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New Music Creator Development Fund – FAQ

Download the announcement PDF here.

Q: What is the New Music Creator Development Fund?
A: The New Music Creator Development Fund offers grants to individual music creators who need support to get to the next stage of their creative practice in the context of the challenging circumstances created by COVID-19. The program will prioritize costs which relate to collaboration with other artists and practitioners in these times of social isolation, enabling music creators to take the lead in the development of new and existing ideas and projects. Projects should be in progress or to be developed in the next year. Our aim is to stimulate creativity and collaboration between music creators and other artists from any discipline or background and to build community in response to the restrictions we are all facing, particularly in the performing arts.

Q: What is a “music creator”? Do performers fall into that category?
A: Music creator refers to any individual composer or artist who is creating their own original music. We consider everyone who is creating original material – songwriters, producers, composers, improvisers – to be music creators. Some music creators may also be performers; some may only create music for other people to perform. All of these individuals are eligible to lead applications for this fund.

Q: What does collaboration mean?
A: The program will support costs which relate to collaboration with other artists and practitioners in these times of social isolation, enabling music creators to take the lead in the development of new and existing ideas and projects. Collaboration may take the form of online/virtual work with other artists on R&D, planning/creation of new work, performance, workshopping, digital presentation, mentoring, and any activity that involves the music creator leading collective creative work.

Q: What does the fund support?
A: The fund supports US-based composers and music creators, for activities and collaborations in progress or commencing by March 2021. Proposals can be process- or performance-oriented.

Q: Am I eligible?
A: The following outline the eligibility requirements for the fund:

Q: What do you mean by US-based?
A: Artists who are working and living in the US and have been creating work here are eligible. We will not be able to provide funds to artists working outside of the US.

Q: I run an organization, can I apply?
A: The New Music Creator Development Fund offers grants to individual music creators who need support to get to the next stage of their creative practice in the context of the challenging circumstances created by COVID-19. In early 2021 we will be launching a separate fund, offering direct support to organizations essential to the music ecosystem. More information will be available about this fund in early 2021.

Q: What are the award amounts and how much can I request?
A: Awards of up to a maximum of $5,000 will be available for a wide variety of needs, including artist compensation, equipment, recording, etc. We will be making approximately 40 to 60 awards.

Q: What is the application like?
A: This new initiative introduces an all-new application process for New Music USA grant applicants. Creators may submit a video (maximum 5 minutes) or written application describing the collaboration, needs, and timeline for the project. Please submit only one, not both, as the advisors will only have time to look at one submission. The application must also include a budget and work samples.

Q: What does the fund cover?
A: New Music USA invites music creators to define the specific support they need to collaborate with other artists and to keep creating in these uncertain times. The review committee will prioritize proposals that may make a significant impact on the creative practice.

Expenses supported by the fund include:

  • Payment for your time to create material or initiate collaborations
  • Creation fees to yourself our your collaborators for works-in-progress that are not yet funded
  • Performer or other collaborator fees
  • Equipment
  • Recording costs
  • PR / Marketing
  • Technical assistance and skills-building
  • Support for digital presentation
  • Workshopping expenses
  • Research and development expenses
  • Other essential costs (e.g. childcare, etc.)

Q: What are the review criteria and program priorities?
A: The review criteria are:

  • Artistry – projected artistic merit of the collaboration based on the proposal and existing body of work
  • Collaboration – strength of the collaboration proposed
  • Need – how you want to use the money and the urgency of support right now
  • Impact – the difference this project will make to the next steps of yours and other participants’ careers

Q: How will this fund promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in music?
A: We will be giving priority to artists in need – and we are particularly interested in receiving proposals from BIPOC and other under-represented artists. In addition to assessing individual applications, our advisors and staff will look at the range of music creators being supported across the whole program with a particular focus on racial and gender justice. Together, those selected, will reflect the diversity of talent in our music community.

Q: How many of the applicants will be based in New York?
A: 50% of our grant funding generally comes from New York funders. Therefore, a relatively high proportion of artists supported will be based in NYC and New York State. We are currently striving to create more opportunities for artists from across the rest of the US by fundraising for this activity so this proportion may change in time for this fund’s deadline.

Q: How will applicants communicate need? How will panelists understand levels of need?
A: Applicants must answer the question “How would you use the grant and why do you need our support?” in their application. Panelists will use this question to gauge urgency for support.

Q: Is there a hierarchy for the funding criteria? Which is the #1 priority?
A: Need and artistry/impact will be the dual priorities.

Q: What is the deadline and review timeline?
A: The fund is open as of November 23, the deadline for applications will be December 21, and grants awarded in March 2021.

Q: What is the project timeline for this fund?
A: The work you apply for may be in progress or may not have yet commenced. The activity can be process or performance oriented, rather than leading to a definitive final outcome. Activities and use of the funds should be in process and/or planned as of March 2021. If awarded, an update on your progress and experience will be required by the end of August 2021. It’s up to you to tell us how long you think this work will take.

Q: Does this have to be a brand new project, or can it be something that is already in progress or has been stalled by the pandemic?
A: The work can be new or in progress. However, we will be looking to support artists to do the work that is crucial to them right now – a project beginning two years from now won’t be considered. These grants are designed to offer emergency help to sustain creativity in the context of COVID-19.

Q: Where do I apply?
A: We have launched a new application process on an all-new portal. Old logins are no longer active. All applicants must register at newmusicusa.smapply.io.

Q: I have an existing user profile on New Music USA, can I use that?
A: No. You will need to register on our new application portal.

Q: What kind of work samples do you require?
A: Please include 2 to 3 examples of your recent work; video preferred. Include, at minimum, one sample of your own work and feel free to add a sample of your collaborator’s work as well. You may upload mp3, video or image files, or provide links to YouTube/Vimeo examples.

Q: Is New Music USA hoping to see documentation/presentation of a final product, or do you just want to be kept in the loop regarding the process?
A: We do want some documentation, but this will be process-oriented, so ending with a final finished product isn’t necessary. However, we would love you to share any content you create or stories that are generated by your project. We would then be happy to help share on social media with the wider community.

Q: How do I contact you if I have questions?
A: Please email grants@newmusicusa.org