UK charity Youth Music has launched the NextGen Fund, offering financial support to young creatives at the start of their music careers. 

Butterz head honcho, Elijah, is spearheading the initiative, which aims to help tomorrow’s industry innovators realise their dreams and ideas. 

Applicants must be aged between 18 and 25, or 30 for those who identify as disabled. Grants of up to £2,500 are available, with 40 projects to be chosen per round of funding. There will be a total of three rounds per year. 

Artists, producers, songwriters, DJs, A&Rs and more are all eligible, and organisers encourage people to apply who do not fall into traditional job categories, alongside those who want to look outside standard career paths. Prospective candidates with no experience approaching organisations for funding are also a high priority.

Youth Music has made a video to help guide creatives through the process — embedded at the bottom of this story. A series of online workshops are also available; How to get paid: An introduction to PRS for music (15th June); Hooversound Recordings: Starting a record label during a pandemic (22nd June); and Becoming self-sufficient as a creative with Andy Musgrave (29th June). Advanced registration is required for those who want to attend. 

NextGen grants are only available in England, Wales and Scotland, with hopes of extending to Northern Ireland for the second round. According to Youth Music, the initiative is in response to its own commissioned research, which revealed 79% of young people aspiring to work in music are more interested in pursuing their own projects as oppose to established routes into the sector. This can include: 

*Creative music projects — single, EP, or contribution to an album campaign 
*Music based businesses — for example, launching a label or new music platform
*Projects supporting underrepresented voices and perspectives 

Successful bidders will have 12 months to show the results of their funding.

Applications close on 9th July, with full details on the Youth Music website.

It’s the latest project designed to help emerging talent get a foothold in a notoriously competitive and complex industry. Earlier this year No Signal launched its academy programme for young Black artists, while a new incubator system was set up by Youth Music in January, and in 2020 the organisation opened a £2 million fund to improve diversity in the music business.