FAQs – Project Support Grants

For details on this grant program, including the GUIDELINES, please go to http://mdo.sa.gov.au/projectsupportgrants/





Who can apply?

The Music Development Office (MDO) Project Support Grants program is designed for South Australian artists, songwriters, producers/engineers, record labels, live music venues, promoters, booking agents, recording studios, and other music entrepreneurs, businesses or organisations. See the Guidelines for a complete list of eligibility criteria.


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

Stream A – Creative Development grants are capped at $15,000 per grant.
Stream B – Business Development grants are capped at $15,000 per grant.


Can I apply for more than one category?

No. As an applicant, you must choose between Stream A or B.

However, if you are submitting an application on behalf of someone, e.g. an artist manager writing an application for one of their artists, then the artist would be considered the applicant in Stream A, and the manager would be eligible to apply for a separate project regarding funding for their own management business in Stream B.

If you are a South Australian live music venue you can apply for Stream B in the Project Support Grants program, and the (separate) Live Music Venues Grants program, as long as you are not applying for the same exact expenses in each application.


How are applications assessed? 

It is important to note that while the Music Development Office manages this funding program, it does not determine the final outcomes. Applications are assessed by a panel of industry representatives. The panel prepares funding recommendations for the Minister for Innovation and Skills for approval.


How much funding is there in total?

The MDO Project Support Grants program has a total budget of $320,000. Both Stream A and Stream B applications are assessed within this total sum for the round; there is not a specific amount that is allocated per stream from this total. All applications are assessed on their own merits according to the criteria.


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 of industry representatives may choose to offer partial funding to some applicants.


What if my project can’t proceed unless I get full funding?

You may choose to explain this in your Budget Notes. Similarly, if your project can proceed with part funding, you may choose to state this in your Budget Notes, specifying what modifications you would need to make to your project if it were not fully funded.

If your project is strongly dependent on other pending income sources (e.g. another grant in progress, unconfirmed sponsorship, crowdfunding campaign), you are strongly encouraged to explain this in your Budget Notes, along with your contingency plans if you are unsuccessful in securing these other sources.

Any notes to Budget regarding the above will not make your application more or less likely to be funded. All applications are assessed on their own merits according to the criteria.


How do I apply?

Applications can be found via a link on the MDO website’s Project Support Grants page. This link will open an online webform. You can enter information directly into the webform and in some cases, you will be asked to upload documents.

Applications will be open for three weeks from Wednesday 4th November to 11:59pm on Thursday 26th  November. 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: Emma Bargery, Business Support Officer email | Ph: 08 7320 3337    Support for questions, including technical difficulties, will only be available until 5pm on Thursday 26th November.


What do I need to submit?

You will need to submit a completed application via the web form on the Project Support Grants page. See the guidelines available on that web page 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.


Does my project have to involve new material?

No, your project does not necessarily have to involve new material. For instance, you may seek funding to support marketing activity for an existing product or event. In terms of recording activity, the re-recording of existing material should offer something new, e.g. a new version of your own original work. In all cases, the assessment panel will review whether this type of activity is competitive in the round. You cannot apply for projects that involve strictly cover material, tributes or someone else’s work.


Can I use Creative Development funding to plan an upcoming tour (e.g. post COVID-19 restrictions)?

Funding in this round supports activity that occurs within the eligibility period: 1 January 2021 – December 2021.  Keep in mind what information is available at the time when planning your project.


Can I apply for recording and touring in the same application?

Yes. For Stream A (Creative Development), there are no “categories” for projects. However, in a competitive round, you should be able to strongly demonstrate how each activity within a project supports your goals for career development.


My project has already started, is it eligible?

The MDO cannot retrospectively fund activity (ie. reimburse activity that has already occurred). However, if your project is still in progress beyond the eligible start date for the round (1 January 2021), you can apply for expenses you will incur from that date. For example, if you’re currently recording but won’t be mastering until January, you could apply for funding for mastering. You cannot simply retain an earlier invoice from the recording studio and pay it from January. For tours or event series, expenses relating to performance dates after 1 January 2021 are eligible.


I’m a new musician/band, am I eligible for Creative Development funding to write new songs? What about recording my debut release?

Yes. The application process will offer you the opportunity to submit support material that can speak to your skills, experience and role within the industry. You can apply for recording activity as well, and high-quality demos can be helpful in the assessment process if available. In a competitive round, you are encouraged to only submit support material that shows your strongest work.


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 an application. Due to the high volume of expected applications, staff will not have capacity to contact you regarding any broken links.


Is the purchase of streaming equipment an eligible expense?
Yes, this is an eligible expense in both Stream A and B.

If you’re applying for this equipment in Stream A, you should demonstrate how it will significantly contribute to the creation and/or improved quality of your artistic output during the project. Purchase of equipment or instruments for the sake of it is not likely to be considered a competitive application.

If you’re applying in Stream B, you should demonstrate how this equipment will significantly contribute to your service in offering to support original music, and how this activity develops your business model.


As a live music venue, can I purchase new PA equipment with the Music Business Project Support funding?

Yes.  You should demonstrate how this equipment will significantly contribute to your production, presentation or delivery of live original music, and how it supports your business model.


As a live music venue, can I use Project Support Grant Business Development funding to support noise attenuation costs?

Yes.  You should demonstrate how this equipment will significantly contribute to your production, presentation or delivery of live original music, and how it supports your business model.


As a live music venue, what if I already applied for the Commonwealth Government’s Live Music Australia (LMA) grants to cover some of my live music expenses from January 2021? 

If you have applied for Commonwealth funding to cover the same expenses and both your LMA and MDO applications are successful, you must contact the MDO to seek a variation approval. A variation approval is a variation to use State Government funding for alternate eligible expense.


Do I have to submit my COVID-Safe Plan or COVID-Management Plan as part of the application?

It is your responsibility to be aware of, and comply with, current Government COVID-19 directions and restrictions that apply from time to time (Directions)and take necessary measures to ensure your project activity is not in breach of your legal obligations including, the Directions. If your application is successful, you may be required to report to the Music Development Office/Department for Innovation and Skills on your compliance with the relevant Directions during the funding period. Failure to comply will result in the grant being withdrawn or terminated immediately.


Can I use Project Support Grant Business Development funding to pay my staff?

Yes. However salaries that are already covered by the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper package or any other grant program (e.g. Live Music Venues Grant Program) are not eligible for Project Support Grants funding.


As a live music venue, can I pay artist or creative personnel fees from a MDO Project Support Grant?

Live music venues are eligible for support through the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program, which offers funding for reimbursement of artist and creative personnel fees.

In the Project Support Grants program, venues can only apply for South Australian artist fees and fees for creative personnel (e.g. sound engineer, lighting) in the delivery of live music IF
(1) your venue has not been allocated funding for these expenses through the MDO Live Music Venues Grant Program, or
(2) your venue has reached its funding limit through the MDO Live Music Venues Grant Program, or
(3) the fees are proposed for activity after 30 June 2021


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

Yes. You are encouraged to seek other income streams for your activity. If these other grants are intended to contribute to the same project as your application to the MDO Project Support Grants, you should outline the amount, confirmation and allocation of the grants in your budget. You cannot apply for funding to cover the same expenses as other income sources.


If successful, when will I get the funding?

All payments to successful applicants should be complete by early January. Upon notification, successful applicants will be encouraged to process the paperwork as soon as possible, and read instructions carefully, to avoid delays in payment. Generally there is a 1 to 2 week deadline to return paperwork to the MDO or a funding offer will expire.


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

All applicants, successful and unsuccessful, will be notified by email prior to or on the eligible start date (1 January 2021). 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.


What if I have an MDO grant already but that project can’t proceed as planned now?

You can apply to the MDO for an extension or variation, please contact Elizabeth Reid, Program Manager: email  | Ph 08 7320 3337   You should not begin any alteration to your grant in terms of activity or use of funding until you have liaised with the MDO.


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

Yes. If your existing project will still be active after 1 January 2021 and incur expenses from that date, you cannot apply for the same expenses that the project received funding for in the earlier round.


Will there be a ‘regular’ round of the Contemporary Music Grant Program in this financial year?

No, the Contemporary Music Grant Program was revised to accommodate industry needs due to the impacts of COVID-19 through the development of the MDO Project Support Grants.


Will there be a ‘regular’ round of the Contemporary Music Grant Program next financial year?

The MDO will continue to work to adapt its grant programs according to industry needs, and will consider the most applicable use of funding through its programs.


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

No, you are not obligated to do so. You are encouraged to consider additional funding sources for your project, whether it’s a cash contribution, other grant, sponsorship/partnership, or in-kind goods and services.


Do I have to have an ABN to apply?

Professional practicing musicians and businesses should have an ABN and have at least 6 months professional experience. If you do not have an ABN, you will be able to specify this in your application.


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 you fund classical and jazz?

Yes, any genre is welcome to apply in the MDO Project Support Grants program as long as the project involves original music.


Does the project have to involve South Australian music exclusively?

Only projects that involve original music that is composed and performed by South Australian based artists are eligible for Stream A.  Collaborations with non-SA artists and producers are welcome, but the purpose of the project should be to support an outcome for the participating South Australians artist(s).

Music supported by Stream B applications must be original. There is scope to include non-SA acts for projects, however you should be able to make a strong case as to how the project supports your business model and contributes to the broader South Australian music ecosystem.


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). In competitive rounds, there is generally not enough funding to meet demand. As such, strong and competitive applications may still miss out.


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 & conditions, eligibility, criteria, or assessment process. Due to the amount 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. Contact Elizabeth Reid, Program Manager:  email  | Ph 08 7320 3337


What is considered a strong or competitive application?

MDO Project Support Grants are assessed by a panel of industry representatives who review each application according to the program criteria outlined in the Guidelines. In competitive funding rounds there are usually a greater number of worthy applications than the available funds can support, and thus strong applications may still be unsuccessful.


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

No. The MDO has repurposed our current grant programs to complement existing funding available through Commonwealth and State Governments and ensure the South Australian music industry can continue to develop, create and connect during this time and moving forward. For support in loss of income, rent assistance and any other living expenses we encourage you to review information on the Commonwealth Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic: treasury.gov.au/coronavirus. There is also support available through the South Australian state government at business.sa.gov.au and Centrelink.  Our colleagues at Music SA have collated a list of current resources which include grants and other music industry funding you may find useful.


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 Innovation and Skills, 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 the MDO Ph: 08 7320 3337  mdo@sa.gov.au


Can I access my previous Contemporary Music grants material (e.g. funding agreements, acquittals) through the Arts SA Grants Portal?

At present (November 2020), previous grant recipients are still be able to login to the Arts portal to view their historical documents. In some cases where grants submitted through the portal are still in progress, you may receive automated reminders via the portal regarding the due dates of your acquittals.  In future, all grant administration will take place through a separate system, and you are encouraged to keep copies of important documents in your own files for reference.