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2025 Professional Development Awards

The APRA Professional Development Awards exist to provide support to emerging songwriters and composers. Thirteen recipients will each receive a game-changing $10,000 cash prize to support their development.

It is expected that the funds will help recipients attend workshops, music education courses, composer seminars, co-writing sessions and other relevant activities - locally or internationally.

Entries for the 2025 Professional Development Awards will open on Tuesday 6 August 2024.


I perform in many genres – can I apply for more than one category?

You should choose one category that you feel best fits your musical career currently – you cannot apply to more than one category.

I am in a band – can the band submit an application?

Applications are only available for individual songwriters – although the band’s music can be considered, the individual songwriter’s application responses will be considered alone. Additionally, prizes will be provided to the individual alone.

Can I apply to more than one Partner Organisation?

You can only apply once to the Professional Development Awards – only your first application will be accepted, any further entries will be deemed a duplicate and removed from judging.

How should I choose my Partner Organisation?

Some Partner Organisations can only receive certain Award categories – additionally, some Award categories can only be sent to certain Partner Organisations. You should initially review the list here to crosscheck your Award category before making your decision. All Partner Organisations have been provided with the same scoring criteria so your final decision should be made on personal preference.

Screen Composition can only select the Australian Guild of Screen Composers as their partner organisation.

Classical/Experimental Music can only select the Australian Music Centre as their partner organisation.

Music Theatre and NATSIMO awards will not be required to select a partner organisation.

Can I use it to fund our next album?

The Awards are NOT intended to fund recording, studio time, equipment or costs associated with a release, such as mixing or PR costs. Please consider this when writing your responses, as Partner Organisations will only assess applications that demonstrate a commitment to using the prize for professional development.

Can I use it to help promote my work – publicity / music video / advertising campaigns?

No. The Awards are intended to develop your skills as a songwriter or composer, not to pay for professional services to promote your work.

Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) and best practice for working with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities.

Where working with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and/or Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, preference will be given to applicants that can demonstrate compliance with best practice protocols.

For more information on what Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property is and what best practice protocols are, please see the protocol guide published by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Applications without adequate supporting documentation from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait partners or collaborators included in any way in the applicable will be ineligible.

NATSIMO, APRA AMCOS and our members are reviewing systems and structures with APRA AMCOS to address the specific needs to music creators who create elements of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. Applicants can reach out to NATSIMO directly to discuss your application at [email protected]

Do I need to obtain permission from the relevant people/communities when using Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Knowledge?

Obtaining permission is essential when using someone else's work or knowledge. Requesting permission involves seeking approval to use their work, but it's important to recognise that the answer may be "No." Owners are not obligated to grant permission.

What is Indigenous Cultural Content?

Indigenous Cultural Content encompasses information conveyed through tangible and intangible cultural expressions, serving to communicate cultural preservation, artistic expression, political self-determination, and cultural sovereignty. This content, specific to people, place, and culture, extends beyond text, encompassing Indigenous stories, dances, songs, ceremonies, language, history, and other aspects of heritage and property.

The NATSIMO advocates for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make self-determined decisions regarding Indigenous Music, including defining what Indigenous Music is, determining its usage, specifying when and by whom it is used, and clarifying the purpose of its use.

What is Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)?

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) pertains to the rights Indigenous people possess and uphold to safeguard their cultural heritage. ICIP encompasses a dynamic heritage, encompassing objects, sites, stories, images, knowledge, and other content transmitted across generations within a specific Indigenous group or its territory. It is also commonly referred to as "Cultural Heritage."

NATSIMO advocates for the global rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities to autonomously make decisions about their Indigenous Cultural Content and Intellectual Property (ICIP), including (but not limited to):

  • Defining the elements contained within Cultural Works.
  • Determining permissible uses of Cultural Works.
  • Establishing when Cultural Works are to be utilized.
  • Setting permissions for those using or exposed to Cultural Works.
  • Clarifying the purpose behind the usage of Cultural Works.

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