International Showcase Fund Guidance and FAQs
The International Showcase Fund offers vital support for artists, bands, songwriters and producers based in England, Scotland, Wales* and Northern Ireland** who have been invited to play an international showcasing festival or conference.and are able to build further opportunities to network and creatively collaborate around these showcase and conference commitments. Grants of up to £5,000 are available to help cover the costs of travel, visas and accommodation.
*Click here to read our guidance in Welsh language.
**Those based in England, Scotland and Wales can apply to the fund when invited to any showcasing event. Artists based in Northern Ireland can apply for support when invited to events taking place in North America and Europe.
The International Showcase Fund is a partnership between PRS Foundation, Department for International Trade, British Underground, Arts Council England, the Musicians’ Union, PPL, Creative Scotland, Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest NI, in association with PledgeMusic.
As well as offering grant support, partners offer advice, guidance and workshops for some events. Associate partner, PledgeMusic provides bespoke advice to any applicant wanting to include Direct to Fan income as part of their showcase budget, as well as ongoing support for ISF grantees.
What is Music Export?
So, you or your band is well on the way to breaking in the UK. You’ve had some success with your releases, toured the country OR have been involved in successful and meaningful writing and studio sessions in your home country and are now eyeing territories beyond our shores to develop your career. In short, you are ready to export your music and explore international opportunities to learn, network and collaborate.
The UK is one of the biggest exporters of new music in the world. Every year our finest emerging talent is invited to key music industry-focused festivals and showcasing events to perform to interested international labels, promoters, agents and publishers or attend conferences delivered by the same.
Although it is crucial for an act to attract and secure deals in territories outside of the UK, these initial forays overseas can be expensive. The International Showcase Fund exists to help cover the costs of these trips, enabling artists to connect with and showcase to their potential next label, promoter, music supervisor, sync agents or potential future collaborators overseas.
Which showcase festivals are covered by the fund?
Eligible events are those that have a mostly music industry audience or delegation. The fund cannot support artists to play at festivals for the general public.
Examples of showcase festivals:
SXSW in Austin, USA
Tallinn Music Week, Tallinn, Estonia
JazzAhead, Bremen, Germany
Mondo, New York, USA
Folk Alliance International, Kansas City, USA
Eurosonic, Groningen, The Netherlands
Americana Music Association Festival, Nashville, USA
NXNE, Toronto, Canada
A3C Hip Hop Festival, Atlanta, USA
Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik, Iceland
Classical Next, Vienna, Austria
Midem, Cannes, France
Rochester Jazz Festival, New York, USA
Am I eligible for support from the International Showcase Fund?
- Are you a band/artist/songwriter based in the UK*?
- Do you write and/or perform your own music, that is exceptional?
- Have you been invited to play at an international event, with a conference element, that is geared towards music industry professionals rather than the general public?
- Have you got a good profile in the UK (i.e. been featured in the national press/had airplay on national radio/and indie release)?
- Do you have a list of meetings with music industry executives (e.g. publishers, labels, agents, etc.) confirmed for when you are at your chosen showcase?
- Do you have a strong business case for attending this specific showcase (e.g. are you building upon prior success there, or following up on significant buzz surrounding your band in that particular country)?
- Do you have a strong creative case for attending this specific showcase or conference (i.e. is there a confirmed pool of relevant and potential collaborators also in attendance or based in the relevant city?)
- Are you in need of funding support and not in a situation where other companies can and should cover the relevant costs of your trip?**
*Those based in England, Scotland and Wales can apply to the fund when invited to any showcasing event. Artists based in Northern Ireland can apply for support when invited to events taking place in North America and Europe.
** Can signed artists apply?
The International Showcase Fund can and often supports artists and music creators signed to record labels, publishing companies and those working with existing team members. However, you will be asked when applying which companies you are working with and why ISF support is still needed and advisors and partners may feel that support is not required. We expect to see contributions from medium-large companies who will benefit financially from the applicant being supported with public and private funding via the International Showcase Fund.
We encourage applications from DIY/self-releasing artists and from those signed to independent labels when still in need of support. If you are signed to a major label or major affiliated label in the territory you are showcasing in, you are ineligible for ISF support and should not apply. If you are unsure please contact email@example.com before applying.
If you answer yes to all of the questions below then you are eligible to apply.
If any of the above doesn’t apply to you, you could still be eligible to apply to one of our other funding options.
There are over 50 eligible events each year. Below is a list of eligible events. We highly recommend the Explore International Music Showcasing Toolkit – an invaluable resource for those considering international events.
If you have been invited to play an event and are unsure of its suitability, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rochester Jazz Festival, New York, USA
Vienna Waves, Austria
Showcase PEI, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Breakout West, Winnipeg, Canada
CBGB Fest, New York, USA
A3C Festival, Atlanta, USA
MaMA France, Paris, Pigalle and Montmartre, France
Amsterdam Dance Event, Netherlands
Tokyo International Music Market, Japan
WOMEX takes place in a different territory each year
SIM Sao Paulo, Brazil
The International Showcase Fund has rolling deadlines due to varying event organiser schedules.
We recommend you apply for funding soon after being invited to showcase in order to give our panel of industry experts and partners enough time to consider your application to turnaround a decision as quickly as possible.
As a rough guide, our experts consider applications 2-3 months before showcase events take place. While the processing of visas is entirely your responsibility, because the process can take 3 months for some territories, we prefer to receive applications 10-12 weeks prior to the event taking place and must receive applications at least 8 weeks prior to the event taking place*.
For highly popular events such as SXSW and Eurosonic, we have set deadlines, listed on our site.
Under certain circumstances (e.g. change of management, a late invite from the event, the artist’s ability to fulfil funding partners’ diversity goals) applicants can submit an Exceptional Circumstances Form for partners to consider time sensitive applications within 8 weeks of an event taking place. To do so, please download and complete this form before emailing email@example.com.
Please note, new applicants and non-funded artists will be prioritised.
All funding decisions are made by International Showcase Fund partners PRS Foundation, Department for International Trade, British Underground, Arts Council England, PPL, Musicians’ Union, Creative Scotland, Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales, in association with PledgeMusic. For high-demand showcase events such as SXSW, a panel of independent music industry experts meets to select artists. Decisions are made based on the criteria stated in our Guidance Pages.
If as an unsuccessful applicant you are unhappy with the funding decision and believe correct procedure has not been adhered to, please see our Grievance Procedure document. Funding partner decisions are final.