Grants For Independent Musicians

Grants For Independent Musicians

If you’re a talented independent artist looking for grants for musicians to help you out in your musical journey, look no further. These are some of our favorite grants for musicians in need of some support…

Grants For Independent Musicians

Salt Lick Incubator

The Salt Lick Incubator is a nonprofit organization that supports emerging musicians on their path to sustainable careers. Their project grants range from $5,000 to $15,000 and are awarded to musicians performing in songful, contemporary genres to use for projects such as producing a song or album, producing a music video, developing social media assets, pressing vinyl, touring, or developing branding and marketing assets and strategies. — All grants are also accompanied by a plan developed with each recipient to ensure the artist’s activities are both strategic and successful.

“A successful applicant is an emerging artist pursuing a career in song-driven music who performs at a high level, has a distinct artistic voice and vision, and who has submitted a feasible project proposal that aligns with Salt Lick Incubator’s vision, mission, and strengths. A willingness to engage and collaborate with a broader musical community is encouraged.”

  • Applications open February 26, 2024 and close* April 16, 2024. Awards announced on or before May 30, 2024.
  • Applications open June 1 and close* July 25, 2024. Awards announced in September, 2024.
  • Applications open October 1 and close* November 25, 2024. Awards announced in February, 2025.

National Endowment for the Arts

“Through our work, the NEA aims to strengthen the non-profit music ecosystem by supporting projects that have potential regional, national, or field-wide significance, and that nurture the interdependent relationships between and among stakeholders. Organizations of all types and sizes may apply for presentation, professional development, engagement, music and health, and service projects.”

Applicants may request cost share/matching grants for musicians ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. However, applications must be for projects only. Some of the types of projects they support include:

  • Public presentations of musical works
  • Commissions and/or co-commissions
  • Development and performances of new musical compositions and innovative works
  • Performances and educational engagements by NEA Jazz Masters that honor their work, history, style, and/or significance to jazz; and broaden public awareness of the art form
  • Domestic touring (NEA Music grants cannot support international tours)
  • Festivals and other events (may include performances, lecture-demonstrations, audience talkbacks, master classes, and workshops)

That’s not all, though. You can check out the full list of requirements and guidelines here before you apply. (Deadline to apply online: February 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.)

Dolly Parton Songwriters Award

The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award is an annual, nationwide competition open to aspiring songwriters. The awards can be used as a career grant for study, instrument purchase, recording costs, or other professional expenses and are not restricted to tuition costs. Founding endowments include a lead gift from Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston as well as a contribution from country superstar Luke Combs.

The revised program offers $20,000 for up to two of the best original song entries in any of the following genres: Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk, or roots. Judges for previous competitions have included GRAMMY-winning artist Kacey Musgraves, hit songwriter Rodney Clawson, and Nashville music industry veteran Mark Brown.

To apply, you must meet these requirements: 

  • must be between the ages of 17 and 24 as of February 15, 2024.
  • must be in residence in the United States or its territories.
  • may only submit one application per BMI Foundation awards program.
  • may not submit the same musical work to more than one BMI Foundation awards program.
  • may only submit works that have not been assigned to any major music publisher or major record label.
  • may only apply if they have not previously won the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award or Nashville Songwriting Scholarship. (Honorable mention may apply again.)

The ASCAP Foundation Scholarships

ASCAP Foundation Scholarship programs seek to ensure that opportunities for the study of music are available to students at all levels. With a long list of options to choose from, there’s a diverse lineup of opportunities for musicians of all backgrounds looking for support. Some scholarships on this list include: Asian American Pacific Islander ScholarshipBetty Rose Scholarship, HBCU Scholarship and many more. There is a long list of options for high school, college or university students looking for support.

  • Check out the full list right here.

John Lennon Award

The John Lennon Award is an annual competition open to student songwriters and composers of contemporary musical genres including alternative, pop, rock, indie, electronica, R&B, and experimental. Over the past twenty years, more than $400,000 in scholarships has been awarded to talented young musicians throughout the United States, making this award one of the nation’s most esteemed accolades for emerging songwriters.

Through the generosity of Yoko Ono and Gibson Musical Instruments, three scholarships totaling $20,000 are presented annually for the best original songs submitted to the competition. Works are judged by a prestigious panel of music publishers, songwriters, musicians, and executives. BMI’s Vice President, Creative, New York Samantha Cox, and Tim Pattison, Director, Creative, New York, oversee the competition.

(Note: The same eligibility requirements apply as the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award)

peermusic Latin Music Award

The peermusic Latin Award is an annual competition open to student songwriters and composers of Latin music. One of the few distinctions of its kind, the award was established in 2003 through the generosity and vision of peermusic CEO, Ralph Peer II. For two decades, the program has nurtured promising musicians who have gone on to distinguish themselves in the fields of television, film, recorded music, and concert performance. A $5,000 scholarship is presented annually for the best original song or instrumental composition in any Latin genre.

(Note: The same eligibility requirements apply as the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award & John Lennon Award.)

New Music Creator Fund

The New Music Creator Fund offers grants to individual music creators working in any genre who need support to get to the next stage of their creative practice. The program supports costs that relate to collaboration with other artists and practitioners. Their aim is to enable music creators to take the lead in the development of new and existing ideas and projects. In addition, they support and represent a broad range of individuals across the country and musical spectrum. Not to mention, they give out a total of 50 to 60 awards of up to $5,000 each (with the average grant being $3,000).

With this fund, artists can use the money for things like: 

  • 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
  • Project specific equipment
  • Recording costs
  • PR/marketing
  • Technical assistance/skills building
  • Support for digital presentation/creation of music videos
  • Workshopping
  • Joint R&D (research and development) into new project ideas
  • Other costs you consider to be essential e.g. childcare for yourself or a collaborating artist

Interested? The deadline for this years application has passed, but make sure to save this for next year! In the meantime, learn everything you need to know right here.

To wrap it all up…

Being an independent musician comes with a lot of ups and downs, mentally and financially. There are foundations out there that have committed to providing resources for artists who need a little help to get to the next stage of their career. Although some of these grants for musicians aren’t currently open for applications, save them for next year! You never know what could come if you don’t even try.

Good luck!