1 Purpose of Funding
Musicboard Berlin’s scholarships fund Berlin pop musicians and bands that stand out by virtue of their creative achievements, and that wish to advance artistically or professionally by means of a time-limited musical initiative. The funding is intended especially to acknowledge up-and-coming talents and the innovative strength of Berlin musicians in the pop music sector. With the term »pop music« Musicboard refers to all genres of popular music as well as cross-genre or experimental pop music that cannot be clearly assigned to the categories of jazz or classical and new music. The project scholarship can be accompanied by a coaching tailored to the musician’s individual needs.
Eligible to apply are:
- musicians and bands living and working in Berlin
- pop musicians that work professionally and rely on their own musical material
Not eligible for funding are:
- artists and bands that are concurrently funded with a scholarship from the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion
- members of the jury or employees of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion of Berlin or Musicboard Berlin GmbH and their dependents
The following information and documents must be supplied, in German or in English, using exclusively the application tool that can be accessed via the button at the end of this page:
- completed application form
- artistic project and motivation
motivation and presentation of the planned artistic project in the context of the scholarship, description of the project partners if applicable
- artistic resume
including a list of artistic milestones such as shows, productions, releases, collaborations, awards and grants
- three music samples
to be uploaded as mp3s
- specification of costs
towards which the funding will be applied
- scans of certificate of registration or personal ID (front and back)
indicating Berlin as place of residence. For bands, the registration certificate of the applicant band member is sufficient.
- for non-EU citizens: Passport scan
including residence permit, duration of stay, and type of work permit. For bands, the document of the applicant band member is sufficient.
Only fully completed documents can be considered. All applications will be handled confidentially and used exclusively for decision-making and funding purposes. Publication of certain relevant details is granted by the applicant as part of the application process.
4 Selection Procedure
The project scholarships are awarded through Musicboard Berlin GmbH upon recommendation of an independent jury of Berlin-based pop experts and in consultation with the Senate Department for Culture and Community. Jury members are usually appointed for a period of three years. The following jury is appointed to the Scholarships & Residencies programme in 2023:
- Aida Baghernejad
- Ji-Hun Kim
editor-in-chief Das Filter, freelance lecturer, DJ and music producer
- Katja Lucker
managing Director of Musicboard Berlin GmbH
- Thien Nguyen
label owner, DJ, music and film producer
- Pamela Owusu-Brenyah
A&R, music consultant and curator Pop-Kultur Festival
- Misla Tesfamariam
artist manager, label owner
A short description of the jury members is available here.
5 Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have collected some frequently asked questions about Musicboard’s scholarships. This information is intended for general advice, is not legally binding, and does not replace consideration of each individual case. We will gladly answer further, detailed questions on the funding programme by phone or by email. Please read the FAQs and other explanatory notes on this website carefully before contacting us. We also recommend the free services of the Kulturförderberatung by Kreativ Kultur Berlin, which supports artists in all disciplines in their search for possible funding, can offer tips for preparing applications and can review applications.
- For what purpose can I apply to Musicboard Berlin for a scholarship?
- Musicboard’s project scholarships promote Berlin musicians and pop music bands by helping them to realise an initiative they have set for themselves. The scholarships support individual artistic development and careers, which is why in general, every project can be submitted that will fund this development or career. Musicboard funds, for example, artistic work on a particular theme, or the preparation and execution of projects or productions that could not be achieved without public funding. This work might include album and video productions, promotion and marketing initiatives, paid intervals for songwriting, the development of artistic collaborations and co-ventures, the realisation of promotional tours, the purchase of instruments, or residencies for fine-tuning creative material. Digital initiatives are also eligible for funding, as is coverage for living expenses during the project time frame, when work on the project results in lost income. Please note: The project must take place in the year of funding.
- What amount can I apply for?
- The amount of a Musicboard scholarship can vary by decision of the jury depending on the application and the volume of applications received. Musicboard recommends an application for funding in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 euros. The project scholarship cannot be delivered as a lump sum, instead the granted amount must be linked to actual expenses. The individual expenses can be easily listed in the online application form. In the case of an interesting application for which the requested funding is too high, the jury typically does not deny funding but instead awards the amount that is available.
- I have just submitted another application to Musicboard. Can I still apply for a scholarship?
- In general, it is possible for musicians to be funded repeatedly and in successive periods. Likewise, it is possible in a single round to apply for one or more residencies and a scholarship, although each must be applied for separately. The jury will evaluate all applications and, due to the high volume of applications, will generally recommend either a project scholarship or a residency.
- What is meant by »living and working in Berlin«?
- In the Scholarship programme, Musicboard funds exclusively musicians and bands who live and work in Berlin. In the case of bands, that means that the majority of band members live in Berlin and make their livelihood here. Residency and creative focus must be verified with residence permits or personal ID (front and back), and for bands with the residence permit or personal ID (front and back) of the applicant band member. In both cases, the nationality of the musician is irrelevant to the funding decision. Anyhow, for non-EU citizens filing an application, it is necessary in addition to the Berlin residence certificate to provide a passport that includes residence permit, duration of stay, and type of work permit. Please note that Berlin residence must be officially verified. Rent contracts etc. are not sufficient for proof of residence. We kindly ask you to refrain from submitting such documents containing sensitive personal data.
- How do I submit my letter of motivation and my artistic resume?
- From 2023, the motivation and artistic resume can be entered into fields in the online application form. Applicants should explain, why they are applying for a project scholarship and what artistic initiative they would like to undertake in the context of the scholarship. In addition, they are asked what they expect to gain from the residency for their own artistic and professional development. The artistic resume is meant to describe the applicants’ artistic career. In the application form, we also ask for milestones in the artistic career in the form of a brief list of artistic milestones such as shows, productions, releases, collaborations, awards and grants. You are welcome to voluntarily provide information about your social position here (e.g. self-description, gender, disability, age, sexual identity) if it plays a role in your artistic identity and your work and you would like the jury to be aware of it.
- How should my cost estimate look? What are own and third-party funds?
- The cost estimate involves a simple listing of project-related expenditures during the time-frame of the project. Expenditures can be for studio rent, production costs, a video team, editing personnel, equipment, cost of living or travel. The individual expenses can be easily listed in the online application form. If single budget items are not yet exactly determined at the time of application, realistic estimates are sufficient. A separate financial plan is not required. For intensive projects, it can be reasonable to contribute own and third-party funds. Own funds are the expenditure of one’s own money (savings, or advance payments from a label) towards an artistic project. Third-party funds are grants from other funding organisations or foundations. For the funding application, neither own nor third-party funds are obligatory.
- What songs can I submit as music samples? Are demos acceptable?
- The music samples should be three songs that represent you and your art. They need not be the newest songs, or the ones that you want to work on during your project. Demos can be submitted. Depending on their quality, it may be wise to provide in addition one or two fully produced works.
- When exactly is the application deadline?
- The application deadline each year for the project scholarships is March 1 at 6 p.m. Until then, applications can be received online and will be posted as received before the deadline. The application is successfully received as soon as it appears in your user profile in the »Submitted Applications« section. We recommend allowing plenty of time for the application and its attachments to upload, and not waiting until the last minute to apply. The upload speed of our servers can decline with increased traffic to the site. If technical problems arise, please make a screenshot, save the application draft and advise us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- What are the selection criteria of the jury?
- The jury makes its recommendations primarily on the basis of the quality of artistic work, the chances of success and the conclusiveness of the proposed project. The project idea should be meaningful for the development and career of the applicant. This can be determined by the applicant’s project description and motivation. A particular focus of the jury is the music samples provided. Funding decisions are made with a view toward building the diversity of Berlin’s music scene. Musicboard and the appointed jury place great value on diversity, inclusion and gender balance.
- When will I be informed of the funding decision?
- The jury’s decision follows the application deadline by 4 to 6 weeks, and applicants are informed by email. Acceptances and declines are sent at the same time. Usually, more applications are received than can be funded, and Musicboard is not obliged to explain its decision. There is no legal entitlement to funding.
- I have received approval for a project scholarship – what’s next?
- After approval of funding, you will receive a scholarship contract. If in the meantime you have moved, Musicboard must be informed immediately. The scholarship contract must be signed by the recipient, accompanied by bank account details, and it must be returned to Musicboard. Once all documents are received by Musicboard, the scholarship will be turned over to the recipient. If you wish to receive the money later in the year of funding, please inform Musicboard. It is not possible to deliver the funds after December 31. The monies must be used within the year of funding. If you wish to make changes in your project, that is possible as long as the scholarship, as always, is exclusively used for artistic purposes and for the continued development of the musician or band. Musicboard’s scholarship is purpose-specific – for questions about the taxation of scholarships, the website of touring artists may be helpful.
- What do I need to consider in my PR in regards to the scholarship?
- Our contractual agreement specifies that in any project-related analog or digital release during the timeframe of the scholarship, the funding by, the logo of and the name of Musicboard Berlin must be all be indicated. The relevant logo can be found under Forms and Templates. The preferred wording is »funded by Musicboard Berlin GmbH«.
- By when do I have to implement my project and how much proof do I have to submit to the Musicboard?
- The funded project must be completed within the funding year – in other words, the resources provided must be used by December 31. Proof of the use of the scholarships must be provided in the form of a factual report by March 31 of the following year. Please follow exclusively the template provided for this purpose. The report must not have any statements or receipts attached to it. All information is available to recipients in the scholarship contract.
The application period for 2023 has ended. The next Call for Concepts is expected for mid-January 2024, with an application deadline on 1.3.2024.