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Demo Fund

Independent Music Making
The Demo Fund background
Application details

The Demo Fund is part of the Scottish Arts Council's Youth Music Initiative.

Independent Music Making

Many young people make music unsupervised and independently, perhaps in their bedrooms or garage. Whilst there are a number of support mechanisms for professional musicians, acts, bands and ensembles, there is a lack of support for young people who want to get involved in the music industry and are at the early stages of their musical career.

The Youth Music Initiative (YMI) has some innovative programmes to fill this vacuum including:

  • The Demo Fund
  • Touring & Performing Network
  • Mentoring Scheme
  • Rehearsal Spaces
  • Dan against the wall

    The Demo Fund background

    YMI launched the Demo Fund in January 2009 for Scotland’s recording studios to engage with young musicians and bands of all genres of music to work in a professional recording studio for the first time.

    ‘Being a young band with no money, it is virtually impossible to fund a good quality recording. The Demo Fund allows musicians in this situation to work with a professional producer in a proper studio and to leave with recordings they are proud to put to record labels and promoters.’ Black Rat Death Squad

    The demo fund aims to

    • increase opportunities for emerging young acts to record their first professional demo;
    • allow young acts the opportunity to take the next step in their music careers;
    • create access opportunities to high quality professional resources by alleviating financial barriers which exist for young acts;
    • enable young acts to present themselves professionally to the wider music industry;
    • offer support from, and create better links to, the wider music industry to develop a new generation of musicians;  

    ‘We are very pleased to be participating in this unique and very worthwhile initiative. The Demo Fund allows young bands to work with experienced producers at an early stage in their development. The experience gained along with the resulting demo will no doubt substantially accelerate their careers.’ Chem19

    Studios or organisations can apply for £1000 - £6000 though the Demo Fund to support this work.

    Studios already involved

    The following studios have already received support through The Demo Fund:
    1. Watercolour (Fort William)
    2. Hastie Retreat (Dundee)
    3. Chem19 (Hamilton)
    4. Park Lane (Glasgow)
    5. Sub Station (Rosyth, Fife)
    6. Verden Studio (Edinburgh)
    7. Thick Skinned (Penicuik, Midlothian)
    8. Green Door Studio (Glasgow)

    Application details 

    Who can apply

    This fund is open primarily to professional recording studios with a proven track record of working with high class professional musicians, but other organisations are also eligible to apply, for example

    • rehearsal spaces
    • venues
    • local authority arts officers
    • youth or music organisations that demonstrate a strong partnership with a professional recording studio.

    Take a look at our Music links which contain a list of organisations and contacts that could be useful for developing your application and supporting the young musicians you wish to work with. 

    Who can't apply

    This fund will not support professional musicians or musicians who are on the cusp of becoming professional. Therefore, this fund will not support applications that seek to involve young musicians who:

    • are signed to any label or who have professional management representation;
    • are well established and making money through regular public performances;
    • have accessed considerable studio time beforehand and have recorded more than one professional demo;
    • have played any International showcase event;
    • have been on a professionally promoted tour;
    • are over 25 years of age.

    How to apply

    Applications will be accepted any time up until 10 January 2011 but must be submitted at least 4 weeks before project start date. Detailed funding guidelines and applications forms can be downloaded from our Music Funding for organisations webpage. Please read the relevant guidance before filling out the application form.

    For more information about the Demo Fund and Independent Music Making, including application forms and guidelines, please take a look at our Funding for music organisations webpage or email the Scottish Arts Council Youth Music Initiative.

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