The Independent Music Project is centred around the development and creation of new music, and includes research into copyright, business models of the future, new technologies, and new audiences.

The music industry is undergoing the most radical changes it has faced in almost a century. New digital technologies have made the production, distribution, and promotion of recorded music accessible to anyone with a personal computer. People can now make high-quality digital copies of music and distribute them globally within minutes. Even bastions of the established industries, such as EMI and Columbia, are struggling to make sense of the new industry terrain.

The whole employment picture has changed just as radically for people who wish to make a living from music. In Australia, many of the avenues that provided employment for musicians have either disappeared or dramatically shrunk. The advertising industry no longer provides the level of employment it used to prior to the Federal deregulation of the industry in 1992. In many places, new legislative pressures on inner-city and suburban venues have diminished the number of performance spaces that musicians can work in.

Just as quickly, new sectors have opened to professional musicians: computer games, ringtones, sound-enabled toys and web advertising all present new opportunities to the enterprising musician. The opportunity to distribute music internationally without being signed to a major label is very attractive to many aspiring and established professionals.

No doubt the music industry will face many more challenges as technologies continue to change, as global communication gets easier and faster, and as the challenges to copyright proliferate and change. These challenges cannot be successfully met on a single front. They require research and expertise from all sectors being affected, and this is why the independent music project (IMP) exists.