East London Arts and Music

Five opportunities for songwriters in January and February 2024

From The Ivors' upcoming submissions deadline to the return of Glastonbury's Emerging Talent Competition.

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  • By Will Richards
  • 15 Jan 2024
  • min read

As 2024 kicks into gear, the music industry is beginning to crank into life following the festive break  and with that comes an array of opportunities for songwriters to take their next big career step.

From live performances — a full list of the festivals currently accepting performance applications can be found here  to grants, funding and talent development prizes (you can see a list of deadlines for PRS Foundation opportunities here), now is the optimum time for music creators to really kick-start their year.

Here's five great opportunities in January and February for songwriters in the UK and Ireland.

Submit your work for The Ivors 2024

The Ivors is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies on the calendar for UK musicians, and will return on 23 May at Grosvenor House in London. Each year the awards celebrate the best in songwriting and screen composing, and entries for all seven awards categories are now open for British, Irish and UK-resident songwriters.

One of the seven awards is the Rising Star Award, which honours and supports exciting songwriters under the age of 25. The award is part of Amazon Music’s Breakthrough campaign, which supports artists through the early stages of their career via global development and advice. 2023’s award was won by Victoria Canal.

Entries for the 2024 Ivors close on Friday (January 19) and all work submitted must have been released or broadcast in 2023. You can find a full list of the entry criteria and further information about this year's awards here.

Apply to study music at London's BRIT Trust-funded ELAM

Last month, the BRIT Trust announced a new round of grant funding for the east London-based industry academy East London Arts and Music (ELAM). 16-19 year-olds who are interested in pursuing a career in music, film and television production and game design are eligible to study at the lauded industry academy, which opened in 2014 in one of the most under-represented areas of the UK.

The new funding will further the school’s continued support of young creative talent, which was celebrated by Ezra Collective’s Femi Koleoso when the London band won the 2023 Mercury Prize.

Applications to study at ELAM from September 2024 are open now here.

Of the new funding, ELAM Principal Matt Sheldon said: 'Together, we are creating a dynamic, vibrant ecosystem which is enabling talented young people, regardless of their socio-economic background, gender, race or sexuality, to thrive and fulfil their potential. Trainees leave ELAM "industry-ready", with the skills, knowledge and professional behaviours required to ensure a successful career in the creative industries and beyond.

'There is no other academy quite like it and we cannot thank The BRIT Trust enough for their commitment to ELAM. It is changing lives.'

Get ready to enter Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition 2024

Since its inception, Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition (ETC) — supported by PRS for Music and PRS Foundation — has spotlighted some of the brightest new musical talent in the UK and given them the opportunity to perform at the most famous music festival in the world.

2015 winner Declan McKenna has gone on to sell out the Royal Albert Hall and triumphantly return to Worthy Farm multiple times, while other past winners include She Drew The Gun, Lewis McLaughlin and 2023 winner N’famady Kouyaté.

Judged by a panel of industry professionals including Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis, the ETC is one of the most exciting and prestigious talent competitions available to UK musicians. In 2023, N’famady Kouyaté was awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS Foundation as well as a slot on one of the main stages at last year’s festival. The two runners-up (indie-rockers Prima Queen and Glasgow punks VLURE) each received a £2,500 Talent Development prize from PRS Foundation. All nine finalists of last year’s ETC were awarded a coveted performance slot at Glastonbury 2023.

Stay tuned to M for more news on the 2024 Emerging Talent Competition.

Apply for Youth Music’s NextGen Fund

Youth Music’s NextGen Fund is supporting young music creators and 'music-adjacent creatives' in 2024. Grants of up to £2,500 will be awarded to creatives between the ages of 18 and 25 (and up to 30 for those who identify as deaf or disabled) who live in the UK.

Youth Music say they're especially looking for creatives whose personal financial situation has been holding them back from pursuing their passion in music, with songwriters and aspiring DJs, managers and booking agents among those encouraged to apply. All funded projects — such as recorded music, live events or the creation of a record label or discovery platform — need to be released, take place or set up within a year, while ideas that aren’t accessible to the public (such as funding a place on a training course with no project outcome) cannot be funded.

This latest round of NextGen funding will close on Friday (19 January), and successful applicants will be notified in April. A further round of funding will then open later this year, with a closing deadline of June 28. Those interested can apply here, while Youth Music have also put together a guide of top tips for your application.

Apply to play at The Great Escape 2024

Set to return to Brighton in May, The Great Escape remains the key industry showcase for new and emerging music talent from the UK and beyond. Artists to have made their name at a young age at the festival include Adele, Stormzy and Charli XCX.

It was also where PRS Foundation launched the Momentum Music Fund 10 years ago, with 2023 seeing a celebration of the first decade of the fund with showcases, panels and more (incidentally, the latest deadline for the fund is 31 January).

The first 50 acts on the 2024 line-up  including a spotlight show from Faye Webster  were announced recently, and the festival are also revamping their music conference for 2024. New collaborators for this year’s conference include The Council of Music Makers, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), BBC Introducing LIVE and Youth Music.

Applications are still open for artists to perform at the 2024 festival, which will run from May 15-18 across Brighton. Artists can apply here to perform at this year’s event, with applications closing at midnight on February 16.