News August 1, 2017

APRA AMCOS to reach out to women with revolutionary strategy

APRA AMCOS to reach out to women with revolutionary strategy

In conjunction with the release of a new study showing exactly how dire the gender imbalance is in Australian screen composition, APRA has just announced a huge initiative aimed at increasing the number of women in their membership ranks.

At the moment, just 21% of the members of the organisation are women – that’s lower than the proportion of women cricket players in Australia (24%). And just 10% of the royalties collected go to women.

APRA AMCOS’ first goal is a 25% increase in female members year on year over the next three years. They’re also executing a new “40/40/20” participation measure to ensure women make up a minimum of 40% of:

  • Judging panels for all APRA awards
  • APRA ambassadors
  • SongMakers mentors
  • SongHubs participants
  • Presenters and performers for awards ceremonies, workshops, member events
  • Participants in any external programs allocated APRA grants.

There’s also a massive mentorship and development program for songwriters and composers, with funds allocated for travel and living expenses for mentees, some work placements, and further initiatives like masterclasses and technicaly training, all with a focus on reaching women in particular.

Mentors include Ella Hooper, Amba Shepherd, Catherine Britt, Amanda Brown, Mark Lizotte, Tom Busby, Eva Trifonas, Charlotte Abroms, John Watson, Felicity Urqhuart, Montaigne, Jay Stewart and KLP. 

A new report released Monday evening adds to the mounting pile of data that women are massively underrepresented in the Australian music industry, with just 13% of APRA-registered screen composers identifying as women, half of the women surveyed believing their gender had negatively affected their careers, and women enrolling in composition courses being outnumbered two or three to one by men.

The study, conducted by RMIT researchers in conjunction with APRA AMCOS, included multiple respondents describing the industry as a “boys’ club”, multiple tales of sexual harassment, and showed that a much higher proportion of female composers had formal qualifications, as they felt they had to do so to be taken as seriously and get as many opportunities as men.

The report follows the groundbreaking Girls To The Front report released by triple j’s Hack earlier this year, which drove home the imbalance in participation and recognition of women in the Australian music business. From the Hottest 100, awards and festival bills (Splendour was 75% men this year) to behind-the-scenes decision-makers at the very top of the industry (there are exactly zero women on the ARIA and AIR boards at present)

MORE: Read TMN’s exclusive interview with APRA mentor Ella Hooper: “We need a Hans Zimmer who’s a woman!”

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