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Digital Futures Initiative grant recipients announced

Media Published Tuesday 28 June 2022

Congratulations to the two recipients musician Sally Coleman and RMIT's Ian Rogers.

The new initiative delivered by the Australia Council for the Arts and APRA AMCOS, connects Australian music and new technology.

Supporting opportunities for wider distribution and new audiences online for Australian music.

Musician, radio personality and music industry professional Sally Coleman and RMIT popular music studies scholar Ian Rogers will each receive a Digital Futures Initiative grant of $20,000 to support projects at the intersection of Australian music and new technology.

Offered in partnership between music rights management group APRA AMCOS and the Australia Council for the Arts, the Digital Futures Initiative aims to increase audiences for Australian music, establish a critical base of knowledge and develop new ideas within innovative distribution platforms.

Coleman is the creative director of a new science fiction virtual band called Big Sand. Her funding will support the production of 'Documenting the Big Sand Live Experience', a mini-documentary series that will capture the process of researching, developing and launching a new kind of music gig: a live, motion-capture performance streamed into a venue in real-time.

Big Sand is a highly collaborative animated band that sees Coleman using motion capture, Unreal Engine and virtual production to bring the characters and their fictional world to life. Previously, she was the host of triple j Breakfast as part of Sally and Erica, and one half of hip hop duo Coda Conduct.

“I'm experimenting with so many ideas and new technologies at the moment, and I'm really passionate about sharing what I learn so that other artists can benefit too. Support from APRA AMCOS’ Digital Futures Initiative will allow me to do this – so I'm super grateful and really excited to show everyone what I've been working on!” said Coleman.

A senior lecturer at RMIT University, Rogers wants to help Australian musicians to get involved in the Web3 space. His project will fund local musicians to investigate and collaborate on NFT projects, and Rogers is also producing a podcast that will help all musicians make informed decisions about the space.

“Exploring untested and difficult topics is the very core of what a music academic does, and this funding directly fosters this. Web3 can be volatile, and there are unsettled issues in the space around its cultural fit with musicians generally, and Australian musicians specifically. I don’t want to teach Web3 to my students – and my music communities – without the sort of rigorous, open-minded research that I can do at RMIT with this support from APRA AMCOS,” said Rogers.

Coleman and Rogers are the first recipients of the new initiative between APRA AMCOS and Australia Council.

"We are pleased to partner with APRA AMCOS to deliver this project as part of our broader Digital Culture Strategy, which aims to broaden opportunities for distribution for Australian music and enable Australian artists to reach new audiences online," said Australia Council Head of Music Kirsty Rivers.

"The initiative has already surpassed our expectations – the quality of applicants was so impressive and thanks to additional investment by the Australia Council, we were able to extend the opportunity to two recipients. The industry is approaching a tipping point with new technology starting to impact the distribution and consumption of music. This initiative will allow new ideas to rise to the top and help export Australian music to the world," said Chris O’Neill, Director, Engagement and Stakeholder Management, APRA AMCOS.