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Funding For Musicians: U.S. Music Grants 

Funding For Musicians: U.S. Music Grants

It’s easier than ever to make music and share it with the world. But being able to do it full-time is another story. 

There are lots of different ways musicians can make money, but one source of funding for music projects often overlooked is grants. 

Guest post by Dave Cool 

What are music grants? 

Grants are an excellent form of funding for musicians. There are dozens of music grant organizations in the USA that regularly award cash to serious artists, allowing the recipients to focus entirely on furthering their music career in some way. And unlike loans, they don’t need to be paid back. 

Sound too good to be true? These funding opportunities are out there for the taking, but they’re very competitive. You’ll need to research which ones are a good fit for you, find out when the deadlines are, and set aside plenty of time for the application process, which can be intense. 

Some music grant organizations exist to help out fledgling artists, while others support more established artists. Depending on the type of grant, the funding could be used to get a new music project off the ground, record an album, or tour. Some organizations place no restrictions at all on how you can use the money. 

Here are seven of our favorite music grants available in the United States to get your wheels turning. But definitely check out local opportunities in your own city or state, you never know what you might come across. 

1. New Music USA grants 

Region: United States 

New Music USA’s mission is to support and promote all kinds of musical creativity in the United States. They offer funding for music projects, support for small ensembles and DIY venues, and even provide composer-in-residence positions in orchestras. Learn more about New Music USA’s grants. 

2. Foundation for Contemporary Arts 

Region: United States 

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts was created by artists in 1963 to promote the innovative work of their peers. Today, they offer generous grants to nominated artists, as well as emergency grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 that any artist urgently in need of funding can apply for. Learn more about the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ grant programs. 

3. The Alice M. Ditson Fund 

Region: United States 

Since 1940, the Alice M. Ditson Fund has awarded over 2,000 grants in support of contemporary American classical concert music. They offer funding for recording projects, with the specific goal of providing wider exposure for the music of younger, relatively unknown American composers. Learn more. 

4. New York Foundation for the Arts 

Region: New York 

The New York Foundation for the Arts has a 32-year history of supporting artists at all stages of their careers. Unlike grants that fund specific projects, the unrestricted $7,000 fellowships “are intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, regardless of the level of his or her artistic development.” You can find up-to-date application information here. 

5. Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation 

Region: Delaware, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the US Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia 

The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation was established to support multi-state arts programming and has since expanded to include initiatives in other parts of the United States. The grants provide support for artists looking to create, tour, build an audience, and develop their careers. 

You can explore MAAF’s unique artist grant programs here, which include creative fellowships, funding to perform at international festivals, and even a French-American cultural exchange program for jazz artists. 

6. Tennessee Arts Commission 

Region: Tennessee 

With a mission to “cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities,” the Tennessee Arts Commission offers a wide variety of annual grants for individuals, projects, arts education, and more. 

The Individual Artist Fellowship awards $5,000 to professional artists of all stripes, including composers. There are no specific requirements for how you use the money, but you do have to already be making a living off of music to qualify for the fellowship. More details here. 

7. COLA Individual Artist Fellowship 

Region: Los Angeles, CA 

This fellowship is specifically for accomplished artists who either live in Los Angeles or have presented their work in the city for at least three years. The Department of Cultural Affairs grants $10,000 per artist for the creation of innovative new work. Check out the eligibility details and application guidelines here

Even if you don’t get the music grant you wanted the first time around, applying for funding is still a valuable process to go through. As you continue honing your craft and refining your unique artist voice, your applications will become stronger and stronger.

2020 Colorado Music Educators Conference Presentation 

I am looking forward to speaking at the 2020 Colorado Music Educators Conference at the Broadmoor Hotel and Convention Center in January.

My topic: Makin a Living Making Music: Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the New Music and Entertainment Industry.

Click here to view the CMEA Conference Schedule

Today’s music industry is the wild, wild, west! The gatekeepers who once determined the fate of an artist’s success, the projects that would be recorded, the songs to be released, the bands that would take the stage, no longer wield their career crushing power. To succeed in today’s music industry, musicians need to expand their skillset from being musicians alone to being musical entrepreneurs. This session, Making a Living Making Music: Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the New Music and Entertainment Industry, will help you discover and declare your IDENTITY as artists and entrepreneurs, your VISION for the life and vocation you dream of, and your INTENTION and plans to begin to transform your dreams into realities. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak by CMEA Tri-M Music Honor Society Chair, Michelle Ewer. Tri-M Music Honor Society offers students, grades 6 through 12, an opportunity to perform, serve the community as well as places them in leadership positions. It helps to bring a music department together and operate as one. Tri-M looks different in every school. Colorado has one of the most robust Tri-M conventions across the country; Students come together to share and discover new ways to make their chapters stronger. Students walk away feeling excited and eager to try new ideas they have experienced at the convention. Feel free to click on the links below to answer questions that you may have.  

Click here to start a NAfME Tri-M® chapter at your school 

Click here for NAfME Tri-M® chapter resources

Michael Pickering, President and Chief Creative Officer of Lionsong Entertainment, Inc., and former Director and founder of the Music and Entertainment Entrepreneurship program at the Community College of Aurora, is a creative leader, entrepreneur, educator, and musician. He holds a Master of Arts in Music Business Degree and a B.P.S. in Interdisciplinary Music Studies Degree from the Berklee College of Music. He has served on the boards of local arts and entertainment organizations, authored post-secondary music curricula, and spoken at many local and national music industry events. He also provides music and entertainment business and performance consulting services (www.mpickeringmusic.com). Michael and his wife, Amy Pickering, remain active as national headline music and clean comedy performing artists for corporate, theatrical, educational, outreach, cruise, and private clients worldwide — www.michaelandamy.com.

CASE Act Passes US House of Representatives 

CASE Act Passes US House of Representatives

Guest post by Chris Eggertsen 

The bill intending to streamline copyright disputes now heads to the Senate. 

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act passed 410-6 in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday evening (Oct. 22). It now goes to the Senate for a vote before it can become law. 

If successful, the CASE Act will create a copyright claims board within the U.S. Copyright Office to rule on small claims infringement cases where damages would be capped at $15,000 per claim and $30,000 total. 

The bill would give independent creators a practical way to enforce their rights without the burden of hiring an attorney to fight the infringement in federal court. Cases would be decided by a three-judge panel of subject matter experts inside the Copyright Office, who will hear only straightforward cases of the alleged infringement. It includes a provision in which the Copyright Office will monitor the process in order to ensure it is not being used as a tool of harassment, according to a recent House press release.

The non-profit Copyright Alliance is applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for its overwhelming passage of the CASE Act on Tuesday evening (Oct. 22), echoing numerous advocates of the landmark copyright bill that will make it easier and less expensive for independent creators to fight copyright infringement. 

"The Recording Academy applauds the House for passing the CASE Act today, another victory for music creators almost exactly a year after the Music Modernization Act was signed into law,” said Daryl Friedman, chief industry, government, & member relations officer for the Recording Academy, in a statement. “We also thank the nearly 2,000 Recording Academy members who lobbied their legislators this month for the CASE Act. We now look to the Senate and the White House to get this bill into law and ensure music makers have access to the copyright protection they deserve." 

Added Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid: "The CASE Act continues to be a legislative priority for hundreds of thousands of photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, songwriters, authors, bloggers, YouTubers and other types of creators and small businesses across the country. These creators are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, they currently have rights but no means to enforce them because federal court is too expensive and complex to navigate.

“Today’s vote by the House demonstrates not only the tremendous support for the bill but also the fact that members of Congress could not be bamboozled into believing the numerous falsehoods about the CASE Act that were proffered by those who philosophically oppose any copyright legislation that will help the creative community and who will use any means to achieve their illicit goals.” 

The next step for the bill will be a full vote on the floor of the Senate, where it has already been voted out of the Judiciary Committee. 

The CASE Act has not been without its detractors. Among them are the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that the bill’s passage “runs the risk of creating a chilling effect” with respect to speech online. The ACLU has claimed with average internet users could potentially face thousands of dollars in fines for simply sharing a meme or other piece of copyrighted content.

8 Important Web Resources Designed For Musicians  

8 Important Web Resources Designed For Musicians 

As social media promotion becomes increasingly difficult for artists to to do for free, band websites have now become one the most important marketing resources you have. That said, maintaining and customizing a website can be touch trickier than social media platforms - luckily there are a number of great resources out there designed specifically to help artists do just that. 

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Guest post by Patrick McGuire of Soundfly's Flypaper 

With social media promotion becoming trickier and harder to do for free, band websites are more important now than ever. From selling merch with no middleman to promoting a new release and upping your SEO game, personalized music websitesare crucial in helping get the job done right. But how exactly do you “personalize” a website? Social media platforms are great for promotion because they’re so easy to use, but websites are much tricker to customize and update. 

To help you navigate the vast world of music-related website resources out there, we picked out eight of our favorite web tools that are made specifically for musicians, so you know you’re in good hands with each of them. 

1. Bandzoogle 

If you’re like me and want to quickly maintain and update a solid website for your band so you can get back to making music ASAP, check out Bandzoogle. They’re a website-building platform built by and for musicians. For a low subscription fee, they offer tools to help musicians build great websites in minutes. They also give artists access to commission-free merch, ticket, and download sales through their online store feature. 

In fact, we like this service so much that we partnered with them to make a free online course called How to Create a Killer Musician Website. Check it out! 

2. Spotify Artist Insights 

Streaming platforms have long been a source of controversy because of how little they pay artists, but some offer other advantages. Spotify’s Artist Insights feature is a powerful analytics tool designed to help musicians understand who’s listening to their music the most over the platform. It tracks listener information like gender, age, location, and through what source someone discovered your music. 

How does this relate to your own website? By discovering detailed information about your listeners, you can tailor the content on your website to better reach the parts of your audience that are most engaged and likely to buy your merch, see your live shows, and check out your new releases. 

3. Bandsintown 

Bandsintown offers a set of high-powered tools aimed at helping musicians promote shows, engage fans, and upload videos. Their events widget is designed to sync up show listing information across the web, so adding it to your site will help your fans stay up to date with accurate information about your performances. Show announcements can be automated and sent out through their platform, which is also a big plus. But Bandsintown’s biggest advantage comes with their comprehensive show listing page, which shows fans which artists are playing shows near them, in case you wanted to pitch your band for a support spot! 

4. GigMailz 

GigMailz is similar to Mailchimp, but is geared towards musicians and other entertainers. For a low monthly subscription, users get services like a 45-minute design consultation, unlimited lists, and analytics. By adding the GigMailz widget to your website, you can bring new fans into the fold with show and music release updates, sales on merch, and other band happenings, with a few clicks. 

5. Songkick 

If you’re looking for an easy way to post show information in one place and have it show up all over the internet, look no further than Songkick’s Tourbox API feature. It functions through a widget that you can add to your website and across your social media accounts, as well as a mass automated updater that reaches Spotify, Shazam, Bandcamp, Pandora, Hype Machine, and loads of other sites. Fans with the Songkick app installed on their phones will receive notifications when you announce shows near their location. 

6. Bandtraq 

Bandtraq, another company formed by musicians, creates digital tools to help artists and fans alike. The musician-oriented tools they offer include a handy customizable widget that lets artists present social media feeds, videos, music, and more, all in one place. The unique Bandlink feature helps bands design smart landing pages to promote and present new releases through a single short link, which is ideal for rolling out new music over a website in a quick and easy way. 

7. SoundCloud 

You’re probably well aware of SoundCloud by now, but its widget feature is worth mentioning. Because SoundCloud is completely free and typically reliable, it’s the perfect place to host music over your site. Yes, you’ll lose some royalty money by not linking up to your Spotify or Apple Music account, but going with SoundCloud is the best option because it doesn’t force those visiting your site to sign up with yet another service. Plus, it’s essentially social media for track releases. 

8. Metablocks Widgets 

For musicians looking to integrate sophisticated retail capabilities with their sites, Metablocks is a good option. Through their widgets, you can sell music, accept email addresses, and even integrate Spotify’s Pre-Save campaigns. They’re able to link with hundreds of music retailers, and offer analytics in real-time about who’s clicking, when, and why. 

Bonus: Google Analytics 

And for a bonus, because it’s not strictly designed for musicians, Google Analytics is worth checking out if you’re obsessed with learning more about the fans who visit your website. This platform is designed to help businesses (if you sell music, then you’re a business) better understand and serve their customers, and that makes it perfect for you.