Pick up the phone and pitch

Find out the top tips on how to make your funding application as watertight as possible from BPI, PRSfMF and Arts Council England…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 15 Nov 2013
  • min read
Applying for music industry funding can be a time consuming and often frustrating experience.

Competition is tough and opportunities limited but without this financial injection, some projects - whether that be releasing a record or organising a tour for an emerging artist - can be difficult to get off the ground.

At the recent MusicTank Easy Money? convention, representatives from a number of organisations were on hand to explain their fund and how to make an application. The Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation and BPI all discussed their various opportunities in great length. They are, respectively, Grants for the arts, Momentum Music Fund and the Music Export Growth Scheme. The latter two initiatives are relatively new, having only been launched this year but while, the funds are all different, the speakers highlighted similar attributes which successful applicants and their applications had.

We’ve collated these top tips into one handy guide to help ensure you get the most out of applying for funding. And, perhaps most importantly, you increase your chances of succeeding…

Plan your application

Planning goes a very long way. So you need to spend some time thinking about the project and do your homework. Speak to the fund or organisation offering the money. Look at similar projects from contemporaries. The more time spent gathering information and researching, the more solid and water tight your application will be. And the more likely you are to receive the money.

You need a solid business case

Projects need to have a beginning, middle and end. A strong application knows its audience, what it is aiming to achieve and how it can succeed. Do you know who and where your fans are? If not, then you need to find out.

Competition is stiff

Sarah Thirtle from PRS for Music Foundation said that Momentum attracts upwards of 500 applicants for the funding rounds it’s organised so far. She suggested that you need to make sure your the investment is coming at the right time in your career for you. Otherwise it could just be a waste of time. The quality of your gigs and amount of press/blog coverage are all good indicators for evaluating where you’re at.

Choose your fund wisely

Target the correct backer or fund that will work for you. Edge Investment are venture capitalists who delivered a presentation at the Easy Money? event. They specialise in working with organisations from the creative industries, yet receive applications from a variety of companies, particularly, the pharmaceutical sector. These applications get binned so it’s a better use of time to properly target your submissions.

Personalise your application

Relationships are important and personal contacts can go a long way. Unsolicited emails to the ‘info@...’ email address will not work. In fact they’re likely to be deleted and marked as spam. Picking up the phone and having a real conversation is a key step in beginning a potential successful application.

Don’t forget the music

Chance of getting funding is slim. So you need to be great at everything. This means that you shouldn’t forget about the music. You can fill in as many applications as you like but if your music isn’t up to scratch, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever win the money. These funders want to give grants but also want to ensure the best artists are rewarded.