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News June 28, 2022

Sally Coleman and Ian Rogers Awarded Digital Futures Initiative Grants

Senior Journalist, B2B
Sally Coleman and Ian Rogers Awarded Digital Futures Initiative Grants

Sally Coleman and Ian Rogers have been named as the first recipients of the Digital Futures grant, which will give each of them $20,000 to support projects at the intersection of Australian music and new technology.

The grants are courtesy of the Australia Council for the Arts and APRA AMCOS. They aim to increase audiences for Australian music, establish a critical base of knowledge and develop new ideas with innovative distribution platforms.

Coleman is a former Triple J Breakfast co-host and musician. She recently launched a virtual science fiction band, Big Sand, which was billed as “Australia’s answer to Gorrillaz”.

Her Digital Futures funding will support the production of “Documenting the Big Sand Live Experience”, a mini-documentary series that will capture the process of researching, developing and launching a new kind of music gig – a live, motion-capture performance streamed into a venue in real-time.

Coleman said the funding would allow her to do more with the project.

“I’m experimenting with so many ideas and new technologies at the moment, and I’m really passionate about sharing what I learn so that other artists can benefit too,” she said.

“Support from APRA AMCOS’ Digital Futures Initiative will allow me to do this – so I’m super grateful and really excited to show everyone what I’ve been working on.”

Rogers, meanwhile, is a popular music studies scholar and senior lecturer at RMIT who wants to help Australian musicians get involved in Web3.

His project will fund local musicians to investigate and collaborate on NFT projects. He’s also producing a podcast which will help all musicians make informed decisions about the space.

Massey University in Wellington will partner on the project.

He said exploring untested and difficult topics is at the very core of music academia, and the new funding will directly foster this.

“Web3 can be volatile, and there are unsettled issues in the space around its cultural fit with musicians generally, and Australian musicians specifically. I don’t want to teach Web3 to my students – and my music communities – without the sort of rigorous, open-minded research that I can do at RMIT with this support from APRA AMCOS.”

Kirsty Rivers, head of music at the Australia Council, noted how the new initiative fed into the body’s wider cultural remit.

“We are pleased to partner with APRA AMCOS to deliver this project as part of our broader Digital Culture Strategy, which aims to broaden opportunities for distribution for Australian music and enable Australian artists to reach new audiences online,” she said.

Chris O’Neill, director of engagement and stakeholder management at APRA AMCOS, said the initiative will allow new ideas to rise to the top as well as helping to export Australian music to the world.

“The initiative has already surpassed our expectations – the quality of applicants was so impressive and thanks to additional investment by the Australia Council, we were able to extend the opportunity to two recipients,” he said.

He also noted that the industry is approaching a tipping point with new technology starting to impact the distribution and consumption of music.

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