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Music creation a key to digital games tax offset

Media Published Thursday 22 June 2023

APRA AMCOS, the region’s largest music industry body which represents the rights of over 115,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers across Australasia, welcomes the establishment of a 30 per cent tax incentive aimed at significantly growing the digital games industry in Australia.

“This digital games tax offset will be a boon for local songwriters, composers, sound designers and music publishers with APRA AMCOS successfully advocating for the inclusion of music creation as part of the offset,” said APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Dean Ormston.

“APRA AMCOS has developed an ambition for Australia to become a net exporter of music in the next decade. This tax offset has the potential to further develop Australia as a key music market exporting to the traditional markets of North America and Europe as well as accelerating emerging markets of Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

“Local songwriters and games composers have already attracted significant international attention and accolades with locally created breakout games that have had global success. These include Hollow Knight, Untitled Goose Game, Unpacking, Fruit Ninja, The Artful Escape and Cult of the Lamb.

“As well as this, local songwriters, composers and music publishers have already earnt significant royalties for the use of their music as part of digital game downloads in Europe and North America.

“The commissioning of local composition and music in digital games developed as a result of this tax offset will be an integral part of Australia’s intellectual property portfolio and provide further international opportunities for local artists.”

For the last seven years, APRA AMCOS has presented High Score, a conference on composition and sound art for games, in partnership with the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. High Score, which is part of the Melbourne International Games Week program, brings together music creators and games developers to explore the important role that audio and sound plays in game design and help develop the skills of local songwriters and composers for digital games.

APRA AMCOS in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts (soon to be known as Creative Australia) granted the 2023 Digital Futures Initiative to the research team led by the University of South Australia's Dr. Sam Whiting to explore the potential of new technology that empowers composers and musicians in games music creation.

The Australian interactive games industry is expanding rapidly, with Interactive Games and Entertainment Association's 2022 survey showing almost 60% employment growth and revenue of $284 million, an increase of 26% over the previous year.

“The opportunity for Australia to harness the potential of music creation through this tax offset will provide a vital income stream through the employment of composers and musicians and with the right intellectual property framework provide long-term income streams from royalties for the creators of this music,” said Dean Ormston.