FAQs – Live Music Support Program

Below are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions for the Live Music Support program.

For details on this grant program, including the GUIDELINES, please go to https://mdo.sa.gov.au/mdo-live-music-support-program/



Who can apply?

The Music Development Office (MDO) Live Music Support Program is designed to support South Australian established live music enterprises, which includes dedicated live music venues and event promoters, and professional touring artists and crew. See the Guidelines for a complete list of eligibility criteria.

If you are not eligible for this program, you may be able to apply to the MDO Project Support Grants.


What are the different grants available? How much money can I apply for?

There are two categories available. Category One is for live music venues and event promoters and provides grants through three tiers with limits of up to $50,000 – $300,000, depending on the size of the venue and the needs of the business. Category Two provides grants of up to $50,000 for professional touring artists.


Can I apply for more than one category?

Yes. If you are eligible for both categories, or have more than one eligible business, you can apply to both categories.


Can I submit more than one application in the same category?

Yes. If you have more than one eligible business that have different ABNs, you can submit a separate application for each eligible business. However, each business must be materially different.


Can I apply for both the Project Support Grants and the Live Music Support Program?

Yes. As long as the applications are for different activity, you can apply to both. For example, a venue may apply to the Live Music Support Program for funding to support salary costs but apply to the Project Support Grants to deliver a program of live music events and pay the artist fees.


How are applications assessed?

This is a competitive grant process. Applications are assessed by the Department with input from industry representatives. This panel makes recommendations to the Minister for consideration and approval. Please refer to the Guidelines for details.


How much funding is there in total?

There is $3 million available through the Live Music Support Program.


If successful, will I get all the money that I requested in my application?

In competitive funding rounds, there are usually a greater number of worthy applications than the available funds can support. As such, the assessment panel may choose to offer partial funding to some applicants. You’re encouraged to be as specific as possible with your budgeting for the funding you are applying for.


How do I apply?

Applications will be found via a link on the MDO website’s Live Music Support Program  page. On the page there is a link that will open an online webform. You can enter information directly into the webform and you will be able to upload documents.

Applications will be open from Friday 29 October to 11:59pm on Friday 19 November 2021. Please note, the automated system will not accept late applications and you are encouraged to apply well in advance of the deadline.


Who do I contact if I have technical difficulties?

Contact the MDO for questions on any technical difficulties with the application by phone 08 7320 3337 or email mdo@sa.gov.au.


Can I submit my grant through the Arts SA Grants Portal?

The MDO is not part of Arts SA. The MDO is an initiative of the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science and no longer administers grants through the Arts SA grants portal. Any grants displayed on the portal are NOT issued by the MDO, and contemporary music is likely to be ineligible for Arts SA programs. If in doubt, please contact the relevant Arts SA officer or contact the MDO: 08 7320 3337 or mdo@sa.gov.au.


What do I need to submit?

You will need to submit a completed application form via the web form on the program information page – see the Guidelines for a list of essential information for each application.

You will be required to answer multiple choice and open-ended questions, with specific requests to upload documents or link to your online presence. Please ensure that all web links in your application are active.


Can I link to material on my own Dropbox?

You will not be able to link to files/folders in Dropbox or other online storage systems. Any material submitted in this format will not be accessed or reviewed as part of your application. If these files/folders contain Essential Information as per the Guidelines, your application may become ineligible.


Can I apply for a Commonwealth Funding, APRA AMCOS or Australia Council for the Arts grants and an MDO grant at the same time?

Yes. You are encouraged to seek other income streams, however, the funding  cannot be used to support the same expenses.


If successful, when will I get the funding?

All payments to successful applicants should be complete by end of January. Upon notification, successful applicants will be encouraged to process the paperwork promptly, to avoid delays in payment.


When will I hear back about whether my grant is successful or not?

All applicants, successful and unsuccessful, will be notified of their results by email, and the MDO anticipates notification to occur by end of December. We cannot offer a specific notification date due to the amount of processing involved. If you have confirmation that your grant was successfully submitted, then please wait until you receive the second email with your outcome notification.


Can I apply for this new MDO grant if I already have activity that’s still in progress from a previous MDO grant round?

Yes, as long as you are not applying for expenses that were already covered in your previous grant.


Will there be another round of funding under the Live Music Support Program?

No. This program is specifically to prepare South Australia’s live music industry to be ready for the anticipated reopening of borders and easing of restrictions.


Do I have to make a financial contribution (e.g. matched funding) to the proposed budget?

No. This program does not require a financial contribution.


Do I have to have an ABN to apply?



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

Due to the anticipated high volume of applications, feedback will not be available for applicants unless there was a significant issue (e.g. missing mandatory information, or failure to meet eligibility requirements).


Can I get feedback while I’m writing my application?

You are welcome to contact the Grant Program Manager with questions on the grant program terms and conditions, eligibility, criteria, or assessment process.

Due to the volume of applications expected in a competitive round, staff will be unable to read drafts of applications or take multiple meetings or enquiries from the same applicant.

You are encouraged to ask questions well in advance of the closing date and should expect delays in the week prior to the closing date as staff work to service a high volume of enquiries. You can contact Nicole Turvey on 08 7320 3337 or at Nicole.turvey@sa.gov.au.


Are these grants part of a stimulus package?

Yes. This program is part of the $7 million support package for arts and live music which was recently announced by the Marshall Government.

What if I cannot show a 60% decline in income, can I still apply?

The Music Development Office has support programs available. We encourage you to contact the MDO to discuss these options.


Can I apply for costs that will be expended after 30 June 2022?

No, this program is to support the costs of activities up to 30 June 2022 and you will need to be able to demonstrate that the funding has been spent through your acquittal.


Dedicated Live Music Venues and Music-specific Event Promoters

How do I demonstrate the venue’s capacity?

Applications will be assessed based on the venue capacity shown on your liquor licence.


What constitutes a ‘dedicated’ live music venue?

Venue that’s core purpose is to deliver live music. In the application you will be asked to address how your indoor venue contributes to the South Australian live music ecosystem. You will also be required to demonstrate that 65% of your income pre-COVID-19 was derived from live music.


What is the definition of a music-specific event promoter?

For the purposes of this program a South Australian based music-specific event promoter is a for-profit business that derives more than 65% of their revenue from the delivery of music events and festivals.


To be eligible, I need to demonstrate that I have a proven track record of delivery of events of 10,000+ attendees, what evidence can I submit?

You can submit documentation outlining attendance figures which could include evidence of ticket sales data.


Can not-for-profits apply?

No. This program is only targeted at for-profit companies.


What are some examples of eligible expenses for Venues and Event Promoters?

Eligible expenses for Venues and Event Promoters include operational costs associated with hosting live music, including equipment service and maintenance, marketing, and band engagement fees.

Some examples of eligible of costs include rent, salaries, utilities bills, purchasing of stock, asset or equipment maintenance.

Note, however, that any costs that are arrears are not eligible. The program is to support the cost of future activity.


Are increased costs of services such as insurance eligible?

Offsets to increased costs of services, insurances and similar policy premium caused by the pandemic are eligible.

Feedback from industry highlighted that the impacts of the pandemic had resulted in an increase of certain costs. This funding can be used to offset the increase of costs, such as public liability insurance premiums, where the increase can be demonstrated.


Are salaries for live music staff eligible?

Salaries and oncosts to employ critical staff who are necessary to support the return of live music activity within the business are eligible.

This grant can cover salaries which could include event and bar staff, sound and lighting technicians, or any staff that you can demonstrate are necessary to support the return of live music activity within your business. You can include salaries for yourself if you can demonstrate ongoing salaries were paid prior to COVID-19.


Can I use this funding for personal living expenses e.g. rent, loss of income?

This funding cannot be used towards your living expenses or to pay past debts. This program is specifically for activities that prepare your business to host and deliver live music activity, whether you’re an artists, venue or event promoter. Please continue to check business.sa.gov.au to view other support for our small business community, and for state-wide information about the COVID-19 pandemic please visit SA.GOV.AU.


As a live music venue, can I purchase new PA equipment or other assets with the funding?

You should demonstrate how this equipment is critical to the business to enable the venue to prepare to host live music once restrictions ease. This funding is not intended to support upgrades but is for critical equipment that enable the venue to host live music.


As a live music venue, can I use the funding to support noise attenuation costs?

No, this fund is not intended to support venues that did not previously host live music as a core component of their business, therefore, expenditure relating to noise attenuation is not eligible.



As a live music venue, can I pay artist or creative personnel fees from a Live Music Support Program grant?

Yes. Artists and creative personnel fees are an eligible expense.


Professional Touring Artists and Crew

What is a definition of a professional touring artist?

For the purpose of this fund, a professional touring artist is defined as a registered business with the main activity of the business being to produce and perform original music.

To be eligible to apply, you need to be able to demonstrate that you had interstate and/or international tours cancelled as a result of COVID-19. You also need to demonstrate that prior to COVID-19 you derived 65% of your income from live music.


Does this grant support national and international touring?

Yes, this grant will support regional, national and international tours.


As a professional touring artist, I can demonstrate that I had interstate and/or international tours cancelled, however, I would like to apply for funding to plan and prepare a South Australian tour, would this be eligible?

Yes, this would be an eligible expense. We recognise that preparation to tour interstate or internationally may include undertaking a South Australian tour.


As a professional touring artist, can I use the funding to plan a tour that occurs after the 30 June 2022?

Yes. Although the funding is for activity up to 30 June 2022, this can relate to the preparation of a tour that includes recording and marketing even if the tour commences after the funding end date.


I am touring crew, can I apply?

Yes. If you satisfy the eligibility criteria and can demonstrate future expenses that relate to eligible costs under the program, you can apply.


Who would be defined as ‘touring crew’?

This could include touring sound/lighting technicians and directors, tour managers and roadies. If you are unsure whether you fall under this criteria, contact the MDO.


I am a cover band can I apply?

No. Although we recognise the contribution of cover music to the ecosystem, this fund is intended to support touring professionals who create and perform original music.


Do you fund classical and jazz?

Yes, any genre is welcome to apply to the program as long as it is original music.


I am a DJ, can I apply?

DJs that perform original music on a dedicated stage or in a DJ booth to an audience in a venue are eligible to apply.

The purpose of this funding program is to support artists that make original music and perform for an audience. Wedding DJs or DJs that play in more of a background context (i.e bar DJs or DJs playing background soundtracks at events and venues, to a passive audience) are not eligible to apply.


What constitutes 65% live music activity towards my revenue?

Demonstrated revenue against your ABN that shows you earn more than 65% of your income from live music activity which could include gigs, fees and songwriting royalties.

I am an early career artist how do I show my revenue post COVID-19 if I started earning income post 2019?

As per the eligibility criteria, if you cannot show a 60% reduction in income compared to pre COVID-19, you are not eligible to apply. However, you may be eligible to apply for funding through the MDO Project Support Grants.


Can I upload my music or videos as support material?

For music or video files, you must provide links, not the files themselves.


Where do I link to my music or videos?

Your links should lead directly to a platform that hosts music or video (e.g. YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud etc). If you link to a private page on these platforms (e.g. for unreleased material), make sure you provide the password or access instructions. You will NOT be able to link to Dropbox or folders containing material. Test all links prior to submitting your application. Due to the high volume of expected applications, staff will not have capacity to contact you regarding any broken links.


What are some examples of eligible expenses for Professional Touring Artists and Crew?

Eligible expenses for Creative personnel (inclusive of artists, tour managers, sound and lighting technicians, sound engineers, marketing and publicity services) and crew include costs involved in planning and preparing for tours.

Examples could include salaries for engaging a tour manager and employing crew for the tour. Activity that relates to recording as it links to the preparation of a tour is eligible. If you are paying yourself, evidence that a salary or wage was paid prior to the pandemic will need to be provided.


Costs associated with rehearsals, including artist fees, venue and equipment hire, sound and lighting technicians.

This grant can be used for the cost associated with booking rehearsal space and hiring equipment and contractors for rehearsals.


Costs associated with planning, booking and marketing tours.

Eligible expenses may include booking transport and accommodation, developing marketing materials, and hiring a publicist.