FAQs on New Music Creator Development Fund

  • What is the New Music Creator Development Fund?

    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 support costs which relate to collaboration with other artists and practitioners following the social isolation we’ve all experienced over the past 2 years. Individual performers may also apply as long as their collaborator is a music creator. Our aim is to enable music creators to take the lead in the development of new and existing ideas and projects. We are also striving 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 have all been facing.

  • What is a “music creator”? Do performers fall into that category?

    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. Individual performers may apply only if their collaborator is a music creator as outlined.

  • What does collaboration mean?

    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. We are leaving the nature of the collaborative practice to applicants to define – it may revolve around existing work that you want to bring to life, record, or transform for a new medium. It could focus on the creation of new work, take the form of online/virtual work with other artists on R&D, planning/creation of new work, performance, workshopping, digital presentation, or any activity that involves the music creator leading collective creative work. Most important to our fund is that the work you propose will have a positive impact on the next steps in yours and the other participants’ creative practice.

  • What does the fund support?

    The fund supports US-based composers and music creators, for activities and collaborations in progress or commencing by April 2022. Proposals can be process- or performance-oriented.

  • What does the Fund cover?

    We are open to hearing from you about the support you need to initiate or sustain collaboration with other artists and to help you keep creating in these uncertain times. We will prioritize proposals with the most potential to have a significant impact on the creative practice and potential. We are most interested in hearing how this project will help you move forward in the next stage of your career, the impact it will have, and why funding for the project is needed at this particular time, the urgency for support.

    We envision that costs incurred through your collaborative work may include:

    • Support for the time you need to create new material and initiate new collaborations with your proposed artist(s)
    • Creation fees for a work in progress that does not have additional support
    • Performer or other collaborator fees
    • Equipment
    • Recording costs
    • PR/marketing
    • Technical assistance/skills building
    • Support for digital presentation
    • Workshopping
    • Joint R&D into new project ideas
    • Other costs you consider to be essential e.g. childcare for yourself or a collaborating artist

     

  • Are there things the program does not support?

    Yes. The following will not be supported through the program:

    • Benefits or fundraisers
    • Competition Fees
    • Projects that are already 100% funded
    • Projects that have already been completed
  • Am I eligible?

    The following outline the eligibility requirements for the Fund:

    • The lead applicant must be a US-based music creator
    • This is for individuals only; organizations can not apply
    • Each lead applicant may only submit one request
    • Lead applicants may not have been funded in the previous round of the New Music Creator Development Fund (December 21, 2020 deadline, announced in March).
    • The applicant must be pursuing music on a professional level
    • Activities/use of the funds should be in process and/or planned as of April 2022.
  • What do you mean by US-based?

    Artists working and living in the US/US territories and have been creating work here are eligible. We will not be able to provide funds to artists working outside of the US.

  • I run an organization, can I apply?

    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 2022 we will be open the application process for organizations called the New Music Organizational Development fund, offering direct support to organizations essential to the music ecosystem. More information will be available about this fund in early 2022.

  • What are the award amounts and how much can I request?

    We plan to make 70 to 100 awards of up to $5,000 each (with the overall average award being $3,000) with funding from New Music USA’s endowment and annual funders and by raising additional funds from the community during New Music USA’s 10th Anniversary year. The number of grants we give will depend on how our fundraising campaign progresses.

  • What is the application like?

    The application form can be completed by submitting a video (max 5 mins) or written response. You are not required to submit a video response, but you must please choose one of these approaches as our advisors won’t have time to look at both. The application must also include a budget and work samples.

    In order to be eligible and move forward in the review process you MUST answer the following questions:

    • Collaboration
      • Tell us about the collaborative work you’d like to lead including who you’re proposing to collaborate with and why?
    • Impact
      • How will this will help you move forward to the next stage of your creative practice? What impact will this work have for you?
    • Need
      • How would you use the money you are applying for?
      • Why do you need our support?
      • Why is it important for you to lead this work right now?
    • When will you do this work (please include any relevant dates)?
  • What are the program priorities?

    We aim to support and represent a broad range of individuals across the country and musical spectrum. We expect the applicant pool to be very diverse in terms of genres, styles, and aesthetic and we will be particularly interested in applicants that display originality of sound, music, and artistry, shaping the future of music creation and sound.

    We will also prioritize music creators who have at least some evidence of prior experience making music professionally and are engaged in music on a professional level. We are particularly interested in projects that do not already have funding support and projects which are most likely to have a significant and positive impact on the next steps in the applicant’s creative practice and potential.

    Projects should be in progress or be developed in roughly the next year. We will be giving priority to artists who demonstrate the greatest need for our support. Our commitment to an equitable ecosystem for new music means that we are particularly interested in receiving proposals from BIPOC and other under-represented artists.

  • What are the review criteria?

    Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria. All will be weighted equally throughout the review process. 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

    When evaluating an application panelists often consider the following in their review:

    • Artistry – projected artistic merit of the collaboration based on the proposal and existing body of work.
      • Does this represent an opportunity for artistic challenge or stretch?
      • Is the music original and distinctive?
      • Do the music creators demonstrate strong craft, technical ability, virtuosity, or musicality?
      • What is the level of their experience? Do they demonstrate proficiency and mastery with their creative practice?
      • Is there artistic exploration that feels relevant and considered?
    • Collaboration – strength of the collaboration proposed.
      • Who are they collaborating with and why?
      • Why are they leading the project?
      • Do the costs relate to collaboration with other artists and practitioners in these times of social isolation?
    • Need – how they want to use the money and the urgency of support right now.
      • How would they use the money in service of this project?
      • Why do they need our support?
      • Why is it important for them to lead this work right now?
      • Is self-awareness of the artist communicated in their response to application questions?
      • Do the music creators pay themselves and their collaborators?
    • Impact – the difference this project will make to the next steps of their and other participants’ careers.
      • Do you understand how this project will help them move forward to the next stage of their creative practice?
      • When will this work be done? Does the project incorporate exploration, feel relevant, and appear to be deeply considered?
      • Does the work reveal something about the world, inviting the viewer to question, discover, explore new ideas – is the storytelling compelling?
      • There’s an understanding of where they are now and what they want to achieve next in their creative practice.
      • Does this application enable the music creator(s) to take the lead in the development of a new or existing idea or project?
  • Is there a hierarchy for the funding criteria? Which is the #1 priority?

    Applications will be evaluated based on the stated criteria. All will be weighted equally throughout the review process. We expect the applicant pool to be very diverse in terms of genres, styles, and aesthetic and we will be particularly interested in applicants that display originality of sound, music, and artistry, shaping the future of music creation and sound.

    We will also prioritize music creators who have at least some evidence of prior experience making music professionally and are engaged in music on a professional level. We are particularly interested in projects that do not already have funding support and projects which are most likely to have a significant and positive impact on the next steps in the applicant’s creative practice and potential.

    We will be giving priority to artists who demonstrate the greatest need for our support. Our commitment to an equitable ecosystem for new music means that we are particularly interested in receiving proposals from BIPOC and other under-represented artists.

  • How will applicants communicate need? How will panelists understand levels of need?

    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.

  • What happens after I submit?

    Applications will be screened first by staff for eligibility and completeness. Applications will then move forward to a peer review process completed by roughly 30 to 40 panelists working from around the country. Panelists will review each application by the criteria listed providing a score that will then be averaged to create a ranked list. All criteria will be equally weighted during the review process. Award determinations will be made using the ranked list taking into account any funding restrictions as necessary.

  • How will this fund promote diversity, equity and inclusion in music?

    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.

     

  • How many of the applicants will be based in New York?

    Approximately 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. Below is a further breakdown.

    Both the New Music Creator Development Fund and the New Music Organizational Development Fund are made possible by the generous funders who either donated to our endowment or generously donate to New Music USA annually. Some of these funders had or have specific requests regarding the kinds of work we support because of their geographical location or specific area of interest. We are providing the facts and figures below so that all applicants have a better insight into these restrictions, which influence the applications our advisors select. Please note that applications may cover a number of the categories listed below; others may not fit with any.

    • Award rates are generally between 5% and 10% of the overall applicant pool (this means we support around 1/10 of the applications we receive each year)
      • Roughly 25% of the applications we fund must include the creation of new work (e.g. commissions and facilitation of brand new pieces of music)
      • Roughly 25% of the applications we award must include creation or programming of live music for dance (creation, performance, choreographer, and dancer fees)
    • Geographical restrictions are as follows:
      • 49% of our grants budget is available without geographical restriction
      • 35% is restricted to New York City based artists/organizations
      • 11% is restricted to New York State based artists/organizations
      • 2% is restricted to New Jersey based artists/organizations
      • 2% is restricted to California Bay Area based artists/organizations
      • 1% is restricted to Pennsylvania based artists/organizations
  • What is the deadline and review timeline?

    The Fund is open as of November 22nd, the deadline will be December 21, 2021 at 11:59 pm (Eastern Time). Decisions will be made in April 2022. Projects may be in progress or recently beginning. They can be process or performance oriented, rather than leading to a definitive final outcome. An outline of your progress and experience will be required by end August 2022.

  • What is the project timeline for this Fund?

    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 April 2022. If awarded, an update on your progress and experience will be required by end August 2022. It’s up to you to tell us how long you think this work will take.

     

  • 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?

    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 needed support to sustain creativity in the context of COVID 19.

  • Where do I apply?

    You may apply at newmusicusa.smapply.io. You must register if you do not already have a login.

  • I have an existing User Profile on New Music USA, can I use that?

    If you applied to the Creator Development Fund in the past you may use that login, otherwise if you had a profile on New Music USA or only applied to the Project Grants program you will need to register on our new application portal.

  • What kind of work samples do you require?

    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.

  • My video isn’t loading or I can’t see my video when I preview my application, what happened? What do I do?

    If you are uploading video narratives or work samples please prioritize .mp4 videos, using the most up to date software you have, as they will embed more seamlessly. If you are providing links to YouTube or Vimeo please be sure to provide “embed” links or conversely make sure your links are public. If you are providing links to password protected work samples, please make sure that you provide the password in the description of the work or at the tail end of your narrative, otherwise the panel will not be able to access your samples.

  • My budget isn’t adding up, what happened?

    Please use ONLY numbers and decimal points when adding budget numbers. DO NOT include commas. If you include commas the system will not add your budget correctly.

  • 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?

    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 anything you’d like our community to be aware of.

  • How do I contact you if I have questions?

    Please email grants@newmusicusa.org; please note that due to the high volume of inquiries please allow 24 to 48 hours for a response.