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10 things you need to know about the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Tip Published Wednesday 23 September 2020
Vanda and Young Global Songwriting Competition is a very special worldwide songwriting competition based in Australia and open to songwriters of all genres, at any stage in their career, with all entry fee proceeds going directly to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (NORO).

So, what is the Vanda & Young Global Song Comp? We're glad you asked. Always worth a recap, especially for all you new songwriters around these parts. It is a very special worldwide songwriting competition based in Australia and open to songwriters of all genres, at any stage in their career, with all entry fee proceeds going directly to fund the transformative programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (Noro).

It has some pretty sweet cash prizes too that aim to give songwriters an important career boost and encourage them to keep on creating.

1st place - $50,000 (courtesy APRA AMCOS, Alberts, Sony Music Publishing)
2nd place - $10,000 (courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora)
3rd place - $5,000 (courtesy of Aon)
The AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize - $5,000 - for the standout work by an unpublished writer
Runners-up prize - 10x $1,000 cash prizes

That's the short version. But here is a bit more context for you. Read, ponder, and then enter your song!

1. Vanda & Young are musical heroes and the competition is named in their honour.
Harry Vanda and the late George Young founded The Easybeats, one of the first Aussie bands to really crack the international music market. They are responsible for The Easybeats’ classic Friday On My Mind, John Paul Young’s Love is in the Air and a slew of other hits.

2. Alberts is the music company that created the initiative.
Founded in 1885, Alberts is a family-run business that has played a vital role in the evolution of Australia’s media and popular culture since the early days of sheet music, to being the musical home of AC/DC and The Easybeats, and as a respected music rights management company. Read the abridged version of their incredible history. Their charitable involvement with Noro was the impetus to the competition.

3. Cash prizes. Just cash.
The winners do not receive stuff. They receive cash, because what does a songwriter need to fund their hopes, dreams, and the next regional tour or a new laptop? You know it.

In 2020, a very generous anonymous donor made 10x runner-up prizes of $1000 possible, and we're so pleased to be able to offer those additional prizes again in 2021. These runners-up will come from the Top 40 shortlist. Thank you anonymous donor!

4. World's biggest first-place cash prize for a songwriting competition.
$50,000 for first place, true story. It can help you fund the next stage in your career, as it did for 2016 winner Gretta Ray, who went to Nashville to write and record music. International friends, please note this is in Australian dollars.

5. Your song truly makes a difference to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.
There are some amazing songwriting competitions out there that we are big fans of, but Vanda & Young is pretty unique in that the full $50 entry fee goes to support Noro's programs. The 2020 competition saw songwriters propel all-time funds raised past $1.4million. Thank you, generous, talented songwriters!

6. The competition is open to songwriters from anywhere, doing all kinds of music.
There are no boundaries - geographically or musically - when it comes to song entries. A song can be sung in any language, it can be purely instrumental, released or unreleased, or in demo form. In 2020, there were song entries from 46 countries.

7. Previous winners have gone on to, oh, win Grammys.

And, the 'unpublished' winner a Global APRA Music Awards Breakthrough Songwriter LA!

8. Blind judging.
Vanda & Young judging is kind of like the blind taste test on The Great British Bake Off. Judges consume, but do not know whose creation it is they are listening to. All songs are given a unique code when submitted and the judges can only view this code and the song title. This means that all entries are anonymous until the final winners are revealed. At no stage will the identity of the applicants involved be revealed to the judges.

9. Speaking of judges...
They are award-winning songwriters, performers, journalists, A & R types, producers, managers, programmers and curators. The 2021 panel includes KLP, Anna Lunoe, reps from Warner Music Australia, Universal Music Australia, Double J and more.

10. Open to all ages.
We know how talented those peppy teens can be, so there are no age restrictions, but if you are under 18 you do need a parent's permission.