10 things you need to know about the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Thursday, 14 Feb 2019

What is this Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition you speak of, post, tweet, send emails about, APRA AMCOS?

We're glad you asked. Always worth a recap, especially for all you new songwriters around these parts. It is a very special worldwide songwriting competition based in Australia and open to songwriters of all genres, at any stage in their career, with all entry fee proceeds going directly to fund the transformative programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (NRMTA).

It has some pretty sweet cash prizes too that aim to give songwriters an important career boost and encourage them to keep on creating.

1st place - $50,000 (courtesy APRA AMCOS, Alberts, BMG)
2nd place - $10,000 (courtesy AMPAL, Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited)
3rd place - $5,000 (courtesy of AON)
Unpublished - $5,000 - for the standout work by an unpublished writer

That's the short version. But here is a bit more context for you. Read, ponder, and then enter your song!

1. Vanda & Young are musical heroes and the competition is named in their honour.
Harry Vanda and the late George Young founded The Easybeats, one of the first Aussie bands to really crack the international music market. They are responsible for The Easybeats’ classic Friday On My Mind, John Paul Young’s Love is in the Air and a slew of other hits.

2. Alberts is the music company that created the initiative. 
Founded in 1885, Alberts is a family-run business that has played a vital role in the evolution of Australia’s media and popular culture since the early days of sheet music, to being the musical home of AC/DC and The Easybeats, and as a respected music rights management company. Read the abridged version of their incredible history. Their charitable involvement with NRMTA was the impetus to the competition.

3. Cash prizes. Just cash.
The winners do not receive stuff. They receive cash, because what does a songwriter need to fund their hopes, dreams, and the next regional tour or a new laptop? You know it.

4. World's biggest first-place cash prize for a songwriting competition.
$50,000 for first place, true story. Last year's winner Amy Shark used her prize to help fund the next stage of her brilliant career. The very talented Gretta Ray won $50,000 in 2016 and it took her to the US and back with a bunch of writing and recording in between. International friends, please note, that is in Australian dollars

5. Your song truly makes a difference to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.
There are some amazing songwriting competitions out there that we are big fans of, but Vanda & Young is pretty unique in that the full $50 entry fee goes to support the programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia. The 2018 competition saw songwriters propel all-time funds raised past $1million. Thank you, songwriters!

6. The competition is open to songwriters from anywhere, doing all kinds of music.
There are no boundaries - geographically or musically - when it comes to song entries. A song can be sung in any language, it can be purely instrumental, released or unreleased, or in demo form. In 2018, there were song entries from 30 different countries and 2016 marked V & Y's first international honouree with Californian hip-hop artist Tia P. tying for 2nd runner up. In fact, the word Global was added to the official name this year to reflect the international scope of entrants.

7. Previous winners have gone on to, oh, win Grammys. 

8. Blind judging.
Vanda & Young judging is kind of like the blind taste test on The Great British Bake Off. Judges consume, but do not know whose creation it is they are listening to. All songs are given a unique code when submitted and the judges can only view this code and the song title. This means that all entries are anonymous until the final winners are revealed. At no stage will the identity of the applicants involved be revealed to the judges

9. Speaking of judges...
They are APRA Song of the Year winners, songwriters, performers, journalists, A & R types, producers, managers, programmers, curators and one of them is even the chair of APRA. Check the full panel.

10. Open to all ages.
We know how talented those peppy teens can be (e.g. Gretta Ray), so there are no age restrictions, but if you are under 18 you do need a parent's permission.

Entries for the 2019 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition have closed. 

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