FAQs – Project Support Grants Program

Below are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions for the Project Support Grants program.

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 (ARTISTS) are capped at $15,000 per grant.
Stream B – Business Development grants (BUSINESSES) 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.


Can I apply for the MDO Project Support Grants program AND the MDO Live Music Support program?

Yes.  If you are eligible for both programs, you can apply in each simultaneously. However, you cannot apply for the exact same expenses in both programs. Click here for details on the Live Music Support program.


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 industry representatives with a local and national perspective. This panel makes recommendations to the Minister for Innovation and Skills. Please refer to the Guidelines for details.


How much funding is there in total?

The MDO Project Support Grants October 2021 round has a total budget of $200,000.


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 are open from Friday 29 October to 11:59pm Friday 19 November 2021. 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 3307 or email mdo@sa.gov.au.  Support for questions, including technical difficulties, will only be available until 5pm on Friday 19 November.


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 contact the MDO: 08 7320 3307 or 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 (October 2021), 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.


What do I need to submit?

You will need to submit a completed application form via the web form http://mdo.sa.gov.au projectsupportgrants/ – see the Guidelines (a downloadable pdf on the webpage) 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, 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.


When do I have to use up my funding for a MDO Project Support Grant?

The MDO will accept applications that outline strategies or plans taking place within the eligibility period: 1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022. If COVID restrictions have the potential to impact your activity, you should keep in mind what information is available at the time that you are designing your project, and consider your activity and timeframe accordingly.


Can I use a MDO Project Support Grant to plan an upcoming tour (e.g. post COVID-19 restrictions)?

Funding in this round supports the preparation of recording or touring that occurs within the eligibility period: 1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022. 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. 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 2022), 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 activity at the recording studio and pay it from January. For tours or event series, expenses relating to performance dates after 1 January 2022 are eligible.


I’m a new artist, am I eligible for funding to write songs and/or record 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 your 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 (ARTISTS), 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 (BUSINESSES) 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 purchase new PA equipment with a MDO Project Support Grant?

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 a MDO Project Support Grant to fund 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.


Can I use a MDO Project Support Grant to pay my staff?

Ongoing salaries are not eligible within this funding. However, activity that supports the proposed “Project” is eligible.  For instance, funding can be used for relevant service fees in the project’s management, production, presentation, or delivery of live original music, e.g. artist, engineer, lighting technician fees. By contract, service fees for ongoing costs are ineligible, e.g. if security is required at your venue regardless of your live music programming/project.


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

Yes. However, if a project’s artist fees are funded by another source, you cannot apply for more funding to increase payment to the same artists. You can however apply for funds to include additional artists (local, interstate, or international artists) in the project, or for other expenses within the project.


Can I apply for an APRA AMCOS or Australia Council for the Arts grant and a Project Support 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 the end of January. Upon notification, successful applicants will be sent paperwork and instructions for payment. Grantees will be encouraged to process the paperwork exactly as instructed by the MDO, as errors in completing the documents may cause delays in payment. The sooner a grantee returns their completed paperwork, the sooner payment can take place.  Generally, payment will be at least 2 weeks from the time the MDO receives the correctly completed paperwork.


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 from mdo@sa.gov.au. The MDO highly recommends applicants adjust their email spam settings to allow correspondence from mdo@sa.gov.au; when in doubt, regularly check your junk folder for MDO emails. The MDO anticipates notification to occur by late 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.


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

You can apply to the MDO for an extension or variation, please contact: mdo@sa.gov.au. You should not begin any alteration to your grant’s activity or use of funding until you have liaised with the MDO.


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

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


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

No, as of April 2020 the MDO Project Support Grants have replaced the Contemporary Music Grant Program.


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

No, you are not obligated to do so, but 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?

No. However, professional practicing musicians and businesses should have an ABN, and you will be asked why you do not have one. Applicants must have at least 6 months professional / operating experience.


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 also be original. There is some scope to include non-SA touring acts for projects involving venue programming and for events (if travel conditions allow), however in most cases the majority of participating artists should be South Australian. If not, 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 and conditions, eligibility, criteria, or assessment process. Due to the volume of applications expected in a competitive round, staff are 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, Grant Program Manager on 08 7320 3307 or at mdo@sa.gov.au.


Are there out of round grant opportunities?

Out of round applications are only accepted for significant projects that are career defining, life changing, time sensitive opportunities that 1) could not have been planned ahead to fit within the normal grant round timeframe, and 2) cannot be postponed until the next grant round. Out of round grants are not for applicants who missed the grant deadline or are simply undertaking a new general project between rounds. The MDO will determine if your project is eligible for an out of round application, which would then be assessed by an industry panel.

If an out of round grant is successful, funding comes from the budget of the next Project Support Grants round, and thus reduces the total pool of funding for that round. As such, the application has to be considered highly competitive, and meet all above criteria, before it is referred to the industry panel for assessment. Referrals to the panel do not guarantee the application’s success. If a grant round is currently in play (ie. up until applicants have been notified of the results), out of round grants will not be considered until the completion of this round. In the case of the October 2021 round, the round will be considered complete in January 2022.


Are there quick response grants?

No. The MDO is not able to offer a quick turnaround on its grants due to the processing involved.


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 MDO Project Support Grant funding for living expenses e.g. rent, loss of income?

No. The MDO Project Support Grant program is designed 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. 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.