Access to finance has been a major campaigning issue for the MMF for years as the music business economics have changed and it is good that we are now finally seeing some results. 5 presentations showed where money is becoming available for each stage of an artist’s career.
Help Musicians UK (formerly the Musicians Benevolent Fund) has long provided lifelines for professional musicians who fall on hard times but now, through their Emerging Excellence Awards are providing grants of up to £3000 for artists wanting to develop their careers. They mostly want to deal with artists not managers as they want to reward creativity directly. They make awards twice a year through a 2 stage application programme. Details here:
The PRS Foundation has three stands of funding:
1. Open Funding for organisations and groups or individuals are made for the creation and performance of outstanding new music in any genre; to develop artists and to inspire audiences. Applications happen twice a year.
2. The International Showcase Fund offers support for UK artists to reach a worldwide audience through performing at key showcasing festivals and conferences. It is not to fund touring. Grants are available to go to SXSW, Eurosonic etc . Applications need to be submitted well in advance of travel. 4-6 months would be normal.
3. The new Momentum Fund which PRS Foundation administers on behalf of the Arts Council awards grants of £5-£15K for artists, bands, management companies and labels to break through to the next level of their career i.e. its is not generally to record your debut EP but to finance an album project and/or your first tour. It is for projects based in England only – other regions have their own projects in development. Applications take place 4 times a year with funding decisions delivered 4/5 weeks after. Total funding is £500,000 over 2 years.
Details of all 3 schemes at http://www.prsformusicfoundation.com/Funding
Creative United http://www.creativeunited.org.uk/ have stepped into the breach of the Governments Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme which completely failed to provide finance for creative businesses because banks do not understand them. Starting with Arts Council money they have successfully trialled a scheme for 2 years which will be launched in September to lend money to creative businesses. Business mentoring is a large part of this plan. Their aim is to grow artists businesses, to provide employment and drive the arts economy. Visit the website or contact Sarah Thirtle in advance of launch of the scheme. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) is a Government initiative funded by UKTI and administered by the BPI funded at £2.5 million over 3 years. Its’ aim is to increase the export revenue from independent UK music companies by part funding export projects (£5K-50K) that will have a measurable overseas success. This can be record sales, publishing income, live revenue etc. Applicants will need to demonstrate a proven UK based business and have an achievable plan.
Applications take place 4 times a year. Details: http://www.bpi.co.uk/export-scheme.aspx
The above four schemes act as a sort of progression through a career and generally do not overlap. i.e. an application for money to both the International Showcase Fund and MEGS is unlikely to get money from both.
It should be stressed that applicants will need a clear, honest, achievable plan that is based on checkable relevant stats such as social media followers, streaming data and record sales. And all four have people willing to talk the applicants through the processes. All four also use panels of industry experts (including MMF and FAC members) to judge. These people may or may not be aware of your act but will assess each application on its merits.
Pledge Music is a direct to fan site that has completed thousands of music projects in 5 years and has 500,000 registered music fans. They enable Direct to Fan targeted campaigns to fund albums etc, pre-ordering albums and data collection. They hold regular meetings at their offices to meet the teams who can help you get investment and fans. Visit http://www.pledgemusic.com/ to find how it all works or e-mail email@example.com .