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NextGen Fund FAQs

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The Youth Music NextGen Fund offers young musicians and creatives behind the scenes grants to bring their ideas to life. 

Read the frequently asked questions below to find out more. 

Got a question we haven't answered?

How can I make my application “stand out”?

Be yourself, and tell us why this is important to you! We receive a high number of applications, and it can feel difficult to know how to set yourself apart from other applications. Outside of making sure your application is really clear and detailed, the best way to stand out is to give us a flavour of who you are as a musician or music professional. You can be creative using the opportunity to upload a timeline or showcase document, or doing a video application to show us your creative vision. We want to support young creatives who are entrepreneurial and thinking outside of the box. Make use of all the options to share your vision!

The other key thing is really thinking about and making clear in your application, not just what you what to do with the funding, but why it is important to you in terms of developing yourself and how you are going to do it. Bring us into your journey and tell us how this funding is going to take you to that next level.

Do I need to have a lot of followers on social media?

There isn’t a metric or number of followers we are looking to see on your social media. We understand that socials aren’t for everyone, and that your audience is going to be proportional to the stage of your career that you’re at and the platform that you use most.

What we do what to see on the social link that you provide is that you’re an active music creator, whether that is sharing your recording process, collaborations or what you’ve been up to recently. If you’re at an early stage of your career this can be using social media to start growing your audience or get feedback on your work. If you’re applying as a music professional, this is about have you started developing and sharing your business as a brand or any evidence of your activity to date.

Remember to keep your accounts up-to-date with your latest songs and projects. There are a couple of months between submission of the application and assessment, so when we can see progress it looks good.

I have been releasing music for several years, but feel as if I haven’t got a break yet, can I apply?

Which one do you think is better? We can’t tell you what to apply to the NextGen Fund for, but we’d recommend thinking about the scale of the project, whether it is deliverable, which project idea is going to be most impactful for your next steps, or helping you overcome the barrier that you are facing. We wouldn’t recommend applying for both projects in one application, as we’re keen to see that you’re ambitious but also applying for an achievable idea. Maybe ask a friend or trusted advisor for their thoughts!

Am I more likely to be funded as an artist or as an industry applicant?

Each application is considered on its own strengths within the application round that it is being considered. As you can only have a NextGen Fund grant once, we’d always recommend that you apply for the project that you are most passionate about and that is going to develop you and your career as an individual the best. If you’re unsuccessful, you have to skip a round before applying again so really take the time to think about which project is going to be most impactful for you and pull together a clear plan ahead of submitting.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see in an application?

  • DON’T assume knowledge. Assume no one knows about your project, genre or journey - get someone to read it before you submit it. It’s important to be as clear as possible in your application, and support what you are saying with evidence or specifics.
  • Broken links or documents. We will ask you to provide a link to your most recent music (or other relevant work if you’re not applying as an artist). Make sure that the link will take us to the content in one click and it isn’t password protected or broken! You can also use the option in the application to attach a timeline alongside your answers to the application questions which can be a great way of giving us a bit more information!

I want to work with X musician/producer/creative, is that okay?

If you are intending on working with others as part of your project that is fine, but we want this grant to primarily support you as an individual. We would like to know about how this grant will support your career. We’re keen for NextGen projects to develop you as an individual and therefore are less likely to fund projects where a significant chunk of funding is going directly into another’s pocket. The more of the project you can deliver yourself, even if it's something you are doing for the first time, the stronger your application will be.

Why can I only apply for £500 towards marketing costs?

We don’t want people to spend the majority of the budgets on marketing or advertising with no creative justification behind it. There have been many with well-budgeted, creative marketing efforts that we've funded. Get creative with how you are going to market and let people know about your project. We want you to be responsible for as much as possible. The more of the project you can deliver yourself, even if it's something you are doing for the first time, the stronger your application will be.

What if I turn 26 during the project?

In order to apply to the NextGen fund you must be aged 18-25 or 18-30 if you identify as d/Deaf, disabled or neurodivergent at the date of the application deadline. If this means that you turn 26 during the course of the project this is fine.

Will I need to pay the money back?

No, but you will need to complete an evaluation form on completion of the project to receive the full amount. We hold back 15% of your awarded grant as a final payment which we release once you have completed and released your project, and submitted your evaluation.  

Am I allowed to make profit?

Yes. We want to support your journey to building a sustainable career or revenue stream for your creativity. You won’t need to report this to us, but you will need to check what taxes you may need to pay on these.

I have been releasing music for several years, but feel as if I haven’t got a break yet, can I apply?

Yes. We will not penalise experience, but if you have already had record and or publishing deals, high profile performances and press this fund is not for you. We will prioritise applications of those that do not have the financial means or industry network to deliver their project.

I’m working in an administrative role at a music industry organisation, but want to apply as an artist? Am I ineligible as I have a full time job?

The NextGen fund is specifically targeted at those that don't have the financial means or the music industry networks to develop and deliver their project ideas. For this reason, we don't support applicants that already work full-time in the area of the industry that they hope to develop through the project.

However, if you're looking to apply for an artist project which is unrelated to your 'day' job then you would be eligible to apply.

If you'd like to discuss this and your project idea in more depth we’d recommend booking a 121 call with our team. Please contact us at to arrange a call.

How are decisions made and how long does it take?

The strength of your application will be assessed alongside the other applications we receive by a group of assessors. This will be a mix of people of different ages, experiences and backgrounds. Each application is assessed against the criteria outlined in our Applicant Guidance.

A final shortlist will then go through to an expert judging panel.

You will hear back about the outcome of your application around 12 weeks after the application deadline. This is due to the number of applications we receive.

Can someone else write the application on my behalf?

We strongly encourage you to write it yourself, and seek our advice via booking a 121 session with our team so that we support you and answer any questions you have. The experience of putting it together will help you long term with your creative ideas and we will not be judging on language used or grammar. If someone else is writing for you because of access reasons, that is completely fine.

Will there be future rounds of this fund?

Yes – we run three rounds of the NextGen Fund per year. So if you aren’t ready to apply yet don’t rush through your application to meet the deadline. It would be better to wait and give this your best shot.

Can I apply for the fund if I've already released music?

Yes, and we want you to release more! 

I'm quite unfamiliar with how much recording an EP / album would cost. Would I be able to receive help on budgeting from Youth Music?

You can book a 1:1 Session with our team when the funding round is open. They can answer any questions you have about your application and can sign post you to places that will give you rough costs. Drop us an email on to arrange.

How many times can I reapply to Youth Music if I am unsuccessful?

As long as you are still eligible to apply for the NextGen Fund you can re-apply as many times as you like. However, you can't apply to two funding rounds in a row. This is to make sure we can give a chance to as many people as possible. For example, if you applied in round 3 but were unsuccessful, you could next apply in round 5.

Do I need to have released any music already to be awarded funding?

No, you don’t need to have released music previously. If you’re awarded funding for your music, we will want it to be released. You will be asked to provide a link of “the strongest recent example of your music or work” in the application form.  We would recommend providing an example of your music, if possible – even if it is a demo or an unreleased track, as this enables us to hear what your project is going to sound like.

Can I still apply if I don't have an official music education - like A-levels or a degree?

Yes, the fund is open to all.

I have an access requirement, what support can I get with making an application?

You can apply for support with the costs of making an application via Youth Music’s Access Fund. This is a separate process so don’t include costs related to planning and submitting your application within your NextGen Fund budget.

I have an access requirement, what support can I get with delivering my project?

If you have any personal access costs you need to run your project, you can include these on top of the £2,500 maximum grant. There is an option in the application form to select if you require access costs to fulfil your project. This might include costs for British Sign Language interpreters, personal assistants, support workers or other access costs. If you want to apply for a personal access budget, and would like to discuss your requirements before submitting an application please get in touch with Youth Music:

I’m 35, and consider myself to be an emerging music creative from community that faces a lot of barriers. Why don’t you want to support me?

As an organisation Youth Music’s primary goal is to support children and young people who face barriers to make, learn and earn in music. As part of our charitable objectives, we focus specifically on children and young people aged 0-25. We understand that those who are d/Deaf, Disabled or Neurodivergent experience increased and sustained barriers to accessing the music industry which is why they are eligible to apply if they are aged 18-30. We also understand that careers in the music industry can take a long time to develop, and are a constant journey of development and growth.

However, there are a large number of other funding bodies that support those of all ages with their development which we would encourage you to explore if you aren’t eligible for the NextGen Fund. You can find out more about these organisations via our Guide to Other Funders.