We appreciate just how much the coronavirus pandemic has impacted musicians and people working within the wider music industry in the UK and around the world.
To help, here you'll find the latest UK music opportunities and UK music funding resources that we're aware of and we will update these as often as we can. You'll find further reading down the page where you can find out more about the key organisations you should look to for further support, advice and funding opportunities for music projects. There is also a section about how we work within the Music team here at the British Council.
Latest UK Music Opportunities
The deadline for Phase 1 applications is 17.00 on Friday 14 August 2020
Grants of £5,000 to £30,000 are available to businesses, collectives, and non-for-profits working in the music industries.
The fund is designed to help open up access to sustainable careers in music for people ages 18-25, particularly those who are underrepresented, and to support creative employers to innovate and incubate new and diverse talent
Submissions open until 1 August 2020
Nominations for the Scottish Album of the Year Award are now open ahead of their award ceremony which will be broadcast on Thursday 29 October 2020.
Our own Selector Radio is calling for new music from any UK artists or DJs creating new sounds during lockdown. If you want the chance to reach our 4 million listeners worldwide, get in touch!
Advice and support
Many of the pages below also provide lots of additional reading and links to further resources you may find useful, even if you are not eligible for a particular scheme. You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #MusicBusinessAdvice where music industry bodies have been sharing advice online.
Help Musicians have been offering as much financial support as they can to help musicians affected by Covid-19. Head to their website for a wealth of information on their dedicated corona-musicians page including links out to specific resources for musicians based in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Musician Union’s £1m hardship fund is open to support members who are struggling financially. The MU are also offering new members the chance to join the MU for just £1 for six months.
The PRS Foundation has a number of opportunities still open for organisations and individual music creators to apply for. Their colleagues at PRS (Performing Rights Society) have also announced an emergency relief fund for members.
British Council Music
Due to the extreme difficulties presented to much of the music sector in light of the coronavirus crisis, we are exploring how we can digitise our programmes and the possibilities for connecting people online.
The British Council's Music team works to create trust and understanding between the UK and the rest of the world through the medium of music. Working in over 100 countries across the globe, we develop and support music work in a variety of ways including:
- residencies for British musicians so they can experience new cultures and grow their audience
- performance opportunities for musicians overseas
- events that bring musicians of different cultures together to create new work
- industry events to connect professionals around the world and encourage a healthy exchange of ideas
- professional development opportunities.
However, the British Council itself is not a funding body and we cannot respond to ad hoc requests for funding or touring support. We work very closely with other public bodies involved in supporting UK music overseas including Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales, Arts Council Northern Ireland and the Department for International Trade and the equivalent bodies in the rest of the UK. Each body has its own purpose and we aim to support and complement each other rather than duplicate. In brief, you could say that the Arts funding bodies' main aim is to develop artists, the trade bodies are more involved in export and the British Council works with market-ready artists and organisations.
You can find out more about how these bodies work alongside each other and what opportunities currently exist for UK music in our report, Going International.
Working with the British Council's Music team
Our specialist music programme managers work closely with colleagues overseas to identify projects which will meet the British Council's strategic priorities in their country, often planning at least a year ahead. If you have been invited to perform overseas and would like to explore the potential for British Council support, we strongly recommend that the overseas partner approaches the local British Council office in the country concerned to discuss the project in general terms with our local Arts team before submitting full details. Also the British artist, ensemble or music company should contact our Arts staff based in London to assess the likelihood of British Council support.
Alternative Music Funding Options
Try the Arts Opportunities page on the British Council Arts website for various funding options and new opportunities. These are not all music opportunities but this page offers a great starting point in terms of what is available currently and which programmes will be looking for applications in the near future. The list is updated regularly.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of avenues to explore for advice and funding opportunities within the UK music industry. If you are aware any other relevant organisations or initiatives missing from this list then please email us at BCMusicEnquiries@britishcouncil.org.
Creative Europe Desk UK is an information and advice office which helps the UK’s creative, cultural and audiovisual sectors to access Creative Europe’s funding and opportunities. Led by the British Council and the British Film Institute, in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Welsh Government and Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Creative Europe Desk UK has offices across the UK in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.
Creative Europe is the European Union's programme to support the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors. From 2014-2020, €1.46 billion is available Europe-wide to support projects with the potential to travel, reach new audiences and encourage skill sharing and development.
Help Musicians UK's Funding and Careers page can help you identify project funding, student funding, advice for careers and purchasing of new instruments.
Related to PRS, the Performing Right Society, is PRS Foundation, the UK's largest independent funder for new music of any genre. Through a variety of schemes it provides essential core support for creators, performers and producers. We work closely with PRS Foundation on our Musicians in Residence programme.
Youth Music work in the UK, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances.
The Music Education Yearbook and British & International Music Yearbook (both published by Rhinegold) have information on music scholarships and education grants within the UK and overseas.
The Musicians' Union has some great FAQs for general advice for music artists and promoters about legal issues, performers' rights, copyright, how to go about booking gigs and lots more besides.
Making Music is there to support, advise and provide resources for UK-based amateur and voluntary musicians.