Finance and funding for music businesses

Grants and subsidies for music

Guide

Grants are a popular source of public funding for music start-ups, small businesses and projects. They are non-repayable, which generally makes applying for them very competitive. Most grant schemes have different criteria and usually fund only a part of your project's costs.

Where to find music grants

The largest sources of grants for music businesses are typically:

  • the arts councils, including the Arts Council Northern Ireland
  • the PRS for Music Foundation
  • trade bodies, such as the British Phonographic Industry
  • sector-related charities, such as Help Musicians UK
  • community foundations
  • benevolent funds

Use the Northern Ireland business support finder tool to search for grants and other forms of assistance.

Music grants - what can they be used for?

Specific grants will have different rules but, normally, you can seek funding for:

  • research, development and marketing activities
  • creating new work for production or touring
  • training, mentoring and professional development
  • business and market development
  • export and trade show attendance

Keep in mind that the competition for this type of funding is high. Expect to spend time on research for this type of funding, as schemes, deadlines and criteria change regularly.

To be successful at winning grants, you will need to:

  • have a good business plan
  • offer a comprehensive project or idea that fits with the grant objective
  • convince the funders that you can carry out the project to a good standard

When applying for grants, make sure that you are eligible. Many music businesses get rejected because they are ineligible for that scheme in the first place. Making sure that you meet the criteria will prevent you from investing precious time and effort into unsuccessful applications. Read about grant eligibility and reasons why a grant application might be turned down.

If you are planning a project, make sure to build in plenty of time to tap into the right funding sources.