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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 include:

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.

PRS for Music 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 Music 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 UK

Do it Differently: A pivotal new fund for independent music creators, offering 360-degree support benefits across creative, wellbeing and business development.

MOBO Help Musicians Fund: MOBO and HMUK are thrilled to be working together to offer grants of up to £2000 for individuals and £3000 for groups to support exceptional talent to achieve their career ambitions.

Fusion Fund: Our fund exclusively supporting periods of collaboration and research development.

Transmission Fund: This fund provides financial support to enable professional musicians to access creative and professional development opportunities both within the UK and internationally.

Peter Whittingham Jazz Award: HMUK’s annual award for emerging Jazz musicians and bands.

Postgraduate Awards: Funding dedicated to assisting musicians with post-graduate study through selected institutions.

National Grants Programme: Offering open access funding for three years to organisations working with musicians on artistic practice, talent and professional development initiatives.

National & Regional Opportunities: HMUK do have Creative Programme opportunities that are specific to our regions, currently Northern Ireland and Scotland.

BPI

The Music Export Growth Scheme was launched in 2014 and offers small and medium-sized music companies with the potential to achieve increased international success the opportunity to apply for grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000. The grants support their marketing overseas and the promotion of specific artist releases.

The scheme, funded by UKTI, will make up to £3m of grants available over a three-year period – with the potential for further funding following the scheme’s first annual review. Applications are open to all UK independent record labels and music management companies meeting the application criteria. Decisions on individual awards will be made by a panel of music industry experts with marketing expertise from organisations including the Music Managers Forum (MMF), representatives of independent record labels and BPI. The scheme will be administered by BPI.

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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Whilst the budget announcement did offer a welcome extension to the orchestras tax relief and business rate relief for venues, the choice not to take forward further music tax incentives and the hike in VAT could have a negative impact on the sector.

Published: 28 October 2021

Read more about MU Calls for Investment in Musicians Following Budget Announcement
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New Series of Events for Orchestral Players

This Autumn we’ll be hosting a new series of online events for our Orchestra Section members, covering topics from mouth and hand health through to presentation skills and designing workshops.

Published: 12 October 2021

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Upcoming events

Last chance to book

Two people sat laughing on a sofa, with a mobility scooter in the foreground. Photo credit Disabled and Here.
07 Dec 2021

Introduction to Disability Awareness

As part of the MU's Disability History Month actions we asked Disability Rights UK to present this introductory session for members who want to know more about disability inclusivity.

Online
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Last chance to book

Last chance to book

Composer in headphones working at computer
13 Dec 2021

Self-Releasing Your Music Online

Join composer Matthew Whiteside to get an overview of how to record and self-release your music including information on budgeting, rights registrations and digital distribution.

Online, Scotland & NI Member only
Read more about Self-Releasing Your Music Online