Apple, Sony BMG, and national music charity Youth Music have got together to launch a competition to encourage young music producers, using GarageBand.

The competition runs between February 11 and May 20. Under-18s are being offered the chance to compose tracks based around samples from artists such as Faithless, Kasabian and Natasha Bedingfield, as part of a nationwide competition to win state-of-the-art music making equipment.

Youth Music CEO Christina Coker said: “We hope the competition will encourage many young people to get involved and see where the musical inspiration of working with material from these highly successful artists takes them.”

Competitors will demonstrate their creative music skills by writing their own three-minute track using GarageBand, their own input and a series of loops from: Kasabian, Faithless, Natasha Bedingfield, El Presidente and The Upper Room.

Apple's managing director of Apple UK and Eire Mark Rogers said: "GarageBand makes it possible for anyone, regardless of their musical background, to easily create great sounding music on their Mac and we hope that through this contest we can help nurture music producers of the future."

The competition is open to anyone 18 or under with access to a Mac and iLife software package. Many Youth Music Action Zones (YMAZs) and schools have such facilities.

Young musicians must visit the Youth Music website for details and to download the artist's loops.

Tracks submitted will be adjudicated by a panel that includes representatives from Sony BMG, Youth Music,, the Times Educational Supplement and Apple.

Judges will be looking for tracks that demonstrate creative use and mixing of the midi and audio loops, as well self-written input."

The competition is split into two categories – 15 and under and 16-18 year-olds. Music-related prizes include Apple hardware and software for the first three winners in each category.

Winners will also get to meet some of the artists whose tracks they have re-worked for the competition - and may even see their track released by Sony BMG.

A ‘Listener’s Choice’ prize will also be awarded to the most popular track uploaded onto the website.

Apple's UK-wide network of Apple Solutions' Experts will be runnig events to support the competition, Apple revealed.