With patience and experience, cool heads say, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Applying for a music grant will take all of this, and more.
No one ever applied for a grant just for fun, to see what might pan out. It’s the equivalent of knocking out a tertiary essay, with a panel of experts waiting to unpick your efforts. But unlike university, there’s a prize waiting at the end. And wherever there’s cash, there’s competition.
The upshot can be a game-changer, a shot in the arm for your act or business. A winning application can unlock assistance to cut an album, tour, hire staff. Many of your favourite artists got a leg up with some assistance from one of Australia’s myriad grants. Before he torched the U.S. singles chart and won a swag of Grammys, Wally de Backer (aka Gotye) won APRA’s Professional Development Award. Before Briggs won ARIAs, APRAs, the J Award and Australian Music Prize for his work with Trials on A.B. Original’s Reclaim Australia, he was a PDA winner (this reporter was on the judging panel on both occasions.)
TIO can’t help you write an application, but we can point you to the starting blocks.
Get your thinking caps on.
APRA AMCOS has a long history of supporting artists through its many and varied grants.
Depending on where you sit on the music spectrum and where your career is at, the association provides options from its Professional Development Awards, to the Hilltop Hoods Initiative, Josh Pyke Partnership and Art Music Fund.
A grant from Australia Council can support “national and international touring; showcasing; writing and recording of new work; or some professional development. I am seeing now more than ever how a grant can help create international opportunities for songwriters and composers. Sometimes, a little boost at a pivotal moment can make a huge difference to an artist’s career,” says Paul Mason, Director Music. Last year, Amy Shark won large, snapping up $46,000 to get to North America for a run of summer festivals and headline shows, and attend radio conferences.
The Australia Council’s Contemporary Music Touring Program (CMTP) supports national touring activity. The grant provides tour support of up to $15,000 for artists and their managers for tours in Australia. Additionally, up to $15,000 can be requested for tours that meet the conditions for “remote and very remote” touring.
Established in 2016 by UNIFIED Music Group founder, CEO and music biz heavyweight Jaddan Comerford, The UNIFIED Grant awards $25,000 to five creative. Its scope is wide. The grant is open to big thinkers and movers behind the scenes of the music industry from photographers to producers, videographers, web developers, graphic designers, journalists, app builders, data analysts and “all the other disciplines that haven’t yet come into focus.”
MusicNSW offers several funding programs which are currently in development and we’re informed will be opening soon (it’s only January, after all).
The trade body’s annual funding projects typically include the Opportunity Development Grant, which helps musicians and artist managers by footing the bill for attending Australian industry conferences, domestic tours, trade fairs and other “career-defining opportunities.”
QMusic feeds thousands of minds each year with its showcase feast that is Bigsound. Queensland’s music industry body also feeds musicians with its range of grants. QMusic administers the annual Billy Thorpe Scholarship, named after the ARIA Hall of Famer and funded by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
Also, the winner of the Grant McLennan Fellowship, named after the late Go-Betweens great, receives $25,000 to support a creative-mission to London, Berlin or New York (it’s delivered through a partnership with Arts Queensland, APRA AMCOS and QMusic.) Arts Queensland supports the arts through a range of funding programmes.
Funding opportunities are bountiful in Victoria, and include Creative Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria and Creative Victoria Grants.
Music Victoria does not distribute grants, but the not-for-profit shares some sound advice. “If you are applying for a grant, prepare well in advance and consult the relevant organisations for advice. Well thought-out grants can take a lot of work. You don’t have to complete it in one go – you can usually work on them online and save them for a later date.”