1 Pupose 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 Europe
- members of the jury or employees of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe of Berlin or Musicboard Berlin GmbH and their dependents
The following 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
- Statement of Purpose
using no more than two A4 pages, including the presentation and basis of the planned artistic initiative in the context of the scholarship, and when applicable, description of the project partners and verification of collaborations
- Artistic resume
including proof of past performances, releases, and collaborations with other artists (e.g. in the form of web links, graphic documents or screenshots)
- 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 a three-year term, independent jury of Berlin-based pop experts and in consultation with the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. In the fall of 2020 the following jury was appointed to the Scholarships & Residencies programme:
- Elia Rediger
musician and curator of the series ›Aus dem Hinterhalt‹, Deutsche Oper Berlin
- Julia Lorenz
music journalist and writer
- Katja Lucker
Managing Director of Musicboard Berlin GmbH
- Pamela Owusu-Brenyah
A&R, music consultant and curator Pop-Kultur Festival
- Sarah Farina
DJ and producer
A short description of the jury members is available here.
5 Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve collected here some frequently asked questions about Musicboard’s project scholarships. This information is intended for general advice, is not legally binding, and does not take the place of an examination of individual circumstances. 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 provide review of 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. A simple financial plan must accompany the application and must provide a basis for the requested sum. 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’ve 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 a residency and a scholarship, although each must be applied for separately. The jury will evaluate both applications and, due to the high volume of applications, will generally recommend either a project scholarship or a residency. Still, for many projects it is advisable to apply for both types of funding.
- 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 livelihood for solo acts must be established 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. 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 should I structure my statement of purpose and my artistic resume?
- Your statement of purpose should explain, in two pages or less, why you are applying for a project scholarship and what artistic initiative you would like to undertake in the context of the scholarship. To make the project more concrete, you may attach to the statement a description of project partners and verification of your collaboration. Applications without a statement of purpose cannot be considered. We deliberately omit a template for your artistic resume since artistic careers can vary so widely. The presentation can be made graphically, in text, as a biography or in the form of a portfolio. It is helpful to indicate milestones in your artistic career, such as releases, particular performances, awards, residencies, artistic collaborations or co-ventures with partners from the music industry (labels, agents, etc.). To verify these weblinks, graphic attachments or screenshots can be helpful, but they are not necessary in every single instance.
- 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. 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. When no own funds are offered, the application must state the reason why.
- 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 midnight March 1, or 12 a.m. November 2. Until then, applications can be received online and will be posted as received before the deadline. The application is received when after a successful transmission a pdf appears for downloading. Only after a positive jury decision the signed application document has to be sent to the Musicboard by postal service. 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. We do not recommend the use of Google Chrome as a browser. If problems arise with the filing, 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, and when will I be informed of their decision?
- The jury bases its decision above all on the artistic quality of the work, chances of success and the persuasiveness of the application as presented. The project idea should be meaningful for the development and career of the applicant. This can be determined by the applicant’s statement of purpose. 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 inclusion and gender balance. 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 together with the relevant documents 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.
- 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 February 28 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 the year 2021 has ended. Information on the application for 2022 will be announced in January 2022.