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Funding awards can be fiercely competitive, but artists can improve their chance of success by applying only for the opportunities that match to their circumstances or ideas and by completing application forms as accurately and effectively as possible. 

Funding bodies and awards for musicians

Some of the most popular funding bodies and awards include:

Arts Council England (ACE)

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. We invest money from government and the National Lottery in arts and culture across England. This funds a wide range of activities – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, crafts to collections.

ACE offers a range of funding opportunities for both artists and arts organisations including awards available for artists.

Artists International Development Fund offers early stage development opportunities for individual freelance and self employed artists based in England to spend time building links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in another country. NB: applications are not yet being accepted for this fund.

Grants for the Arts is our Lottery-funded grant programme for individuals, arts organisations and other people who use the arts in their work. Grants are available for activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in England in arts activities and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.

Need help? Use the MU's Arts Council England Funding Application Advice Service

The MU is offering support for members who are applying for Arts Council England (ACE) Project Grants or to the ACE’s Developing Your Creative Practice fund. This is open to all union members based in the UK who are looking to fund activities in England, including student members.

Learn more about the service

PRS Foundation

Our mission is to stimulate and support the creation and performance of new music throughout the UK and to ensure that this music is enjoyed by a wide audience. Since March 2000 we have supported over 4,600 new music initiatives to the tune of over £19.5 million.

We do this through open grant schemes which are available to musicians and organisations four times per year and partnership programmes which we lead in response to specific needs and gaps in funding. PRS Foundation

Current funding opportunities for artists include:

Open Funding: This supports 1) the creation and performance of outstanding new music in any genre 2) developing artists to their full potential and 3) inspiring audiences.

Momentum funding: Grants of £5k-£15k for artists and bands to break through to the next level of their career.

International Showcase Fund: Run in partnership with British Underground, UK Trade & Investment, Arts Council England and The MU, the International Showcase Fund offers support for UK artists to reach a worldwide audience through performing at key showcasing festivals and conferences. 

Women Make Music: Financial support of up to £5000 is available, and new music in any genre is welcome. 

Bliss Trust Composer Bursaries: We partner with The Bliss Trust to support emerging composers living and working in the UK who are seeking funds to assist with professional development in the field of contemporary classical music. 

Help Musicians

Help Musicians (HM) provides a range of funding support for musicians to:

  • Study musical theatre, opera or postgraduate studies,
  • Create and release music, and
  • Develop your skills or artistic practice.

HM also provides specific financial support for emerging jazz musicians and bands through the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, and for musicians making hip hop, grime, R&B, soul, music of African origin, reggae, jazz and gospel through the MOBO Help Musicians Fund.

Alongside funding for musicians, HM’s funding wizard tool can help you track down opportunities relevant to you. Musicians in Scotland and Northern Ireland can also contact dedicated on-the-ground teams for additional support.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland distributes funding from two primary sources, the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. As well as supporting arts organisations across Scotland, support is also available for the development of individuals, the funding of ideas, and new work and projects. 

Cultural Enterprise Office

The Cultural Enterprise Office provides business support to creative businesses  across Scotland. These include guides to funding available from a range of sources and to making applications and proposals. 

Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland supports the full range of arts activities throughout Northern Ireland. As well as funding arts organisations there are a range of support schemes for individuals. 

Arts Council of Wales

The Arts Council of Wales is the official body that funds and develops the arts in Wales. The funding they distribute comes from both the Welsh Government and The National Lottery. Most of the funding goes to artists and arts organisations carrying out programmes of work across Wales.

Sometimes they also run their own projects, especially where these explore new areas of arts activity, or help to persuade other organisations to take an interest in the arts. 

Funding news

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Grace Wyndham Goldie Trust Fund Opens for Applications

The Grace Wyndham Goldie (BBC) Trust Fund was created in memory of Grace Wyndham Goldie. It provides assistance for people currently or previously in broadcasting or an associated activity, their children and dependants.

Published: 21 April 2022

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Companies commissioning media composers are now more likely to ask for a buyout – but is that always the best option for music writers or musicians?

Published: 11 April 2022

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