Music Individual Project Funding Expert Panel comments

March 1, 2024 deadline
General Expert Panel comments

Comments made by the panel during the assessment of applications are outlined below. Please note that these comments provide a summary of the panel's assessment and do not necessarily relate to every application submitted to this deadline. The panel does not provide individual comments.

General comments

  • The panel acknowledges there were was a large number of applications that were submitted and found it challenging to fund projects at full eligible amounts. The panel showed support for applications that were well written, provided clear project viability, and had detailed budgets and strong supporting material. 
  • Panelists favoured projects that illustrated artists were committed to a career in music, would have an impact on artist’s career trajectory and/or evolution, would contribute to the Alberta music industry, and had strong community support and involvement. 
  • The panel’s recommendations were reflective of the Alberta music community’s artistic diversity and creative outputs. 
  • For all types of activities, the panel favoured projects that showed thoughtful use of budget resources with specific, and measurable and achievable goals. 
  • For all types of activities, the panel recommends project dates and timelines are consistent throughout documents.
  • The panel recommends that CVs focus on artistic accomplishments. The panel appreciated applicants that were active within their community, including regional, national and/or international performances.
  • The panel recommends project descriptions are laid out using sub-headings and bullet points and applicants are mindful of length. It is best to avoid redundant information over multiple documents.
  • Letters of recommendation are encouraged. It is best to include these letters from industry contacts, rather than from personal contacts.
  • The panel encourages applicants to make use of application writing tip sheet material available on the AFA website when writing and preparing an application. 
  • Applicants are encouraged to articulate the artist’s emotional and/or artistic expressions/motivations to the project.
  • Marketing: Supporting documentation should outline the marketing plan with clear and relevant goals. Focus on how you will achieve those goals, why it is the right time for this project and how this will benefit the trajectory of your career. 
    • Consider if marketing funds are being used efficiently and if it is a worthwhile investment which will help achieve the project goals. Will this effectively reach your target market?
    • If the marketing plan includes social media, the expert panel found it helpful when provided supporting material which showed evidence of current online presence. How will marketing funds help increase viewership on these platforms in a highly saturated market and what will you do to stand out? 
    • Clearly specify other expected funds, grants, revenues and support you plan to receive and if these are guaranteed or pending. 
  • Training: The panel supported applicants who demonstrated a clear vision with realistic goals and expected outcomes for their future post education. 
    • The panel encouraged applicants to not only explain the program of study but to also explain how this program will impact the artist’s career trajectory and how they plan to use their skills and training post education. 
    • Support was also shown for training and post secondary education which would develop new knowledge that could potentially benefit the applicant’s community.
    • The panel showed appreciation for mentorships and/or residencies for music genres that don’t traditionally have a post-secondary stream.
  • Art Production: The panel supported projects that were relevant to the current provincial music market. 
    • The panel expressed the desire to see evidence of engagement and a support network within the community. Elaborate on your production team, labels and collaborating artists as this will help support the viability of your project and gain confidence on your ability to follow through on execution.
    • The panel encourages applicants to consider and clearly explain their goals and how the project will influence their career. What is the impact of the project on both career and within the current music industry? Why is this the right time to be doing the project?
    • Applications with clear timelines and logistics were favoured by the expert panel. Along with explaining the project, applicants are encouraged to include specifics such as who will be recording the project, the full production schedule, expected release dates, distribution methods and other key dates. Break this down and show how the project is being set up for success.
    • If the project is planned to take place outside of Alberta, address how the opportunity will benefit not only the artist’s career but how it will impact and contribute to the Alberta music community.. 
  • Panel members may not be familiar with your specific genre of music or your community. 
  • Keep the overall tone of information and explanations clear and accessible to multiple audiences. When explaining your sound, influences or genre it is not necessary to over elaborate. Keep information relevant and focused on the specific project.


  • The expert panel wants to remind applicants that management fees, agent fees and manufacturing expenses are an ineligible expense.
  • For recording projects, the panel favoured applications that provided details on producers, session musicians etc., and particularly why a producer was chosen. 
  • Expenses that include direct quotes from the contracted source(s) boosts confidence in the project’s budget.
  • Be clear about how you plan to use the funds within your budget, with specific timelines and expected return on investment. Avoid vague budget expenses. 
  • Detailed budget breakdowns are strongly encouraged. This includes any expected revenue, pending funding, and personal contributions.
    • Consider elaborating on plans to complete the project if pending funds do not come through. The panel showed support for applicants they felt were motivated to seek alternative resources should pending funds not be awarded and projects that would have a successful outcome. 
  • Applicants requesting funding for subsistence should provide clear details on monthly expenses (accommodations or rent, daily food allowance, local transportation, and childcare, when applicable). 
    • Be specific. It is helpful to explain what parts of your plan will require subsistence and explanation on how funds will be allocated during this process. 
    • Only apply for a portion of these costs which accurately cover the amount of time spent working on the project.

Support material

  • Panel members encourage applicants to provide high quality demos and ensure instruments and vocals are in tune.