MMF's Accelerator Programme 2021 launches, offers grants up to £15,000 for upcoming managers

MMF's Accelerator Programme 2021 launches, offers grants up to £15,000 for upcoming managers

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and YouTube Music has today (September 15) announced that its Accelerator Programme for Music Managers will return for its third year in 2021. 

The initiative is aimed at increasing the number of sustainable full-time management businesses operating in the UK. Accelerator offers a combination of financial and educational support - including 12-month grants of up to £15,000, alongside expert-led professional development training. 

Applications for the programme open today and will close on Monday October 19.  

Speaking about the launch, Paul Bonham, Accelerator Programme manager at the MMF, said: “Accelerator has made a substantial impact to music managers across all parts of the country, and the programme’s benefits have been even more pronounced in this strange and difficult year. It’s a real privilege to work with the next generation of music industry leaders at such a pivotal time in their lives and, with the backing of YouTube Music, I’m delighted we’ll be back in 2021 to add another cohort of talent to our increasingly successful alumni.”

An official press release stated that, since launching in 2019, Accelerator has benefitted 45 individual managers across England and Scotland, between them representing more than 130 clients including Joy Crookes, Moses Boyd, Nafe Smallz, Henry Brill, Joesef, Steam Down, Shabaka Hutchings, Dream Wife, Poppy Ajudha, IDER, Murkage Dave, Shakka, Glasvegas and Be Charlotte. 

Dan Chalmers, YouTube director of music, EMEA added: “The class of 2020 have shown no limits to their drive, creativity and resourcefulness in spite of incredibly difficult challenges this year. With the music and creative industry facing unprecedented challenges, there has never been a more important time for programmes like Accelerator, which help British artists and managers to grow and thrive. We are delighted to continue creating opportunities for diverse voices in music through our support in 2021 and look forward to seeing what they achieve in the years to come."

MMF claim that in its first 18 months, “Accelerator managers generated an estimated £2.3m for their artists, writers, DJ’s and producers, with notable 2020 successes including a Mercury Prize nomination for Moses Boyd (represented by Koyejo Oloko) and Top 20 albums for Nafe Smallz (represented by Ashley Perry, Ozone Music) and Dream Wife (represented by Tim Hampson, Candy Artists). Elsewhere, Henry Brill secured nine co-writes on Jack Garratt’s Top 10 album Love Death & Dancing, while Phil Gornell completed co-production work on All Time Low’s number one album Wake Up Sunshine (both represented by Pip Newby, Friends Vs Music).

 2020 also saw Nafe and Joy Crookes (represented by Charlie Owen) pass 100k YouTube subscribers, while Ameena Badley (The Ko-Lab) was nominated in two categories at the Birmingham Music Awards and Denise Allan (677 Management) was appointed to the Scottish Music Industry Association advisory group.

The official launch press release stated that “over half of 2020’s intake are based outside London. 38% are female, and 52% are from BAME backgrounds.”

Speaking about the initiative, Koyejo Oloko (Moses Boyd) said: “Thanks to Accelerator for supporting independent managers as both businesses and individuals. The money helped buy me time to strategise and prepare with my artist and invest in myself. I see the programme as the beginning of a long relationship with the MMF that will carry on beyond the Accelerator.”

Ameena Badley, The Ko-Lab (Smugzy Ace, Mowgli, A Class) added: “Accelerator does what it says on the tin. It’s accelerated many parts of my career for me, as well as the network I’ve been able to create and build and work with. The seminars that we’ve had each month have been amazing, and even during COVID we’ve been given the right level of support. I will give props to anyone that’s able to join, and I’ll always be indebted to the programme.”  

Pivoting to an online-only programme in March, this year’s participants have enjoyed more than 30 hours of manager-specific skills courses, with dedicated sessions from the likes of Lyor Cohen (YouTube Music), Tom Windish (Paradigm), Sat Bisla (A&R Worldwide), Rafe Offer (Sofar Sounds), and Chloe Roberts (First Access Entertainment). 

Accelerator’s business support partners have included Music Ally, CMU Insights, Harbottle & Lewis, Smith and Williamson, Simkins, Simons Muirhead & Burton, Music Insurance Brokers and SRLV, while mental health practitioner Samantha Parker Consulting explored areas around artist/manager relationships.  

These sessions have been supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Music Industries Association.   

Tim Hampson, Cannibal Management (Dream Wife, Dry Cleaning, Willie J Healey, Our Girl) said: “In what has been an incredibly difficult year with the loss of touring, it’s still been successful with me overseeing the release of two albums and negotiating new record and publishing deals. Through all this the Accelerator programme has been a brilliant support network, enabling me to grow my business, and providing the confidence to explore opportunities with an understanding like never before. I also know that I will remain part of the MMF/Accelerator family way beyond 2020 which in itself is invaluable!”

Lyle Scougall, Mañana Music Management, (Joesef, Testpress) added: "The MMF Accelerator programme has been a massive help and support network for me and my management career over the past year. The indepth courses, resources and activities have enabled me to expand my skill set into areas I would have never had thought possible - helping me as a manager to better understand the industry, to develop other areas of my business and to grow my roster and company. I would fully recommend the initiative to any music manager who is eligible. It has been a massive help for my career and the team involved are incredibly supportive, passionate and driven to help their fellow managers."

Consulting partners for Accelerator include The Midi Music Company, Small Green Shoots, I Luv Live.

Subscribers can read our full 2019 MMF cover feature here. 

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