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Victorian songwriting investment will lead to global music success

Media Published Sunday 18 February 2024
L-R: Alice Ivy, Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks, APRA Chair Jenny Morris, SongMakers' Katie Wighton, APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston - photo by Lucinda Goodwin

"This initiative not only strengthens Victoria's reputation as a hub for musical excellence but also ensures that young people have the resources and support necessary to thrive in the competitive landscape of the music industry."

The nation’s largest music industry body APRA AMCOS, which represents the very best and brightest songwriters, composers and music publishers from across Australasia applauds the Victorian Government for its investment of $2 million in the high school songwriting program, SongMakers.

Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks announced the funding today at a media conference at the Australian Music Vault.

“This investment marks a pivotal moment in Victoria’s dedication to nurturing emerging musical talent and fostering a thriving creative economy,” said Dean Ormston, Chief Executive APRA AMCOS.

“SongMakers has long been celebrated as a cornerstone in empowering young songwriters, providing them with essential skills and opportunities to explore their creativity. Through this expanded program, Victorian students will not only be equipped with critical thinking, teamwork, and communication abilities, it will establish exciting pathways for the next generation of global hitmakers.

“Australian contemporary music is fast becoming the nation’s biggest cultural export and stands as a testament to our nation's creative excellence on the global stage. Central to this success is the ingenuity and talent of our songwriters, whose intellectual property fuels Australia’s creative industries and drives economic growth. With this investment, Victoria solidifies its position as a trailblazer in music innovation.

“There is a significant opportunity for Australia to become a net exporter of music, with Victoria home to the next great wave of global hits. A system of early mentoring by industry professionals is behind the decades-long songwriting success of Sweden, the world’s top music exporter. The lesson is there for us: when we build Australia’s songwriting capacity, we build our intellectual property, creating careers and generating income for the nation.

"We commend the Victorian Government's commitment to investing in programs like SongMakers. This initiative not only strengthens Victoria's reputation as a hub for musical excellence but also ensures that young people have the resources and support necessary to thrive in the competitive landscape of the music industry,” Dean Ormston said.

SongMakers brings students and teachers together with some of the most exciting names in music, providing real-world collaborative songwriting experiences, demonstrating the technology processes involved in recording and, importantly, engaging with concepts around valuing and respecting intellectual property.

SongMakers will see music industry experts hold songwriting and contemporary music industry skills development workshops in Victoria for over 1,400 young people, employing over 200 artists and providing professional development for more than 200 teachers.

Since the first SongMakers workshops in 2013, the program has connected with close to 4,000 young people and their teachers at more than 300 high schools nationally and created more than 1,200 original songs at workshops.

Workshops emulate industry-aligned songwriting processes, transforming classrooms into creative studio settings.

The $2 million investment in SongMakers underscores Victoria's unwavering dedication to fostering a dynamic and inclusive music ecosystem. By prioritizing initiatives that empower aspiring artists and songwriters, Victoria has set the stage for a future where creativity flourishes and opportunities go global.

“'We all know Victoria is the undisputed music capital of Australia, and that’s not just about attracting the biggest international acts. This program is investing in our next generation of local music talent, helping budding musicians take their music from the classroom to the bandroom and giving them the skills they need to build a career,” said Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks.

“We are thrilled by this commitment from the Victorian Government to invest in songwriting in schools. A good song creates jobs, lots of jobs. And a good song builds Australia’s intellectual property assets, generating big incomes that include export earnings, because a good song travels the world finding new performers and new audiences,” said Jenny Morris OAM MNZM, Chair APRA.

“The impact of this investment extends far beyond monetary value; it represents an investment in the cultural fabric of Victoria, enriching communities and inspiring future generations of artists. By providing young musicians with the tools and resources they need to succeed, we not only cultivate talent but also cultivate a sense of pride and identity within the state's creative landscape.

“Through this collaboration between government, industry, and schools, we can ensure that Victoria continues to thrive as a leader in music education and innovation. Together, we look forward to witnessing the transformative power of music in shaping our society and enriching the lives of all Victorians,” Jenny Morris said.

Victorian schools that want to take part in the program as it rolls out to more than 64 high schools across the state over the next two years can submit an Expression of Interest at the SongMakers website.

SongMakers has been made possible with the support of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and the Community Support Fund.