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3 examples of how to use a grant from the Incubator Fund

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Reform Radio, Palm Bay Music and Young Guns Network have all previously been awarded a grant from the Incubator Fund. Find out how they used the funding to open up access to the music industries for all young people. 

The fund is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and boosted by new support from YouTube which will provide digital innovation and investment to successful applicants.

young people sat around a table with laptops and a keyboard making music

Reform Radio - Rhythm Lab Records: Career Starter

Reform Radio is a Manchester-based online community radio station broadcasting the best in music, arts and culture 24/7. They use the radio platform to support local young people into employment through creative workshops and industry-focused training.  Their Career Starter programme offers 5 young people the chance to grow and develop Reform’s new independent label Rhythm Lab Records for 6 months. Their programme was designed in consultation with early career artists and informed by Youth Music’s Blueprint for the Future research.

Recruitment is run through referral partners embedded in the Greater Manchester community. These partners help them reach people from a diverse range of demographics. This includes people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds; from suburbs; women; transgender and non-binary people; Black, Asian and ethnically diverse artists; disabled and neurodivergent artists. Applicants don’t need to have any prior qualifications. Instead, they need to demonstrate a track record as an independent artist, together with a passion for working within the industry and a commitment to collaboration. Applications can be submitted in written, filmed or audio format.

The 18-25s will be assigned label roles and work together to sign, develop, and release tracks from five new artists. They’ll receive support from industry professionals, and supervision from the Music Executive and Project Leader. Trainees will also gain insights into developing their own music, via talks/ tutorials from established artists. They will have full access to employment support (including CV writing, branding, networking, interview skills) and access to in-house mental health support. Any income generated from the tracks will be split 60/40 in favour of the recording artists, in line with Rhythm Lab Records’ ethical policy.

Young Guns Network x AWAL - Artist Marketing Collab

Young Guns Network (YGN) was created to offer a diverse, accessible and updated professional networking experience, focused on the 18-30 age group to provide them with inspiration, insight and opportunities. The network is made up of entrepreneurs, executives, artists and ambitious young people working in music. Those who join are seeking access to the latest information and opportunities from music industry brands, organisations and employers.

The Artist Marketing Collab was born in response to 43% of YGN members wanting jobs in marketing, media, labels and/or distribution. The programme is provides an opportunity for five young people from anywhere in the UK. Once recruited, YGN matches young people up with an artist and other music professionals, which will help them build skills, portfolio of experience and contacts.

They will develop a real marketing and promotion campaign for an independent artist and to learn how to develop artists with support from the marketing team at AWAL (AWAL stands for A World Artists Love and the organisation supports independent artists with funding, creative support, synch and licencing, and digital and physical distribution). Other partners include Small Green Shoots, The Cat’s Mother and Giant Artist Management. Advice is also available from experts in PR, Radio and TV promotion.

Participants are paid a freelance fee and can work flexibly. They can access additional support for computer software, data or travel costs and have a small budget to spend.

In addition to the core programme, YGN will be running free monthly online events, benefiting up to 600 young people in total. They intend that the outcomes from this programme will help young people to either launch their own freelance promotions business, win freelance contracts and overall be better positioned to gain employment

Palm Bay Music – Next Level

Palm Bay Music is a female-led boutique Record Label, Music Publishing and Production Company based in Ramsgate. They believe in a transparent, fair, and diverse future where creatives are valued, well paid, inspired and empowered. They aim to nurture and financially support creatives to thrive, not just survive. They understand the difficulties of navigating the music industry if you belong to a minority group, and believe that introducing fresh thinking new talent to their business will have an invaluable impact on their own growth as a company.

‘Next Level’ aims to nurture and elevate underrepresented young people to become the UK’s music leaders of tomorrow. 16 young people will lead on all aspects of the project to give them experience to secure future employment.  Four song-writing camps will be planned and run by four young project managers covering A&R, artist liaison and administration. The camps will be accessed by young artists, writers, and producers, who are paid a fee plus expenses to attend the week-long intensive programme.

The song-writing camps give creatives the space to create at the same time as networking and receiving mentoring from established industry professionals. All the songs created will be pitched to industry professionals (music publishers, labels and managers) for feedback, Q&A and potential paid placements in film, games, tv and other future opportunities. They will be signed to Palm Bay’s publishing company on a fair, writer-friendly short-term deal.