Round five of the Youth Music’s Incubator Fund is open for applications until Friday 2nd December at 5pm.

To date, the Fund has provided 800 paid work opportunities for young creatives and £1.3m in wages to 18-25-year-olds.

The impact of the cost-of-living crisis poses a significant threat to the music industry, with 98% of musicians concerned about how the crisis will affect their career.

From the Covid-19 pandemic to the cost-of-living crisis, economic conditions are once again putting the brakes on the creative aspirations of those trying to break into the industry. Many are being forced down a career path that is strictly a means to survive – as opposed to pursuing chances for them to work and flourish in creative roles they are passionate about.

Recognising these challenges, national charity Youth Music has launched the latest round of its Incubator Fund – a fund which exists to create sustainable, meaningful career opportunities for young people aged 18-25.

To date, the Fund has provided 807 paid work opportunities for young creatives, and has put £1.3m directly into the pockets of creatives aged 18-25.

Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, says: “We cannot allow a challenging economic climate to put an end to promising careers. With increased funding and support at every level, aspiring creatives would be better able to securely work within the arts sector. We are committed to helping young creatives break into the industry and develop a career in music. The Youth Music Incubator Fund doesn’t just focus on funding; it gives young people a chance to develop a set of diversified skills, have meaningful experiences, and to pursue career aspirations.”

The latest round of applications is open until Friday 2nd December at 5pm. Grants of £5,000 to £30,000 are available to businesses, collectives, and not-for-profits working in the music industries to incubate new and diverse talent. The fund is available to people in England, Scotland, and Wales and has been made possible by support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Long Division, Wakefield
The Long Division Festival showcases grassroots artists alongside established acts on its festival stages in Wakefield. Having secured funding from the Youth Music Incubator Fund in round two, it was able to employ three young people for 10 months.

This is providing an invaluable opportunity for young creatives to gain experience and take their first steps in the industry. In their new salaried roles, the three creatives are taking on a variety of jobs, primarily working on delivering two city-wide festivals and monthly live events. For Dean Freeman, Director of Long Division, the goal is for young people to have an experience where they can figure out what they enjoy, hone their strengths and develop a strong sense of self on their journey towards a career.

Dean explains: “We need more youth-led culture in this country. I remember seeing The Arctic Monkeys play Wakefield – they were 19 and the promoter was 21 – and they were all doing it off their own backs. We want to support and nurture those kinds of possibilities; the Incubator Fund allows us to do that. We pass on our ideas and experience but we're able to let the young people dictate the direction. We hope that will lead to a new and more inclusive generation of creatives that shape the industry and the country.”

Find out more about how the Fund is supporting Long Division to provide employment opportunities:

Girl Grind UK, Birmingham
Girl Grind UK received a grant from the Youth Music Incubator Fund in its second round, to support sustainable careers for women aged 18-25 often excluded because of their gender or race. The project supports those who are not in formal education or training but aspire to learn about and work in the music industry. With Youth Music’s funding, Girl Grind UK is offering these young women a plethora of experience, skills and advice through work placements, song writing camps and the exciting chance to perform in UK venues.

Namwya from Girl Grind UK explains: “The Youth Music Incubator Fund enabled us to kick-start SHE DON DID IT, an exciting six-month programme packed with workshops, online music business seminars, free studio time, industry placements, song-writing camps, business planning, funding advice, live demo recording, and showcase gigs across the UK. We are grateful to Youth Music for supporting our endeavour to provide underrepresented groups access to creative careers and in helping them to pursue their dreams.”

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, says: “Paid work is more important than ever for young creatives, so we’re thrilled to see players of People’s Postcode Lottery empowering our youth through creating meaningful opportunities in the music industries, helping them to overcome the challenges posed by the cost-of-living crisis. Our players have raised over £1 billion to support important causes, including work that supports our arts, culture & heritage for future generations.”

For more information about the application process for the fifth round of the Incubator Fund, visit