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Enter the 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Story Published Thursday 29 July 2021

Calling all songwriters! $80,000 of cash prizes to be won!

Enter your songs by 8 October 2021.

All proceeds support the amazing programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (Noro)



First place $50,000 cash prize furnished by APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing


2nd - $10,000 (courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora)

3rd - $5,000 (courtesy Aon)

The AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize - $5,000 (courtesy Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited)

10 x Runner-up prizes – $1,000 (courtesy anonymous donor)


The Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition returns for 2021, calling songwriters of all genres and career stages, from anywhere in the world, to enter their song for the chance to win a career-boosting cash prize.

The winning songwriter takes home a first-place cash prize of A$50,000, courtesy of Australasian music rights management organisation APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing.

The 2020 first-place winner was Thelma Plum for ‘Better in Blak.’ Plum’s win for her empowering anthem was an inspiring one, coming eight years after she was the competition’s 2nd runner-up.

“Vanda & Young was kind to me early in my career when I received a runner-up prize for ‘Breathe In Breathe Out,’ I could never have imagined then that one day I would win!," said Plum upon winning Vanda & Young. Plum wrote the song with Alexander Burnett and Oliver Horton, and she is signed to Sony Music Publishing.

Runners-up also win impactful cash prizes, with a 2nd place amount of $10,000 thanks to legal experts Banki Haddock Fiora, and 3rd place receives $5,000 courtesy of Aon.

The AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize, awarded to an up-and-coming unpublished songwriter, comes with $5,000 cash for the recipient, courtesy of the Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited.

When last year’s competition deadline was extended to give songwriters more time to enter during the challenges of COVID, an anonymous donor stepped in to furnish an additional 10 runner-up prizes of $1,000 each. The competition is excited to announce that those 10 cash prizes have again been provided by the generous donor.

Songwriters were eager to get their music heard in new ways during 2020, resulting in more than 4,000 entries – the most ever. Entries from 46 countries raised $203,000.

As always, the full entry fee goes to support the transformative programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (Noro). Since 2009, songwriters have contributed more than A$1.4m to help make NORO’s transformative programs accessible to its participants and their families.

The local arm of BMG was a valued first-place prize co-sponsor from 2017 through the 2020 competition.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Heath Johns and the team at BMG for their support of Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition over the past four years, particularly last year as we faced significant challenges in the context of COVID-19. Their support enabled us to think strategically and invest in developing programs while we couldn’t physically see many our participants, and this saw us emerge from the 2020 lockdown in a strong position, as we will again in 2021,” said Belinda Leonard, CEO, Noro.

“On behalf of Sony Music Publishing Australia, we are thrilled to be partnering with Alberts in support of the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition. As a music publisher, we regard it as a particular privilege to be honouring the legacy of two of this country’s greatest ever songwriters, while at the same time, raising much needed funds for Nordoff-Robbins’ life-changing music therapy programs,” said Damian Trotter, Managing Director, Sony Music Publishing Australia.

Named after the iconic songwriters and founding members of The Easybeats, Harry Vanda and the late George Young, the long-running competition has honoured a range of songwriting talent: Plum in 2020, Matt Corby and Dann Hume (2019), Amy Shark (2018), Gretta Ray (2016), Husky Gawenda (2014), Isabella Manfredi (2013), Kimbra (2011) and Megan Washington (2009), as well as top finishers including Baker Boy, Ruel, Kaiit, Sarah Aarons, Gotye, Meg Mac and Gang of Youths frontman David Le’aupepe.

A judging panel comprised of influential artists, producers, media and music industry professionals will be announced soon.