Writer/Producer International Songwriting Camps
The International Showcase Fund for Songwriters and Producers can support international writing which are geared towards international collaboration and creative and career progression. We prioritise writing camps which are organised alongside international showcase events and conferences (e.g. SXSW Songs, ADE Writing Camp).
This ISF strand offers grants of up to:
- £1,500 for a songwriter
- £2,500 for a duo
- £3,500 for a trio
- up to £4,500 for a four+ writing/producing team
as a contribution to;
- Per diems (daily expenses)
We can contribute a maximum of 90% of your trip’s overall costs and expect at least 10% of costs to be covered by the artist, manager*, label, publisher, etc.
*Because we recognise the importance of management support at the event, you also can apply for up to £1,000 of support for your manager to attend. This means there is a maximum of £5,500 on offer. Applicants will be asked to detail their manager’s plans, roles and likely export outcomes.
PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR IN REAL LIFE INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING CAMPS DUE TO CURRENT GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE ON INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. THIS WEBPAGE WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY TO REFLECT UPDATES.
- Am I eligible for support from the International Showcase Fund?
- Which songwriting camps are covered by the fund?
- Deadlines and turn-around time
- Can I apply for funding for my manager or crew?
- Applicants with access requirements
- What will I need to demonstrate in my application?
- What is music export?
- How are decisions made?
- Guidance on insurance, Risk Assessments and Covid-19
- How often can I apply for and/or receive ISF support?
- Apply Now
- Are you a songwriter based in the UK?
- Do you write your own music, that is exceptional?
- Have you been invited to take part in a songwriting camp which is geared towards international collaboration and creative and career progression?*
- Have you got a good profile in the UK (i.e. had cuts 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 event (e.g. are you building upon prior success there, or following up on significant buzz surrounding your work in that particular country)?
- Do you have a strong creative case for attending this specific event (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?**
- If you are traveling internationally, have you read and reviewed current travel guidance for your proposed country of travel, and are aware of the current UK government guidance on International travel? Have you also had communication from the event organiser that the event is confirmed to take place? And are you able to liaise regularly with the event organisers?
* We will prioritise supporting songwriters at camps associated with international showcasing and conference events but welcome applications for one-off writing camps. For longer-term songwriting career development, including international activity, see the Writer Producer Fund
** 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 or publisher in the territory you are travelling to, you are ineligible for ISF support and should not apply. If you are unsure, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before applying.
If you answer yes to all of the questions below then you are eligible to apply.
Eligible events are those that have a mostly international music industry audience or delegation. This applies in the current Covid-19 pandemic across International Showcase events, virtual attendance at international showcase events and song-writing camps, and UK events with an export focus and non-UK based music industry audience.
There are over 50 eligible events each year, and for a full list of eligible events and related application deadlines can be found here.
If you have been invited to attend an event and are unsure of its suitability, please email email@example.com.
You can also apply for up to £1000 towards the cost of a manager to accompany you if you are applying for an International Showcase Event which you are attending in real life.
We regret that we cannot cover costs for tour managers or members of crew except if an artist’s disability or accessibility requirements warrant additional support (see additional access needs section for more information)
ISF runs on a rolling monthly deadline due to varying event organiser schedules. Specific deadline dates for key events can be found here.
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, it can take 3 months for some territories. For this reason, 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.
Decisions are made monthly with decisions sent out to applicants on the 3rd Monday of the following month. For example, an application received in January will receive the outcome of their funding application on or by the 3rd Monday of February.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognise that for disabled music creators with access requirements, some proposed activity incurs additional costs, meaning that applicants may require additional grant support.
Music creators with access requirements are advised that:
– When submitting and ISF application, applicants should submit Expenditure and Income breakdowns which do not consider additional access costs.
– At the end of the budget section, you will have the opportunity to detail additional access requirements needs which will be considered by PRS Foundation’s management team.
This is a very competitive scheme, and currently only 45-55% of applicants are awarded funding. For highly competitive events such as SXSW Songs the percentage of successful applicants may be lower. You will therefore need to make the strongest possible case as to why you should be supported. Artists need to be export ready.
You will need to have concrete plans of what outcomes you expect from the showcase/export event and how you will achieve these, such as:
- A clear case that you are export ready including your career successes to date, and why this showcase is important to expand your export potential
- Knowing who you intend to meet with (specific names of people are better than just the companies they represent).
- How you are going to promote yourself before and whilst there
- Stipulating any pre-existing relationships you might have in the country of the event (i.e. music industry executives that specifically want to see your band at the event)
If you are travelling abroad, you will also need to demonstrate a clear understanding of the risks of attending an international showcase in the current climate. This includes:
- Following UK Government and FCO guidelines on travel and quarantine regarding travel to your showcasing territory. Projects which conflict with that advice will not be supported.
- An awareness of the destination territories travel and quarantine information, and their current Covid-19 risk i.e.. Rate of Infection, Lockdown status etc.
- An understanding of the risks involved in attending the showcase, and full confidence in the risk assessments provided by the event organisers.
You will be expected to finance at least 10% of costs of the trip yourself or from other sources. Please be aware that we are not always able to fund you to the full amount that you have requested. Therefore, when budgeting for your trip, please take into account that you might not receive the full 90% that you have applied for.
When allocating funding we seek out the cost of the cheapest possible flights, transfers and accommodation options at the time of decision and use these as benchmarks when assessing budgets laid out in applications.
We recommended you use websites such as Skyscanner, Opodo and Travelsupermarket to find the cheapest tickets and work your budgets out using these prices.
We encourage applicants to make use of the contingency allocation in the budget to cover any increased costs due to Covid-19.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic PRS Foundation will hold all successful grant payments until we can be confident the event will go ahead. We strongly advice that artists refrain from booking travel and accommodation until they are confident the event will go ahead, and are aware of the specific refund policies of their providers.
We will still be running our exceptional circumstances process for grantees whose events are cancelled so that ISF partners can support grantees and make decisions relating to grant support and potential reclaims.
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.
All funding decisions are made by International Showcase Fund partners 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. 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.
For attending at any song-writing camp in the US – such as SXSW – all UK acts must get an appropriate visa. It is your responsibility to process visas and to fully research options as there have been occurrences of musicians being turned away with devastating consequences.
However, following discussions between the Musicians’ Union, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, British Underground, SXSW and others, the received information is that provided you are performing for no fee at official showcases and for purely promotional purposes only, you should be able to enter the U.S. under an ESTA – however after recent reports of artists / bands having their ESTAs revoked unaccountably by the US authorities days before travel we can no longer recommend using ESTA to enter the US to perform at any music showcasing event. We are currently advising people to apply for a B1/B2 visa or, if performing outside the permitted showcase exception, a P or O visa. The B Visa is less costly and time consuming than the O or the P visa.
For information on the ESTA Visa Waiver Programme and / or the B1/B2 visa, please see the latest guidance from the Musicians’ Union and British Underground which includes an advice document to assist the process.
There are advantages to entering the US with on a work visa (e.g. you can play paid shows and unofficial showcases and can take advantage of more opportunities). We therefore recommend researching this process. For information on obtaining work visas for US showcase events, please go to the Tamizdat or Traffic Control Group websites.
We advise applying for work visas at least three months ahead of a US showcase event in order to save money. It is possible to apply closer to the event but costs increase significantly.
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In light of the coronavirus pandemic we advise that all applicants must have understood the associated risks with attending domestic or international events.
You must be confident that the event organiser is taking your health and safety seriously, and you should seek out confirmation and discussion from event organisers on their risk assessment. You should also have a risk assessment in place for yourself and your travelling party. There is good guidance on the Musician’s Union website to support you in developing this.
You should also ensure that you have appropriate insurance in place and have thought through the financial risks of any Covid-19 related cancellations or postponements. You should consider the impact on accommodation, PD’s and/or repatriation and review your insurance cover, and that of the event organisers.
The International Showcase Fund is designed to support an applicant’s first or crucial steps into international territories. As such, we recommend applying for support for the most suitable events and territories for your career level. Because music creators must be invited officially before applying for ISF support, there is no limit on the number of ISF applications you can make per calendar year.
We also accept applications from previous ISF grantees. However, please note that ISF partners may prioritise those not funded previously, and it is less likely that you will be supported for two events in the same territory*. If you have been previously funded to virtually attend an international showcase event, you are able to apply for further in real life activity at the same event in the future. Additionally in light of Covid-19 if you have been awarded an ISF grant to attend an event which was cancelled due to the pandemic you may also reapply to the International Showcase Fund for the same event in future years.
* In exceptional circumstances (i.e. for specialist genre-based events such as Folk Alliance, JazzAhead of Americana Fest), artists may be able to make a strong business case for a second year of ISF support. If you have been invited to return to such an event for a second year in a row, please contact email@example.com before a second application can be made.