While January in Australia brings with it the promise of holidays and heat, in the Northern hemisphere things take a decidedly icier chill. Not just atmospherically as the darker hours encroach further on our daily Vitamin D intake, but also psychologically as many European and North American singers embark on audition season.

Many singers see this as one of the most pernicious battles in their artistic lives – one of those decidedly unpalatable aspects of the industry that, at its best, hosts the mechanism that supports the creation of the most excellent art and, at its worst, is a predatory and cynical example of what happens when self-regulated organisations feel entitled to gatekeep by dint of taking financial advantage of already marginalised aspiring performers.

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Alone in the commercial world, the arts is the only industry that has deemed it acceptable to routinely charge people for the privilege of being considered for a job interview.

Within the community of young and emerging classical singers, the mere mention of the website YAPTracker can be enough to make both nerves and wallets run cold. An acronym for ‘Young Artist Program’, YAPs are the lifeblood...