We’ve already blogged about how independent musicians can get instruments without selling their kidneys and gold teeth. But to bring your project to fruition is going to take plenty more of the green stuff. With studio time, session musicians and the Abbey Road vending machine all nibbling away at your finances like a shoal of piranhas, your budget could evaporate before you’ve laid down the drum track. Fortunately, there is a lifeline. In fact, we’ve got three of them…
PRS For Music Foundation
One of the first doors to bang on, PRS has lavished £23.6 million on UK projects since the millennium, giving leg-ups to 5,300-plus hopefuls from Laura Mvula to Years And Years. There are various funds earmarked for every scenario – the Momentum Music Fund, for instance, offers £15k for musicians “at a tipping point in their career”, while the International Showcase Fund helps artists who have been booked for an overseas gig (but haven’t got the money for their bus fare to Gatwick).
Help Musicians UK
In an industry with its fair share of sharks and bastards, Help Musicians UK are the good guys. As well as helping older musicians pay the bills in their autumn years, this independent charity invests over £600,000 each year on emerging talent. There are several avenues to investigate, from Career Development Bursaries (up to £2000) to the Emerging Artist Fund, which tops up what you make from a successful PledgeMusic crowdfund campaign. The website’s Funding Wizard is also a good place to find other smaller benefactors.
Arts Council UK
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own Arts Councils and dedicated pots of money. Arts Council England, for example, offers Grants For The Arts, which awards funding from £1000 right up to a princely £100,000 (although you will have to slug it out for the loot with actors, dancers and writers). You can apply at any time of year, but with the Arts Council’s budget recently sliced by a third – and Brexit threatening untold chaos – we’d advise you to get moving.
Nothing brings musicians flocking like the prospect of free cash, so if you want to secure funding, you’ll need to make a compelling case in your application. Think about why you need investment, read the criteria for each grant/scheme, then apply for the one that applies to you. Be passionate but professional in your pitch, illustrating that you’re a serious prospect with a rising profile, giving evidence of achievements to date, plus a clear projection of where you’re going from here. For more help, read Remi Harris’s eBook, Easy Money? The Definitive Guide To Funding Music Projects.