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Top tips for applying for the Youth Music NextGen Fund

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luke rv holds a microphone in his hands and raises his left arm
Pictured: Luke RV / Photo: Saskia Morley-Sage

Thinking about applying for the Youth Music NextGen Fund? This blog will help you work out whether to apply and how to increase your chance of success.

The NextGen fund is designed to invest directly in young people wanting to take ownership of their creative careers and make their ideas happen. We ask 18-25 year olds (and up to 30 who identify as Disabled) to come up with a project idea with a budget of £2,500 to move their future in the music industries forward.

  • Include your music or the project that you are most proud of. Make sure to include a streaming link to your song on Youtube / Spotify or Soundcloud. It can be unlisted, but needs to be available for us to listen to. 

  • Include an attachment - this can be a project timeline or any kind of document that may help us understand your art or project a bit better. 

  • Keep your social media 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. 

  • Explore new ideas that you haven’t done before, and exciting ways of delivering your projects. Releasing a single is great, but really delve into why this particular song or project is going to move you forward.  

  • 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. 

  • If you aren't ready now, don't rush an application through, we are running these 3 times a year, and applying with a weak application will mean you are locked out of the next round. Wait until you can spend time on it, and really have the time for what you intend to deliver.

What makes a good application?

Here are some of the common themes we've identified in previous rounds:

  • Video and visual applicants have a high success rate - they give us further clarity on projects that doesn’t always come across in writing. There have also been some creative efforts that people put into the videos and visual documents that made these applications memorable.

  • Achievable projects - we want to see ambition, but we also want the delivery and outcomes to be manageable and realistic for the applicants.  

  • Active artists - if links sent in are old, without any recent output, they don’t build our confidence in the projects. We aren’t concerned with number of followers or plays, but if we can see movement already happening publicly it makes the projects stand out. 

Meeting the budget criteria

  • Projects that score well have detailed budgets and timelines - whether that's researching studio and mastering costs, or finding ways to be resourceful and ways of spreading the budget across many different things.  

  • 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.  

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Join Our NextGen Community

Are you aged 18-25 and chasing a career in music, but finding it tough, closed off and hard to break in to? 
Start finding your way in with Youth Music's NextGen Community.