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News February 19, 2024

Victoria in the Spotlight as Government Pledges ‘Pivotal’ Investment

Senior Journalist, B2B
Victoria in the Spotlight as Government Pledges ‘Pivotal’ Investment

The eyes of the nation are firmly set on Melbourne and the state of Victoria – and on this occasion, Taylor Swift can’t take all the glory.

As tens of thousands of Swifties filled the MCG with song and glitter, the Victorian Government on Sunday (Feb. 18) unveiled a $2 million investment in the high school songwriting program, SongMakers.

Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks announced the funding at a media conference at the Australian Music Vault, with the likes of APRA chair Jenny Morris, SongMakers’ national program manager Katie Wighton, APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, and artist/producer Alice Ivy among the guests.

The cash-splash marks “a pivotal moment in Victoria’s dedication to nurturing emerging musical talent and fostering a thriving creative economy,” comments Ormston.

“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.”

Funded by the state government through Creative Victoria and the Community Support Fund, SongMakers matches schools with Australia’s top songwriters and producers who directly mentor students to create and record original songs in an intensive workshop environment.

Through this new package, SongMakers will facilitate 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, reads a statement.

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.

Typically, reads a statement, the creative project works over two consecutive school days, with preparatory and follow-up activities for extra support.

“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,” adds Ormston.

With this investment, he continues, “Victoria solidifies its position as a trailblazer in music innovation.”

The PRO’s leadership has long held a vision for Australia to become a net exporter of music, an ambition that, Ormston and Morris have said, could take a decade to pull off.

This latest load of funding presents “a significant opportunity for Australia to become a net exporter of music,” reckons Ormston, “with Victoria home to the next great wave of global hits.”

Sweden, a pop powerhouse that changed the music world with ABBA, Spotify, Pirate Bay, late EDM star Avicii, and more, is seen as the example to follow.

“A system of early mentoring by industry professionals is behind the decades-long songwriting success of Sweden, the world’s top music exporter,” says Ormston.

“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.”

A good song creates jobs, “lots of jobs,” notes Morris.

“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.”

Adds minister Brooks, “’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.”

The claim that Victoria is the music capital of Australia will be made considerably more difficult to dispute when new research into young consumers’ appetite for live music is published this Wednesday (Feb. 21), via Music Victoria. 

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