Announcing New Music USA’s New Music Creator Development Fund

Written By

Megan Ihnen

New Music Creator Development Fund
Overview and Guidelines

Download the announcement PDF here.

*Music creator refers to any individual composer or artist who creates original music. 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.


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 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 be developed in roughly the next year. We will be giving priority to artists in need and we are particularly interested in receiving proposals from BIPOC and other under-represented artists. 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.

For further information and clarification, please visit our frequently asked questions here.

What we mean by collaboration:

Artistic collaboration is not easy in the context of a global pandemic. And yet, this period of restrictions and increased isolation is stimulating inspiring levels of creativity and innovation and new ways of working. This fund encourages new collaborations which tap in to these opportunities. 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, the R&D time you need with your artistic collaborators, and/or a virtual performance of some kind. Most important to our fund is that the work you propose will have a positive impact on the next steps in your and the other participants’ creative practice.

Application simplicity:

The application form will be simple and will allow creators to express their needs directly rather than respond to limiting criteria. Applicants will be able to seek support for a variety of activities which may form part of their collaboration. Applications must be led by music creators and can involve creative collaborators from any discipline. This is an opportunity for music creators to initiate new connections and have control over the next stages of their creative practice.


What the program supports:

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 composing in these uncertain times. We will prioritize proposals with the most potential to have a significant impact on the creative practice and potential.

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

  • Payment for your time needed 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 research and development (R&D) into new project ideas
  • Other costs you consider to be essential e.g. childcare for yourself or a collaborating artist

What the program does not support:

  • Benefits or fundraisers
  • Competition fees


New Music USA plans to allocate forty to sixty awards of up to $5,000 each.

The funding is provided by New Music USA, along with any additional funds raised from our generous donors. If the fund surpasses initial fundraising targets, more grants will be allocated. Please help us support the individual creators in our communities by contributing as generously as you can!


  • 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 as an individual in the previous round of Project Grants (Winter 2020 round).
  • Activities/use of the funds should be in process and/or planned as of March 2021.
  • If you have already received funds from other organizations for the activities outlined you will not be eligible.

Review criteria:

  • 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

Deadlines and timeline:

Deadline: December 21, 2020, 5 p.m. ET.

Decisions will be made by early March 2021. 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 2021.

Application questions/requirements:

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. Please answer the following questions:

  • Tell us about the collaborative work you’d like to lead including who you’re proposing to collaborate with and why.
  • How will this will help you move forward to the next stage of your creative practice?
  • How would you use the money for which you are applying?
  • 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)?

Other required material:

  • Budget breakdown; how would you propose to use the funds?
    • Please provide your requested amount (the maximum award is $5,000).
    • Please outline how you plan to use the funds.
      • That can include individual costs for you and/or your collaborator, funds for performers, equipment, recording, or other fees. Please be descriptive.
    • Work samples demonstrating artistic quality for music creator/key collaborator(s).
      • 2 to 3 work samples demonstrating recent work by you and your collaborating artists.
      • You may provide links to YouTube, Vimeo, or Soundcloud, or upload via mp3.


Further questions or information:

Please email