Music Fund Created By 'Payola' Settlement Makes First Grants
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors announced the first 153 grantees of the New York State Music Fund ("the Fund"), a groundbreaking grant program created by the Office of the New York State Attorney General to make contemporary music of all genres more available and accessible to diverse audiences and communities within New York State. Grants totaling $13 million were awarded to nonprofit groups from Oswego to Brooklyn for programs ranging from hip-hop to new classical music, and jazz to folk music from around the world. The Fund grew out of settlements with major recording companies investigated for violating state and federal laws prohibiting "pay for play" (also called "payola").
"This first round of grants, in its geographic breadth and diversity of exciting programs, represents a significant step in achieving the Fund's goals to enable people all across the state to experience the joy of music, and especially to learn about new forms of music," said Jessica Chao, vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the nonprofit organization that developed and manages the grant program. "The enthusiastic response we received from groups of many sizes and types demonstrates the deep interest in music by people of all ages and backgrounds, and the related needs that remain unmet in many communities. We're pleased to be part of the solution."
The New York State Music Fund published guidelines and criteria and accepted grant applications in a number of categories, including music education and public performances of music by artists working in hip-hop, reggae, fusion, jazz, new classical and folk music of all cultures. Applications related to recording, distribution, or broadcast through traditional and new media were also eligible. Special emphasis was placed on reaching underserved populations and broadening awareness of artists, genres or styles with limited access to commercial broadcast or other mass distribution vehicles. The Fund received a total of 304 applications for its first cycle.
Awards to the 153 grantees represent every region of New York State and range from $15,000 to $750,000. Diverse forms of popular or experimental music, including hip-hop, indie rock, fusion and reggae account for about 37 percent of grants and more than 13 percent celebrate a spectrum of jazz; 30 percent include new classical music. The state's ethnic or racial minority communities are served by 45 percent of the programs, while 47 percent target low-income communities. The Fund's size and emphasis on music of our time set it apart from other arts grant programs.
An Advisory Panel comprised of recognized leaders from a cross-section of the music world evaluated and recommended the applications. The panel included Karen Park Canning, ethnomusicologist and musician; Joseph Dalton, arts reporter and critic; Willie L. Hill, Jr., musician, educator and director of the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Murray Horwitz, radio commentator, songwriter and director of the American Film Institute's Silver Theater and Cultural Center; James Jordan, music publisher and former director of the New York State Council on the Arts' music program; Mike Ross, director of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Mildred Ruiz, singer, actress and playwright; Ray Vega, jazz trumpeter and lecturer at the music conservatory at SUNY-Purchase; and Su Zheng, ethnomusicologist and associate professor of music at Wesleyan University.
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