The inside story from APRA AMCOS Board Members

Thursday, 10 Dec 2015

Amanda Brown, Marianna Annas, Brendan Gallagher, Jamie Gough

Never before have so many writer members put their hands up for a role on the APRA Board, and as we head toward our 90th birthday next year, we are being guided by the best in the business. Amanda Brown joins Marianna Annas and Jenny Morris as our female representation increases following membership voting. Further details on the new APRA AMCOS Boards can be found here.

Amanda Brown was welcomed for the first time to the APRA Board as an incoming Writer Director. A classically-trained musician, songwriter, composer and former member of The Go-Betweens, Amanda has been an APRA AMCOS member since 1991 and winner of multiple Screen Music Awards.

Amanda said, “Recently attending the APRA AMCOS conference made me more aware of the constant exchange of information the organisation has with its affiliates around the world and the effect of globalisation on music consumption. It was either 'do a Masters' on these issues or contribute to the discussion. I feel privileged that I have the opportunity to learn more and make a contribution from within the industry.

“Why are there so few women winning commissions and awards? We do know that there are equal numbers of males and females graduating from tertiary music studies but the number of women who constitute APRA AMCOS membership is disproportionately small. Clearly there is a disconnect and we need more research to understand why. 

“Generalising is problematic but my message to young women looking to work in the music industry stems from personal observations. Men are good at bravado. Women could learn something from that. I don't mean behave like a cocky fool. But back yourself and persevere. If things aren't progressing, use the down time to learn some new skills like production or lyric development or a new instrument. Take constructive criticism on board without it destroying your confidence. Men are very good at not taking things too personally, whereas women can tend to look to themselves for fault. Clearly you don’t have to be like a man to succeed – but be bolder, be braver and don’t always overthink it.

Lisa Annese, CEO of Diversity Council Australia, said that female leaders are important for role modelling, because you can't be what you can't see and there is no better example than Courtney Barnett in 2015. Not only has she created a strong body of work but she has done it all on her own label, on her own terms and succeeded brilliantly.”

Marianna Annas, Manager, ABC Music Publishing, was elected as the new Deputy Chair of the AMCOS Board after serving on the Board for four years.

“One of the Directors suggested I nominate, and the experience has been nothing but positive. It’s a great platform for the common ground which publishers share as the keepers of the industry’s heartland – songwriting,” Marianna said.

What have you learnt about the inner workings of APRA AMCOS that you didn’t know before?

“The first thing that struck me was that the inner machinations of APRA AMCOS are extremely complex and constantly being refined in order to remain at the forefront of an ever changing landscape,” Marianna said.

What’s an important message you’d like to impart for the next generation of industry professionals, particularly women, who tend not to gravitate toward music careers after leaving school?

“I say to women contemplating the business side: your passion is also your biggest weapon. Only your passion and uncompromising conviction to those who matter most (our artists) will see you through,” she said.

AMCOS Board first-time Board-elect Jaime Gough (of independent label Native Tongue Music Publishing) said, “I have enjoyed the past 12 months on the AMPAL board and have served on the board for The Push, so I felt it was the right time to become more involved in the important discussions AMCOS is having on behalf of its members. It’s an interesting time for creators and owners of copyright, with the very companies that rely on this output for their business applying serious pressure to reduce its value. I am always interested in learning more about the publishing industry. To have an involvement in discussions first hand is an opportunity I am very much looking forward to.”

What’s an important message you’d like to impart for the next generation of artists?

“Keep creating and continue to place a value on your work.”

Brendan Gallagher, Writer Director, has been on the Board for a year and notes his mastery of “acres of acronyms (or AOA)” has skyrocketed! 

Of joining the Board, Brendan said, “…it felt like a natural progression. I love being in a roomful of smart people deliberating on ideas that gets the best results for the membership. And my overarching impression is that the Board and Management have the writers' best interests at heart.” 

You attended the Council of Creators of Music (CIAM) in Italy in October on behalf of APRA AMCOS - what did you take out from that experience? 

“That music creators across the world are realising that ‘the fix is in’ and something's got to give. Streaming is the future of the business and currently the model is not transparent or fair. CIAM is intent on marshalling the collective will of writers internationally to impact upon how their music is used, through education, lobbying, creating a ‘Fair Trade Music’ stamp of approval, just like fair trade coffee, so consumers can make informed choices,” Brendan said.

What have you learnt about the inner workings of APRA AMCOS that you didn’t know before?

“That the digital/internet landscape is not for the faint hearted. APRA AMCOS' role is to ensure that copyright is respected and that music creators are remunerated fairly by these large corporations that want music as part of their business. APRA AMCOS does this with a studied combination of assertiveness and pragmatism. And, by jingoes, Management, from the top on down, works bloody hard!” Brendan said.

What’s an important message you’d like to impart for the next generation of writers?

When the tail starts wagging the dog, always remember that without you, nobody (agent, publisher, A&R) but nobody, has a job. 

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