In 2011, Songsalive! Australia had a vision. That vision? To help Australian songwriters achieve the success they sought, whether it was creative, commercial or a combination of both. In 2012, just one year after launching, Songsalive! Australia hosted its inaugural The Song Comp to further encourage young musos to unearth their talents in front of the industry’s best. We catch up with CEO Roxanne Kiely to get the low-down on the comp – its origins, how best to prepare, what kind of opportunities it presents and what prizes are up for grabs.

How is Songsalive! Australia’s songwriting competition different to others?

Songsalive! Australia launched The Song Comp in 2012. There are a few points differentiating it from other songwriting competitions. These are:

1. The Song Comp is run by a not-for-profit organisation of volunteer songwriters and all income generated makes up the prize pool once admin costs have been met. Also, 15 per cent of the net profit is donated to Support Act Limited. This is an important difference between The Song Comp and other local and/or international songwriting competitions.

2. Judging criteria is solely based on the standard of songwriting rather than production values, musicianship or any other aspect of the recording process.

3. The judges of The Song Comp, unlike other local competitions, are known and published on the website so entrants can see that their songs will be heard by movers and shakers within the industry.

4. We have categories, such as Unsigned, Youth, Bare Bones and The Parramatta Prize, which cost nothing to enter. What this means is that if an entrant enters a song in one of the regular categories – Rock, Pop, Metal, Punk, Folk –and they’re eligible, their entries will automatically go into the categories for which their eligibility applies. Isn’t that great?

Do the entrants retain copyright of songs submitted whether they win or not?

Yes they do retain copyright. The Song Comp makes no claim to any part of the songwriter’s copyright of their own work, whether successful or otherwise within the competition.

Can you discuss any success stories of previous entrants? As this is only the second year of The Song Comp, it’s a little early to give examples of longer term success for our category winners of 2012. However, Brian Ralston, winner of the Unsigned category and a publishing deal with New Pants Publishing (USA), also recently won the Sydney final of the Exhumed competition run by Radio 702.

Tell us about the judges. Our judges come from all areas of the Australian industry, including publishing, recording studios, songwriters and A&R. They include: Bill Page of Mushroom Music Publishing, producer-songwriters Lindsay Rimes and Ilan Kidron from The Potlelleez, singer-songwriter Hayley Warner, CEO of Peer Music Publishing Australia, Matthew Donlevy and multi-award winning songwriter Allan Caswell among many more. View full judging panel here: thesongcomp.com/Judges

Can you give entrants a few tips on what they should be conscious of when submitting songs and recording? We’ve had such a diverse range of songs and recordings take out different categories at The Song Comp 2012 that it’s difficult to suggest one strategy or another. The main thing to remember is that the song should have a strong focus and stay true to that focus throughout. Of course, a vocal with great personality will help, just as great production will impress, but neither will enhance the chances of a song that doesn’t already contain the most important element: songwriting excellence. Entrants can be assured that no matter what the standard of production, a great song will be judged on its merits.

What prizes are up for grabs?

The Song Comp has one of the largest prize pools of any Australian songwriting competition including:

$3,000 cash from APRA; and

$2,500 cash from The Parramatta Council

Plus prizes from:

The Parramatta Prize

A consultation package from Media Arts Lawyers

A photography package

Recording time in quite a few of the country’s top recording studios including Oxygen, Electric Sun, Valley Studios, KittyGroove and more

Complete recording hardware including mics, loop stations, stomp boxes, digital recorders, computer sequencer packages, keyboards; and

Apparel

For a full list of prizes, visit:

thesongcomp.com/Sponsorsor thesongcomp.com/Prizes

The Song Comp 2013 has also added new categories including Metal, Hardcore, EDM, Punk, Latin, Novelty and Techno. Visit songsaliveaustralia.org.au for further details on how to enter.

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