Featured Artists Coalition's Step Up Fund returns with support from Amazon Music

Featured Artists Coalition's Step Up Fund returns with support from Amazon Music

The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has confirmed the return of its Step Up FundFor the third year running, it is supported by Amazon Music. 

The FAC is currently campaigning on issues including grassroots live touring and a more equitable distribution of streaming revenues. Step Up is part of the organisation's support for the creative development of independent artists. 

In total, 2024’s Step Up Fund will provide up to 10 selected artists with a grant of up to £8,000, alongside a broader package of benefits, including a one-year FAC membership and exclusive benefit package, a 12-month subscription to Amazon Music, an Echo device as well as content creation opportunities with Amazon Music. 

Talent that has been part of the programme includes Jalen Ngonda, now headlining London’s Roundhouse; Elkka, who releases her debut album on Ninja Tune in June; and Amie Blu, the latest signing to 0207 Def Jam. 

Other previous awardees through the scheme include Chalk, Aziya, Calva Louise, Declan Welsh & The Decadent West, Tara Lily, Amahla, Nix Northwest, Graft, B-ahwe, Twst, Daniel Casimir, Friedberg, Lvra, Joel Culpepper, Nineteen97, Cherise, Deyah and Vukovi.

Artists can apply for Step Up for any music-related projects over the course of a 12-month period, including recording, content creation, marketing and touring. The fund is only open to artists who do not have an ongoing agreement with a major or large independent record label.

David Martin, FAC CEO, said: “It's an incredibly exciting time to be making and performing music, but the financial pressures faced by artists have never been greater. The entire industry is grappling with this dilemma, but thanks to the continued support of Amazon Music, the FAC's Step Up Fund has demonstrated the positive impact of targeted, early-stage support. We are absolutely delighted with the track record of successes we've established over the last two years of the fund, and look forward to welcoming another diverse cross-section of applicants in 2024."

The FAC's Step Up Fund has demonstrated the positive impact of targeted, early-stage support

David Martin

Laura Lukanz, head of Music, UK/ANZ, Amazon Music, added: “We’re thrilled to be teaming up with the Featured Artists Coalition for a third year in support of the Step Up Fund 2024. The fund serves as a wonderful stepping stone for emerging artists, offering much-needed resources and financial support to propel them to the next level of their careers. The talent and diversity of artists who apply for the fund never ceases to amaze us, and we can’t wait to hear from another remarkable group of artists this year.”

Amazon Music also has a global developing artist programme, Breakthrough, which provides long-term, customised plans for emerging artists during crucial moments in their careers. 

To qualify for the Step Up Fund, artists must be UK-based, aged 18-plus and have released at least three tracks within the last year, achieving a minimum of either 15,000 streams per track or one track with 45,000 streams on a chart-eligible UK streaming service. 

Jalen Ngonda said: “As an artist signed to an independent label with no access to tour support, the Step Up Fund really helped me to play UK and European shows and to set up a campaign in a way that was most impactful. It also allowed us to keep the ticket price affordable. This has been so valuable in helping us build an audience and to grow the fanbase, which culminated in a sold out UK and EU tour, including Koko London in May 2024." 

Amie Blu said: “Step Up is such an amazing resource for artists and it has played a huge part in my career! The fund meant I was able to hold my headline show in November with my full band, as well as a string trio, and just support the whole production. At the time, I was still an independent artist so I felt extremely grateful to have the support from the FAC and Step Up.”

Artists or their managers/team will be able to apply here from Wednesday, May 15.

The submission deadline is 23:59 on Friday, May 31. 

Successful Step Up applicants will be decided by a panel of independent industry professionals, and announced in July 2024. 


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