General Advice and Information

Last Updated: 15th June 2022

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Finding financial support may seem relatively complex, but there are several opportunities out there, including working with a talent development organisation, crowdfunding, sponsorship, alongside the more traditional grant funding approach.

It’s worth considering that the vast majority of funding for musicians is project based and time sensitive.

This article serves as an introductory guide to some of the main funders in the music sector.

Sources of Funding and Support

Grant-based and Statutory Funding

In the UK, the major providers of grant funding for musicians and music projects are as follows:

Trusts and Foundations

Although very much dependent on the type of project you’re seeking funds for, you’re not limited to those mentioned previously.

There are a range of charities, Trusts and Foundations which support various music projects and specific activity. For example:

Emerging Composers

The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation 

New Music

Hinrichsen Foundation

Fenton Arts Trust

The Radcliffe Trust 

Postgraduate Study

Countess of Munster Musical Trust

RVW Trust

Music Instrument Funding

Music for All

Universal UK Music Sound Foundation


Talent Development Organisations

A handful of arts organisations across the country also provide grants or support musical projects directly through commissions or artist development programmes.

Whilst by no means an exhaustive list, it’s worth keeping tabs on some of the following organisations, dependent on your circumstances and interests within music:

As a general tip, it is worth keeping an eye out on those who are PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners, as these organisations are committed to working at the frontline of talent development in the UK, supporting a broad range of music creators across different music genres and UK regions. They have been selected for the quality and range of opportunities they are offering in their region/music specialism.

Some useful places to find opportunities include:


Funding Applications – Top Tips

Seven Top Tips on Writing Grant Applications

Consider the guidelines

Make sure your project fits within any guidelines given. Up to 60% of applications are rejected as they don’t meet the eligibility criteria. Any guidance given provides insight into the aims of the funder too. The best applications are those targeted to meet the interest of the funder, but that remain artistically-led, rather than funder-led. If the guidelines do not match your project, look elsewhere.

Be realistic

It’s always important to keep in mind that applying for any arts based funding is likely to be extremely competitive. Be realistic about the time you are able to invest in making applications and consider the relatively low success rate.

Apply well in advance

Most grant bodies take three months on average to reach a decision. Make sure you factor this in to your project timeline and come up with an alternative plan for if you are unsuccessful. It may also take a lot of time to gather all the information required from different sources (e.g. references/preparing a budget) so begin the process as early as possible.

Read the application form carefully

If the space given has a character or word limit, write the full amount but don’t ramble. You’ll be up against other applicants who will be making sure they get across their musical idea or concept – the funder will expect you to do the same. Pay close attention to each question, and make sure you answer what is being asked of you.

Communicate your idea clearly

It’s important for your musical idea or concept to be fully formed at the point of application. Always ask yourself the question – so what? Make it difficult for a funder to turn you down by ensuring your case for support is as strong as possible by demonstrating the need and importance. Explain what, how and how much. Convey the intended outcomes and impact.

Get someone else to proofread your application

A grant funder will look negatively on budgeting errors (they want evidence you’d spend their money wisely), poor grammar and typos (demonstrates attention to detail). Check, check, and check again! Ask a friend to read it and tell you what they ‘hear’. Go through several drafts to make sure that it is a well thought-out application.

Demonstrate what support you currently have

A funder will look for projects or proactive artists that have a significant level of backing or a previous track record – it’s less of a risk. Make sure you convey what support you’ve already enlisted, whether this is funding from other sources or by providing a clear indication of the strength of your fan base. The higher your profile amongst funders and peers, the more likely your chances of success. Try and get face-to-face contact with funders and sponsors wherever possible – invite them to your performances, get along to networking events. Like anything in the industry, it’s all about relationships and who you know.

Further advice and Top Tips


Crowdfunding

Many musicians and alumni are increasingly using crowdfunding platforms to finance tours, CD/vinyl releases etc. Some of the most well-known platforms include Kickstarter, although there are numerous alternatives.

However, it’s always worth checking to see what fees each individual service might charge and which offers the best package for your needs.

Crowdfunding is particularly effective if you already have an established fan base or loyal community of friends and family. It goes without saying, but those who are able to leverage their network to get those initial pledges coming in have much higher success rates using this funding method.

Five Top Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

  • Set an achievable goal, but factor in the additional costs of any rewards given (physical costs involved, shipping, transaction fees) – work out your net income and what this allows you to achieve. Time and time again musicians forget to factor this in and eventually lose money on any crowdfunding campaign.
  • Leverage your network – ask your friends and family before asking more widely, it’s easier to gain support from your fan base towards your final target total rather than at the very beginning. People want to help you get over the line, not to it.
  • Keep your campaign page updated regularly – fresh content keeps it interesting and demonstrates that you care about those who back you.
  • Offer rewards to both existing fans and potential new supporters – crowdfunding is the ideal opportunity to increase your fan base and help create a deeper relationship with existing ones.
  • Keep engaging with supporters after the project is funded – it’s a relationship, not a transaction. You’ll reap the benefits if you value your fans long term.

Other Funding Advice

Help Musicians UK Funding Wizard

Ivors Academy – Funding for Music Creators

Musicians’ Union General Advice

Sound and Music - Finance/Sources-of-Funding Sound and Music Artists Toolkit


Contact Us

Dav Williams, Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator

Alumni@lcm.ac.uk

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