The latest Songhubs program, Songhubs Sphere, was designed to address gender imbalance in the music industry and to provide unique development opportunities for female identifying and non-binary music creators.
“I’ve spent most of my music career as the only woman in the room, and it can be an isolating experience” says APRA AMCOS’ director of New Zealand member services, Victoria Kelly. “SongHubs Sphere is an opportunity for women to not only write together, but also to work with female producers and sound engineers. We brought five amazing women to New Zealand to work with local songwriters; Susan Rogers (one of Prince’s primary audio engineers), Ebonie Smith (from Atlantic Records in NYC), Wendy Wang, Laura Bettinson and Chelsea Jade.”
“First and foremost, there’s a creative result from the Songhubs programs. 17 songs were written during the week of Sphere and that’s a wonderfully tangible way to measure what comes out of an event like this, but the other, less tangible benefits – like community and ongoing collaborative relationships – are enormous, far-reaching and transformational.”
Anna Coddington, Susan Rogers. Photo: Amanda Ratcliffe
Through the APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ Music Grants programs (a small percentage of revenue set aside to support the local music industry) the Songhubs programs are in part funded by the fees retailers pay to OneMusic. In a beautiful circle, the songs created at Songhubs then become the songs played in retail stores across the country – songs like “All the Ways To Say Goodbye” by Mitch James, “Kind of Love” by Maala and “Pitch Dark” by Chelsea Jade were all written at SongHubs.
“I would love retailers to know how crucial their support is to artists - I don’t know if our licensees realise how important they are to our members’ creative process. The royalties that our members earn from the fees that our licensees pay, sustain them and enable them to create. The fact they’re paying licence fees to OneMusic shows that they value the music that people create.”
“And why wouldn’t you support music creators?” asks Kelly. “Our artists and composers are the people who create and document our identity. Music is a statement of history, of identity, of culture… and each generation of songwriters hands that responsibility on to the next. SongHubs is a way for us to encourage that incredible collaborative process.”