The Australian Songwriters Conference® was registered in March 2007 with the first conference held in June 2008. Subsequent conferences have been held in 2009, 2010, 2016, 2018 and 2021 (rescheduled from 2020 due to COVID).
A four-day national industry event, the Australian Songwriters Conference has attracted writers, artists, producers, publishers and managers from across Australia and internationally. The only event of its kind in Australia, the conference is packed full of seminars, workshops, attendee showcases, recording & production and other activities relevant to both performing and non-performing songwriters and the industry that supports them. The ASC’s main aim is to provide a supportive and nurturing peer environment where music creators can learn more about their craft, create relationships with the industry hit-makers, get up close and personal with the speakers and mentors who willingly share their time, knowledge and experience, and pitch their songs directly to the publishers (majors and indies) who attend the event. The Australian Songwriters Conference is considered a ‘must do’ for anyone with serious aspirations of a career as a performing or non-performing songwriter.
The ASC Members Program was launched in November 2018. The program was designed to give members free access to the new ASC Sydney Circle, which would launch in the following January. Members would also be entitled to a substantial discount to the 2020 Australian Songwriters Conference and have access to a 'members only' portal at the ASC website with resources, forums and other activities exclusive to members.
In January 2019, the first monthly ASC Circle took place in Sydney. ASC Circles are monthly gatherings that incorporate songwriting exercises, activities and workshops, guest speakers and peer song critiquing. Formed from an established group of songwriters who had been meeting regularly for many years under the banner of the Nashville Songwriters Assn, the ASC Sydney Circle has grown and flourished under the ASC umbrella.
March 2019 saw the establishment of the ASC Melbourne Circle which has been growing in numbers ever since. An ASC Circle was also established in Hobart in September 2019, however the coordinator stepped down for personal reasons in August 2020 and with no one to take over the role, the Circle was discontinued.
2020 was an interesting growth year for ASC. COVID lockdowns from March meant that the 2020 conference could not take place. Rather than cancelling the event, ASC Founder, Lisa Butler, worked hard to garner support from all stakeholders, including the venue, the speakers, the funding entities, the ticket holders and everyone in between, to reschedule the event for June 2021. We got lucky. The venue and hotel was happy to reschedule at no additional cost. Our speakers unanimously agreed to reconfirm for 2021, APRA and other funding partners agreed to rollover their funding to 2021 and we lost just three bookings with the rescheduling.
With venues across the country closed due to COVID, the Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart Circles moved online. This provided songwriters around Australia and New Zealand, the opportunity to attend a Circle for the first time, something that had previously only been available to those living in those cities. The Circles have remained online and songwriters across the country continue to enjoy the activities, education and networking afforded them each month.
With the 2020 conference rescheduled, and the success of the Circles moving to an online Zoom meeting format, Lisa Butler began to organise stand-alone pro-level ASC Workshops online, utilising the skills and knowledge of the industry professionals and hit songwriters with whom she has developed excellent business relationships over the past twenty years. These regular online workshops and masterclasses were held every month through 2020 and early 2021 alongside the ASC Circles.
The sixth Australian Songwriters Conference (ASC2021) was held in person in June 2021 at Ettalong Beach NSW, narrowly avoiding another set of lockdowns less than a month later. Victoria was in lockdown which forced half a dozen cancellations, however the promotions and marketing over the four months prior to the event had been focused on NSW. This meant that whilst the majority of bookings were made in those last few months, they were almost exclusively from NSW residents, which mitigated the risk of mass cancellations due to state border closures. The event, whilst different in many ways to past ASC's, mainly because of distancing rules and a number of speakers 'Zooming' in for their sessions, was deemed a huge success.
The ASC Online Store also opened in early June of 2021. Prior to this, a simple ordering page for ASC merchandise was set up on the website. It was clunky and rarely worked properly. The new online store, powered by Squarespace, has not only made the purchase of merchandise easier, it allows for event bookings, Circle registration and more.
With the opening of the online store, the ASC Mentoring Program was started. Grammy award-winning songwriter and international teacher, Alan Roy Scott, was the first to join the program, offering mentoring and private songwriting assistance. Australian publishing stalwart, Matthew Donlevy, also came on board as an ASC mentor. Both Alan and Matthew have been strong supporters of the ASC for many years. There are currently five music industry professionals offering their services via the ASC Mentoring Program, including Alan Roy Scott (songwriting), Matthew Donlevy (publishing/management/career), Jude Ella (music video production/artist branding), Naomi Crain (song feedback and critiques) and Lisa Butler (music career/life coaching).
The latest addition, or rather evolvement, for the ASC is our Australian Songwriters Podcast, now streamed across multiple platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Radio Republic and the ASC website. The podcast has been running since early 2019 in our 'members only' portal, however in August 2022 the podcast was revamped and made public with the intention of using it as a promotional tool and building it up to a level where it would be attractive to potential advertisers. As with everything at ASC, it is growing organically, though new episodes are promoted on ASC social media and to our mailing list subscribers via the ASC News, our monthly newsletter.
Reason for Sale
As the business owner and founder, I have worked tirelessly and passionately for fifteen years to establish, build and grow the Australian Songwriters Conference. With no business or event management skills, its been a long yet immensely satisfying road for this songwriter-turned-event organiser. Although ASC has come a long way in that time, most especially in the last five years, I am painfully aware of my lack of skills to move the business forward. My health has also been an issue in recent years and I am currently trying to manage several medical conditions. This means that I no longer have the health and energy necessary to run the business effectively. ASC has so much potential for growth, however it now needs someone with music industry and events expertise, business skills and personal energy to drive it forward. ASC deserves that, and so do the wonderfully talented songwriters it supports.
- Current Australian Registered Trademark (renewal due March 2027)
- Current Business Name registration to March 2024
- Domain Names:
- Fully functioning, well established WordPress website with members portal (powered by Memberpress)
- Fully functioning, well established Squarespace online store
- Membership Program with approximately 70 current members
- ASC Sydney Circle and Melbourne Circle
- Mailchimp Mailing list with approx 700 organic subscribers and an excellent 40% average 'open rate' for the monthly newsletter
- Active ASC Facebook Page (1.1K likes/1.3K followers)
- Two ASC Facebook Groups; a private group for members/conference attendees (236 members), and a public group for all Australian/New Zealand/Pacific Island songwriters (292 members)
- Facebook pages for the ASC Sydney Circle (147 likes/166 followers) and Melbourne Circle (520 likes/542 followers)
- Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
- Volunteers who assist with ASC Circles)
ASC has few physical assets. The business is run from the owner's home and the physical events have been run in venues with AV and PA either supplied, hired or sponsored. ASC merchandise such as t-shirts, caps and mugs are purchased as 'print on demand' through Vistaprint. There is some event gear such as banners, old event merchandise etc and some stationery, business cards etc.
Debt & Liabilities
ASC has no debts and no liabilities.
The growth potential of the ASC is almost limitless. The conference can be run in a bigger venue in a capital city to attract large attendance numbers, or be broken down into smaller, genre-based conferences and held several times per year. There is a lot of scope to build on the current program of events and activities both online and in person, specifically utilising the Members Program and online workshops.
The original business plan includes provisions for an ASC publishing entity for independent songwriters as well as a number of other initiatives. Some of these initiatives are becoming a reality through the implementation of current foundational programs. For example, our online education program of workshops, mentoring and other activities is the beginning of the ASC Academy of Songwriting. The Membership Program is the beginning of the non-profit arm 'ASC Songwriter Assist Inc', and so on.
It has been a challenge to get the business valued. A number of brokers were approached however they mainly deal in retail, bricks & mortar businesses. Even the 'event' businesses are generally venues or wedding/party planning businesses. They don't quite know what to do with ASC, with it's Conference, educational workshops and activities, the membership program, plus the Circles and so on. A valuation is made even more challenging due to the fact that I've run ASC more like a non-profit than a business, so although the income covers the running costs etc, I've never really paid myself, i.e. made a traditional profit. This says more about my lack of business skills than the business itself, however the fact remains, a formal valuation has not been completed, though not for lack of trying.
Profit and Loss statements can be made available upon request.
Expressions of interest and genuine offers can be made by completing the form below. If you have a question or enquiry please contact Lisa Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org