TAFE NSW’s SongHubs Collaboration with APRA AMCOS


December 2023

Collaboration in music and education

The art of collaboration in both music and education is evident in the recent SongHubs songwriting camp run by TAFE NSW in partnership with the Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS).

Graduates from TAFE NSW’s music qualifications often go on to become small business people or sole traders within the creative industries ecosystem. SongHubs casts students into an intensive learning experience with high profile music professionals, using group creativity to write songs, and demonstrate the value of a team approach.

As an industry organisation, APRA AMCOS manage licenses to help music creators get paid for their work, providing ways to legally play and copy music through the payment of performance royalties.

Creating real industry settings

Eight students were selected to apply their TAFE NSW learning in the professional environment of the four-day SongHubs. They worked under pressure, in teams, with fellow students alongside much more experienced musicians, producers, and songwriters acting as collaborators and mentors. As potential artists, writers and musicians, these are critical skills for their future success.

“APRA AMCOS started SongHubs in 2013 as an elite songwriting camp for established writers and artists to collaborate on new, commercially focused songs.

But we wanted our students to have that same collaborative experience earlier in their careers. APRA AMCOS were really supportive, providing us with the SongHubs model, process and brand, in their first partnership with an educational institution.

This SongHubs resulted in nine songs, many of which are close to being ‘release ready’. I like to say that great songs employ people and that benefits lots of other creative-adjacent roles.

Such valuable real-life experience means the transition to work isn’t such a shock. The exposure helps students work out where they want to be in the industry.”

“Songwriting collaborations are now common, between artists, songwriters, producers.

Our role was hands-on in guiding the SongHubs and working closely with TAFE NSW. We helped select the participants and secure great industry professionals as mentors.

KLP, a well-known songwriter, producer, performer and radio host, played a leadership role as the SongHubs curator, and guest artists and producers included Asta, Dave Winnel and Chloe Dadd. We enjoyed working with the students and respected them as emerging artists and music creators.”

The value of industry engagement

By working collaboratively with the music industry, TAFE NSW is demonstrating the value of that approach to students.

“Our relationship with TAFE NSW is well established. We do guest lectures about copyright etc. SongHubs is an opportunity to go beyond that. Working with Steve, who’s an active musician with Icehouse - a long-term, successful Australian band - is easy. He gets it.

There’s an emphasis on learning, but it goes beyond that through the networks that are built. Students create deep connections with the high-profile guests.

TAFE NSW has a great brand, trusted and respected in the community. We’ve opened up more opportunities to work together and explore other innovative ideas. There’s a lot to gain when education and industry people work together.”

“We work with many industry groups in the creative industries and need them involved from the very beginning. We examine how that business works, how we work, and then find the best way to do things together that are mutually beneficial, with positive rules of engagement between the two.”

See SongHubs in action below.

TAFE NSW’s Ultimo campus in Sydney is considered an industry ‘hub’ for musical career development, and now also runs a Bachelor of Creative Practice. Music qualifications are delivered at 11 other TAFE NSW campuses across metropolitan and regional NSW.

Future SongHubs and other innovative collaborations with APRA AMCOS are now being contemplated. Anyone who is writing songs can find out more and join on the APRA AMCOS website.