The Program's Objectives
- To document and provide wider exposure for the music of younger, relatively unknown, living American composers
- To develop audiences for contemporary American music through distribution of recorded performances in physical and online media
- To support the production of new recordings of contemporary American music
Who is eligible
Proposals may be submitted by non-profit professional or student performance ensembles, presenting institutions and non-profit or commercial recording companies.
Projects sponsored by universities and similar educational institutions are not eligible. For instances in which a proposal is made in support of an independent professional ensemble in residence at a university, but the ensemble does not have separate 501(c)(3) status, the university may serve as the fiscal sponsor, but the applicant shall apply on behalf of the ensemble.
Any applicant who, as of the deadline date, has one or more Recording Program grants that have been paid but that have not been released within two years after receiving funds will not be eligible to apply for a Recording Program grant, unless the applicant has received a written waiver from the Fund. Please address inquiries to the Grants Manager.
Because this program is extremely competitive, the Fund will not accept multiple proposals in the same round from organizations other than recording companies.
What is eligible
The Fund supports recordings by younger and relatively unknown, living American composers.
Compositions for the proposed recording must be completed by the application deadline.
Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissions to composers.
In general, most grants range between $1,000.00 and $5,000. The Fund usually contributes considerably less than half the total costs of a recording. In your request, you may apply for recording costs, production costs, or post-production costs.
The fund tends to collaborate with smaller recording companies that specialize in contemporary music.
The Fund expects applicants to pay reasonable and customary compensation for licenses for all performances and other uses of music that they make. Requiring composers or publishers to waive their compensation as a condition of performing or otherwise using their music is not acceptable and will cause an application to be rejected.
Funding decisions will be made by the Alice M. Ditson Fund Advisory Committee. The following criteria will be applied in evaluating grant proposals:
- Quality of the music and the importance of the project to the recorded repertoire, to the composer(s) and to the performer(s)
- Artistic quality and performance history of the performer(s) to be recorded
- Feasibility of the recording project, including financial and other arrangements made with the recording company, timetable for the production and release of the recording, plans for distribution and promotion, and commitment from other funders
- Demonstrated commitment to contemporary American music
How to Apply
If your organization does not already have an account on our site:
You will need to create a new account. We will approve new accounts as quickly as possible, but please allow one business day for approval.
If your organization already has an account on our site:
Log in here. Then click on the "Start Application" button at the top of this page to begin the online application process. You may work on your proposal and save it as you go along. It is not necessary to complete the application in one session.
For record companies submitting more than one project:
- Submit one application for each separate project. Do not combine information from multiple projects into one proposal.
- It will be necessary to submit your Supporting Materials only once.
- Record companies may submit up to 5 proposals per round. Requests to exceed this amount must be approved by the Fund in advance of applying; contact the Fund Administrator for more information.
All applicants must supply the following information:
- Contact information
- For non-profit applicants, a copy of the IRS determination letter confirming tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that the applicant is not a private foundation. Fiscal sponsors are acceptable. If the applicant organization is not based in the United States, the application will require an American fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status. Any awards will be paid to that fiscal sponsor.
- W-9 and Federal tax ID number
- 3-year financial summary
- Distribution plans, record label, project release date, and quantity of first pressing (if physical copies).
- Budget form (download here). You must save data typed into the form using Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC or Mac. Note: Do not use Apple Preview to complete this form, because your data may not calculate or display properly.
- For all works to be recorded, the composer name, title of work, performers, and duration.
- The rationale behind the proposed project.
- If any proposed work is currently available in recorded form, a list of the existing recording(s), and an explanation of why a new recording of the work is desirable.
- The plans and timetable for the proposed recording project, including plans for production, promotion and distribution.
- A detailed statement of the record label's editorial policies and procedures.
- The record label's policies regarding payment of royalties, record deletions, and ultimate ownership of the master tape.
- A brief biography and list of major works of the composer(s) whose music is to be recorded.
- A brief biography (maximum one paragraph) of, and a list of (or link to), contemporary repertoire performed in each of the last two years by the performer(s) and each soloist proposed for the recording. For ensembles, submit the bio and repertoire for the ensemble, not the individual musicians.
- If the project is a video, a brief biography of the producer(s) and director(s) or other related creative personnel, and a list of their major projects, particularly those related to contemporary music.
Audio examples (All audio excerpts should be continuous, uncut excerpts):
Please submit audio excerpts of 3-10 minutes in duration, as follows:
- For each composer, submit up to three contrasting samples of music to be recorded that you feel most fairly represent the works on the project
- For a project of the works of three or more composers: Submit up to a maximum of five samples of which each sample should be music of a different composer. The samples should fairly represent the range of works on the project.
If the project incorporates video, submit a final master or rough cut of the video, if one exists. If video has not been created yet, submit an example that represents the production quality of the person or team primarily responsible for the video element (i.e., the videographer, producer, director, etc.).
Video examples are intended to demonstrate video production quality, not to demonstrate a musical work, and should be submitted in addition to audio examples, not in lieu of them (except in the case of a final master of the DVD, in which video alone will suffice).
- For non-profit organizations only: A list of members of the board and their principal affiliations.
- For all applicants applying with a fiscal sponsor: A letter from the fiscal sponsor, on the sponsor’s letterhead, committing to take financial responsibility for the project, and the sponsor’s most recent audited financial statement.
- A letter of commitment from the record label for the project (only necessary if the applicant is not a record label or is not self-releasing).
- A catalog of the record label's releases or a link to a web site on which a representative selection of recordings can be viewed.
PLEASE SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN
The deadline for applications for each calendar year is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 15. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in or about January of the following year. Please do not contact the Fund for information on funding decisions.
IMPORTANT: You are responsible for complying with all legal and contractual requirements that may apply to the creation of your materials. The Alice M. Ditson Fund hereby disclaims all legal responsibility in connection with your submissions. In case of questions, consult your legal advisor.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") Policy
Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions before starting an application. If your question is not answered there, please contact the Fund Administrator prior to the time of application.
Updated for the November 2022 round
Recording Program FAQs
I am an individual and I run my own record company. May I apply?
In order to be considered a commercial record company for the Fund's purposes, your company must have a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) and a business checking account in your company's name. In addition, you will be responsible for completing annual IRS expenditure responsibility forms if you are awarded a grant.
(Please also see the General FAQs at the top of this page.)
May we apply for more than one project per round?
What should we submit for the project rationale?
This should be the place where you “make the case” for funding your project. Explain why you have chosen to record the proposed works, the significance of your recording, the quality and appropriateness of the performers and recording personnel, and any other information that would assist the panel in its review.
When will decisions be announced?
Award decisions will be announced in or about January of the following year. Please do not contact the Fund for grant decisions.
We are only requesting support for some of the works on the total project (other works have been funded). How do we address this with our works list, samples and budget?
It is not necessary to list the works for which you are not requesting support in the Works to Be Recorded section, nor is it necessary to provide scores or audio samples for these works. Please mention these works briefly in your proposal narrative so that the review panel fully understands the context of the project.
We prefer to see the budget for the entire project, but you may decide to provide us either with the full budget or an abbreviated budget that only covers the works for which you are requesting support. Indicate which of these two options you have chosen in the Notes section of the budget form.
Our project will be ready for release before the Fund announces award decisions. May we apply?
As long as the recording has not been released by the time of the application deadline, you are eligible to apply. We understand that some projects may be released before funding decisions are announced.
I am an individual or an ensemble applying with a fiscal sponsor. Whose information do I use to create the account?
Individuals or ensembles applying with a fiscal sponsor should create the account using their own contact information, not that of the fiscal sponsor.
We would like to apply, but the composer has not finished the piece yet. May we apply with a sketch?
Only works that are complete by the time of the application deadline are eligible for support.
Our project includes the music of American and non-American composers. May we apply?
Yes, but only the music of the living American composers would be eligible for support.
My recording will be distributed digitally online. May I apply?
Yes. Recordings that will be distributed primarily or solely digitally, whether by download or streaming, are eligible. For all projects distributed digitally, grantees will be required to post liner notes and credits on an appropriate page of their web site.
I am an individual (performer or composer) seeking funding for my recording project. (Or, I represent an ensemble without non-profit status.) Can I (we) apply?
Individuals (and ensembles without non-profit status) may not apply directly, but may seek support with the sponsorship of a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. You must submit a letter from the sponsoring organization describing the nature of the arrangement, and undertaking to be responsible for disbursement of funds if a grant is awarded. In addition, you must include the sponsor’s IRS tax-exempt determination letter.
Alternatively, individuals (and ensembles without non-profit status) may request that their record company apply for the project directly. For the Recording Program, record companies may be either non-profit or commercial.