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First Momentum Music Fund grants announced

By | Published on Friday 30 August 2013

Momentum Music Fund

The PRS For Music Foundation has announced the first ten artists to benefit from the Momentum Music Fund, the new Arts Council-funded initiative providing grants to bands looking for help getting to the next level which was launched at The Great Escape earlier this year. It’s the first artist-centric programme for contemporary music pursued by the Arts Council in England.

And the ten bands to receive the first round of Momentum funding are: Brolin, Dutch Uncles, Esco Williams, Floating Points, Hacktivist, Hannah Peel, Kindness, Teleman, Thumpers and The Wytches. They were selected by an industry panel from around 500 submitted applications. There are eight more Momentum funding rounds between now and October 2014 with the judging panel to vary each time.

The fund can grant up to £15,000 to any one artist, and that can be used to fund a range of activities, including recordings, releases, marketing campaigns and touring. The PRS For Music Foundation says the aim of the fund is to “support exceptional artists, to help them realise their potential and contribute to the musical success story of this country”.

Commenting on the first round of applications for the new fund, PRS Foundation boss Vanessa Reed told CMU: “The overall quality of the Momentum applications to our first deadline has reinforced my belief in the importance of this fund and the impact it’s going to have on its first line-up of talented beneficiaries. Our message to those who were not successful this time is not to give up. There are more funding deadlines to come and we’re actively seeking additional sponsors to increase the support we can offer”.

The first such additional sponsor is streaming music service Deezer, which will make a contribution to the Momentum Music Fund and provide support to artists who receive grants. Deezer has also put together a playlist featuring eight of the bands who secured funding on this first round.

Commenting on all this, Arts Council England boss Alan Davey told reporters: “This is a brilliant milestone for Momentum and, after many months of hard work behind the scenes both at the Arts Council and PRS For Music Foundation, it’s marvellous to see artists starting to benefit from this fund. Momentum is all about helping real talent to find its place and I look forward to seeing all ten artists – and those who follow them – grow and flourish with its help”.

Davey, of course, previously ruffled some feathers in the UK record industry when the Momentum Music Fund launched, and he told Radio 4 – who deliberately misunderstood what the Arts Council meant by ‘pop music’ to question the validity of the new fund – that the initiative was needed now because the big record labels weren’t investing in new talent in the way they used to.

In response, the big labels were adamant that they were very much still taking big risks on new music, forcing Davey to backtrack a little. Though presumably the Arts Council now hopes that future major label fall-outs can be avoided, now that the UK boss of the biggest, Universal Music, has been appointed to the organisation’s National Council. David Joseph was one of five people to join the now fifteen strong committee earlier this month, a voluntary team that oversees the state-funded arts body.