Contemporary Music Grant Program: FAQs


Funding is available through the Contemporary Music Grant Program for South Australian based artists and representatives of artists that are composing and performing original music.

This program is delivered by the MUSIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICE (MDO).


How do I access an application form?

All applications are now submitted online through the Grants Portal. This portal is shared with Arts SA at the moment, and when the Music Development Office grants are open for a round, they will appear in the main list. You must register for the portal before you can submit an application.

I’m a South Australian based artist under 26 years old, is Arts South Australia the best place for me to apply for funding?

If you are under 26 years old, you should first consider funding options with Carclew Youth Arts.   Carclew funds young professional emerging musicians and this is a great place to gain experience in grant applications amongst your peers.

Discuss your funding requirements with them in the first instance as if you apply for funding through the Music Development Office and are successful, you will no longer be eligible for support through Carclew.

Can I apply online with Arts South Australia?

The Contemporary Music Grants Program is delivered by the Music Development Office (MDO). While formerly part of Arts SA, the MDO now sits in a different government department (Industry & Skills). However, for the time being, we share the Grants Portal that Arts SA developed. See the list of open grants here, and contact the relevant Program Officer if you need assistance with login details.

What type of projects can be funded?

CMGP Project grants are available for South Austrlaian Artists and Music Industry.

Categories include: Recording, Marketing, Skills and Music Development, Touring, Festivals and Venues.

Industry can apply for the above categories, and has additional categories for Strategic Partnerships and Pocket Grants.

There are also Organisation grants to support programs that provide pathways for artist and industry development.

Further details on these categories will be available before the next 2019 round.

What’s the difference between Artist Development Grants and Industry Development Grants?

Artist Development Grants provide funding for artist and audience development and the creation of original South Australian music.

Industry Development Grants are primarily aimed at artist representatives.  The program aims to support local music businesses to establish and strengthen sustainable partnerships and collaborative projects that support and develop the careers of professional musicians and contribute to a buoyant SA music sector.

When are the grant rounds?

In 2019, there will be three grant rounds in the Contemporary Music Grant Program.

Round One: Closing date 29 April 2019, for activity that commences after 1 July 2019.

Round Two: Closing date 12 August 2019, for activity that commences after 1 October 2019.

Round Three: Closing date 9 December 2019, for activity that commences after 1 March 2020.

There will be an information session in the lead up to each closing date, so stay tuned.

You need to be planning months in advance when considering grant funding as the closing dates have long lead times.

What does ‘commencement’ mean?

The ‘commencement date’ or ‘eligible start date’ is when the project activity can start to be eligible to use grant funding. Funding cannot be granted retroactively, meaning that activity that takes place before the commencement date is ineligible for funding within an application – you cannot reimburse expenses that have been paid for prior to that date. Please keep this in mind for all activity, particularly recording and touring dates.

What’s the process for assessing applications?

After your application has been submitted, a panel of local artists and industry representatives (approximately three to four people) each receive a copy of your application, along with an assessment sheet for measuring your application against the criteria.  It’s worth noting that when reading your application, some of the key areas that the panel consider are:

  1. Artistic quality
  2. How this grant will help towards you reaching your artistic goals
  3. How well is the project scoped and planned

The panel then come together after a couple of weeks and discuss each application as a group.  After deliberating, the panel makes its recommendations to the Executive Director (Industry, Science and Entrepreneurship) for allocation of the funding.  All applicants are notified on the outcomes by email, prior to the commencement date.

What do I need to submit?

You will need to submit a completed application form via the grants portal – see the relevant Handbook (link in the portal) for a list of Key Application Documents that are required. You will also need to upload quotes to support your budget, letters of support, and an example of your music (your bio and music can be uploaded as links). Please ensure that all web links in your application are active.

Do you fund classical and jazz?

Yes, the CMGP funds all music genres.  However, only projects that involve original music that is composed and performed by South Australian based artists are eligible.

If you are a jazz or classical musician performing or recording arrangements of pre-existing works, please consider funding through Arts South Australia’s Independent Makers and Presenters program.

Can I get feedback as to why my application has not been funded?

There is no formal feedback provided by the Contemporary Music assessment panel, however if you are unsuccessful and you intend to apply again in future, you may contact Elizabeth Reid (Program Manager) to get advice on your new application.

What percentage of applications receive funding?

An average of approximately 40% of applications are successful in receiving funding per round. Please note that the number of applications receiving funding in any round depends on various factors such as quality of the applications, amount being requested in funding, and the total number of applications received. Each round may attract 40-60 applications, and it is a highly competitive process. You are encouraged to attend an information session when available, to get tips on the applications process.

How many applications can I put in per round and how often can I apply? 

You can submit one application per round to the Contemporary Music program, in any one category.

You can apply once in every round if you wish.

Can I apply to two different funding programs?

Yes, you may submit an application to the MDO’s Contemporary Music program and Arts SA’s Independent Makers and Presenters program, if eligible, for different elements of the same project.

You can also apply to the Jon Lemon Artist in Residence Grant Program for the same (or different) project. Please note the dates for this program are separate to the Contemporary Music program.

I’m not certain that my project is eligible, should I apply anyway?

Preparing an application is a lengthy process and while it can be a useful process to go through for planning a project, if you’re unsure of eligibility, please discuss with Elizabeth Reid (Program Manager) prior to preparing an application.

What sort of expenses can I include in my grant application?

This varies depending upon which category you are applying for – please refer to the detailed sections of the Handbooks for each funding category.

Can I get a grant to buy equipment?

No, equipment purchases are not eligible for funding.  However you can include the cost of equipment hire in your application.

Can I get a grant to attend a course?

No, ongoing courses (e.g. TAFE, Certificate programs, or certain multi-session courses offering qualifications) are not eligible for funding.  However, certain masterclasses, exclusive opportunities and/or mentorships may be eligible. When in doubt, please discuss with Elizabeth Reid (Program Manager) prior to preparing an application.

Will I get all the money I ask for?

The Contemporary Music panel quite often part-funds applications.  This is no reflection on the quality of the applications, merely an effort to support as many excellent applications as possible.  However, before offering part-funding, the panel considers your project budget carefully to assess whether you will still be able to do what it is that you’ve applied for funding towards.

If you believe that you will not be able complete your project with only part-funding, you should mention this as a note to your budget.

Do I have to use the budget template in the grants portal?

Yes, you must use the pop up template in the portal. However, you may also upload Budget Notes and a separate spreadsheet as support material.  Please ensure that you clearly outline all expenses and income, and include quotes as supporting material.

What other supporting material should I include with my application?

Most definitely include a copy of your music (preferably via a link), your bio/one sheet, and letters of support (for example from industry peers) if you have some.

What music examples should I submit?

Every applicant should submit some music by the artist that will benefit from the project, to help the panel make an assessment based on artistic quality.

If you are submitting a recording grant, you are required to submit at least 80% of the songs that you intend to record professionally in some demo form.

If you’ve got previous recordings, you may wish to include these too.

In what format should the music be supplied?

Online links to either private and/or public tracks e.g. on Soundcloud are encouraged. Please do not upload multiple, large WAV files. If you provide a link to a private page, include the password somewhere in your application so the panel will be able to access it.

If I get funding, do I have to provide an acquittal, and if so, when?

If you are successful, you enter into a funding agreement with the State Government for your project.  Upon completion of your project you are then required to submit an acquittal within three months of completing your project, which includes an artistic and financial report, including copies of key Tax Invoices.

Can I speak with someone from the Music Development Office about my application?

Yes, we are always happy to talk about your application, however please do this at least two weeks before the closing date. Appointments in person are not taken beyond that point, due to the high volume of enquiries. Please contact Elizabeth Reid (Program Manager).

Do I have to have an ABN to apply?

No, you don’t have to have an ABN, however if you are a professional practicing musician you should consider applying for one.

On the application form, what does Auspicing mean?

In this context, Auspicing is when you require an organisation to handle the financial management of the grant on your behalf if you are successful in receiving funding.

Do I need to provide referees?

The Contemporary Music assessment panel prefers to receive letters of support from your industry peers rather than contacting referees directly.

What is the role of the Music Development Office?

The Music Development Office (MDO) is an initiative of State Government, through the Department for Innovation and Skills, intended to facilitate and support the development of the South Australia’s music industry by supporting both creative and business development.  You can read all about it online at and keep up to date through social media: Facebook, twitter, Instagram, YouTube.