Teskey Brothers, Stella Donnelly and John Butler Trio, whose latest LP Home blasted to No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The country’s geographical isolation “somehow works in our favour,” she tells Billboard. “Independent artists are thriving.”

downtown staff with stella donnelly signing

Australia is “one of the top live touring markets in the world,” says Coppel, whose concert promoting giant posted sellouts in 2018 from Cher, Taylor Swift, Kevin Hart and Roger Waters, and helped Pink shift upwards of 600,000 tickets.

Denis Handlin

Elsewhere in the report, Handlin, Sony’s longest-serving executive worldwide at 49 years (including 35 years leading the Australian business), says the company has invested “millions” in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, including A&R-driven joint ventures like dance label Liquid State.