• Panel: Listen to the Music
    • Sunday 20 June 3:00pm - 4:00pm


Peter Karpin

“It's a Wonderful Life - that's a classic favourite movie of mine and the title simply sums up how I feel about my working life in the music industry. I grew up with the 45 vinyl single and the 33rpm vinyl album. I saw the cassette format come and go, the arrival of the CD and now iTunes. For me a couple of things have remained constant though:

  1. Australia flourishing with great musical talent and
  2. My love of that talent

Can you imagine how lucky I felt when I fell into a career in the music industry after leaving school and having no idea which direction to head in?

Peter commenced his career as a Promotions Manager at Festival Records, Melbourne in the early 1970s. The company was a massive force in those days with rights to such labels as A&M Records, Island, Chrysalis etc.

The local artists roster was Peter's passion though, working with such artists as Skyhooks, Sherbet, Richard Clapton and Split Enz. He actually was the first promo person to walk into a radio station and plug Mushroom's very first piece of product; a single entitled “Goodbye Lollipop” from Melbourne act Madder Lake.

In the mid-seventies Peter commenced his long life at Sony Music (then CBS Records). Again, passionate about Australian music, as National Promotions Director, he lead the launching and breaking of Dragon & Airsupply's careers. As well, Peter worked on campaigns that broke the careers of Billy Joel and Boz Scaggs in Austraila.

Over the next couple of decades, Peter moved into A&R with CBS/Sony with stints in New York and London along the way. He worked with such varied artists as Leonard Cohen and The Clash to Harry Belafonte and Uriah Heep! His signing of Men at Work in the early ‘80s was a golden moment. Heading up Sony's A&R department from 1987 to the end of the 90s was a golden era, Peter signing such artists as Tina Arena, Rick Price, Daryl Braithwaite, Company of Strangers and the Comedy Company. Peter also A&R'd multi-platinum artists Human Nature, The Black Sorrows, Noiseworks and Margaret Urlich and he helped mastermind and set up Sony Music Australia's ‘indie style' label Murmur, and was part of the team responsible for the signing of Silverchair to that entity.

In 2001 Peter moved to the publishing side of the business, taking up the position of Managing Director, BMG Music Publishing. The passion for Australian music shone through again with the signing of Powderfinger, Bernard Fanning, The Rogue Traders and Adam Reily (the most successful behind the scenes Australian songsmith of the past decade). During this time, Peter was elected to the AMCOS Board of Directors in 2001 and re-elected in 2004. He also served as APRA Director from 2004-2007.

With Universal Music Publishing acquiring BMG Music Publishing in late 2007, Peter moved back to his first love, A&R, being appointed Head of Mercury Records Australia to again sign and A&R new local artists. Peter also works with Universal artists Vanessa Amorosi and Kate Ceberano, continuing a long and successful ongoing creative relationship with Ralph Carr. In the past few years Peter and his team have built an impressive embryonic roster for the Mercury label of brand new fresh talent with the likes of Megan Washington, Dash & Will and Short Stack.

It sure is a wonderful life!

back to speakers

Peter Karpin

Peter Karpin