Environmental Music Prize Returns With $20,000 Bounty (EXCLUSIVE)
The Environmental Music Prize returns this year with a $20,000 winner’s cheque, awarded to an “environmental anthem” — the kind that can mobilise Australians in response to the climate emergency.
From today (Jan. 23), Australian artists can submit a music video for the Prize, a unique competition that rewards those artists that are releasing “meaningful music” and activating their followers.
Musicians from across all styles and genres are invited to submit releases that “celebrate nature” or raise awareness of the ongoing climate emergency or conservation.
The entry needs to be an original song and video released from Jan. 1 2020 – Feb 28, 2023, posted to YouTube, and, according to organisers, contain reference to nature or an environmental issue in its lyrics, or in the visual content of its clip.
Those submissions must “Connect us to the natural world, encourage us to reflect, or inspire us to protect the environment,” reads the competition criteria.
Voting closes June 4.
The top entries are then amplified through various channels, including opportunities for artists to talk about their songs with media, and at events, and by participating in Music Climate Leadership Workshops where they get to hear from and engage with environmental leaders.
The Prize is run by a start-up non-profit organisation, Environmental Music Limited, founded by social entrepreneur and climate advocate Edwina Floch.
Artists have an inspirational role to play in galvanising fans and sparking action on climate and conservation, notes Floch.
“Music has the power to capture our imagination, touch us deeply, and enable us to dream big. Artists are powerful communicators, idolised and trusted by their fans,” she explains.
The inaugural publicly-voted competition was awarded in 2022, after its finalists captured over 50,000 views and 7,500 votes from 58 countries, organisers say.
The first winner was “If Not Now, Then When?” by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, with the prog-rock band doing more than their bit for the environment — they also donated their $20,000 prize to The Wilderness Society.
This year’s finalist music videos will be selected by a committee of environmental and music leaders — including ambassadors Heidi Lenffer (Cloud Control, founder of FEAT), Anna Lunoe and Montaigne — from which a shortlist will be identified.
Finalists will be announced around Earth Day and the public will be invited to watch, vote and share the good work.
The art that resonates the most with audiences will take the crown.
“We are excited to see the movement of new environmental anthems which will create a
strong cultural response to these pressing issues, and the collective desire to act,” says Floch.
Donors for the 2022 Prize include Floch, The Ferris Family, Clare Ainsworth Herschell, Universal Music Australia, Graeme Wood Foundation Probono Partners: Black Nova Capital, Paper Moose, Green + Simple, Byron Writers Festival and others.
Plans are to launch the contest internationally in the near future.
Ahead of Christmas 2022, the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group warned that global inaction “has resulted in climate change becoming an immediate existential threat to humanity and, together with nuclear war, is the greatest threat to the security of Australia and its people.”
Addressing that threat “requires an emergency response, akin to wartime mobilisation,” reads a submission, The Guardian reports.
Environmental Music Prize Timeline:
Entries close 11:59PM AEDT.
March 6 – April 21
Shortlisting committee review finalists.
April 22 (Earth Day)
Finalists announced through Impact Partners and Press.
Voting opens to the general public.