Tag Archives: mptf

MPTF Celebrates 75th Anniversary at Curtain Up Finale

On September 10, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) at the final 2023 Curtain Up! Live from Broadway concert in Times Square. The tribute recognized MPTF’s work enriching lives and uniting communities through the power of music.

“The MPTF team is so grateful to be recognized by the RIAA and celebrate our 75th anniversary alongside our two fundamental partners, the recording industry and the AFM. The generous financial support of major labels enables MPTF to foster thousands of admission-free live performances each year, which are developed and organized by dedicated local union offices of the American Federation of Musicians,” said MPTF Trustee Daniel Beck.

Funded by RIAA member companies—Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Walt Disney Records—MPTF partners with businesses, chambers of commerce, arts councils, cities, and park programs to fund thousands of in-person and virtual events. It has distributed more than $620 million since 1948, engaging AFM members to perform in live, admission-free events. It also fosters more than 500 Music in the Schools programs, scholarships, and more.

“On behalf of the American Federation of Musicians, I want to thank the MPTF for its outstanding work over the past 75 years. The MPTF has had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of musicians. MPTF funding ensures working musicians are paid a fair wage for live performances as they serve their local communities through live music,” says AFM International President Tino Gagliardi.

Pictured (L-R): VP Business and Legal Affairs of Warner Music Group Melissa Battino, MPTF Trustee Daniel Beck, AFM International President Tino Gagliardi, and SVP Artist Initiatives & Business Administration at Sony Music Entertainment Susan Moultrie.
Dan Beck

MPTF Begins Fiscal Year with Approval of More Than 1,700 Grants

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) 2021-22 fiscal year began with a bang on May 1! After more than a year of COVID-19 isolation, professional musicians were ready to gather again and eager to perform. As the world yearned for an end to the pandemic, the commercial live entertainment industry began gearing up, even without full confidence that the crisis was over.

Based on the expectation that finding co-sponsors for admission-free events would be enormously challenging for union locals, the MPTF announced that it would fully fund all engagements for the first three months of the fiscal year. The MPTF further announced a special 100% grant opportunity for Labor Day weekend events, even though community performances returned to a 50/50 matching grant policy on August 1.

The results of these efforts have been enormous. MPTF approved over 1,700 grants and provided in excess of $1.77 million in the first six-months of the fiscal year, including more than $140,000 over Labor Day weekend alone. 

Those performances comprised:

  • over 350 live stream concerts.
  • grants awarded to 103 locals who pursued them.
  • 484 performances, including 118 live streams, implemented by Canadian locals.

Moving forward, the MPTF will continue to fund live stream grant projects with a cost of $5,000 or less at 100% throughout the winter months, while live audiences may still be restricted in various regions of the U.S. and Canada. This is currently available to all locals within their annual allocation. Funding for locals that have met or exceeded their allocation is determined on a case-by-case basis. The MPTF implemented these various grant policy adjustments to ensure equitable distribution of grant funds, within the overall annual allocation budget of $2.2 million for the current fiscal year.

The MPTF and the entertainment community at large eagerly look forward to COVID-19 finally subsiding. We remain excited to continue our work with locals to explore and help them again benefit from the resources of community co-sponsors with the launch of our new fiscal year beginning May 1, 2022. We have designed and produced MPTF brochures to introduce the benefits of community co-sponsorships; these are available to locals upon request. Additionally, the MPTF is working on plans for new event support materials to promote events on location and online.

The MPTF has also provided a supplemental resource for AFM family members in the form of Music Family Scholarships. The program was initiated during the pandemic. It provided an additional $100,000 in both the current and last fiscal years. Awardees were announced in last month’s International Musician.   

The MPTF’s documentary film, MusicianFest: Never Too Old also received its second film festival laurel via its acceptance by the LifeFest Film Festival, which is dedicated to showcasing films that reinforce the intrinsic worth of innocent human life and the profound significance of each life. We congratulate the many musicians who made the film so special. The film can be viewed on the MPTF website: www.musicpf.org.

With a staff of five and the support of two independent representatives, the MPTF continues to pursue the mission of enriching lives through music and bringing admission-free live music to communities throughout North America. 

MPTF Supports Local 586 Musicians and Arizona Arts Community

Gabriel Bey of Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ), longtime arts promoter and union committee outreach chair, came up with an idea to bolster the Phoenix arts community during the pandemic. With a grant from the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), he and Sandra Bassett, also of Local 586, created a special live-streamed concert series to celebrate the city’s vibrant, diverse music scene.

As president and CEO of West Valley Arts, Bassett was in the perfect position to promote the project. West Valley Arts was already recognized as an inclusive, multidisciplinary organization, which serves a broad audience through public art and education. The new series, “Imprint: The Cultural Sounds of America,” only strengthens their goals. The concerts, which opened in February for Black History Month, celebrated the diversity and multiculturalism of the community by showcasing a variety of local jazz and blues musicians. Live-streamed performances were hosted by the Westside Blues and Jazz Club in Glendale, Arizona.

Bassett says, “It was [Gabriel’s] vision to bring different genres of music to the community and to give musicians a safe place to play during these difficult times.”

Local 586 is one of several intrepid unions that has presented admission-free, live music on the MPTF’s Facebook streaming platform. To date, more than 600 events have been delivered in this manner, bringing the joy of live jazz, chamber, folk, country, and other musical genres to homebound North American audiences during the pandemic. Events can be found on the Music Performance Trust Fund Facebook events page. Funding to present live music via this format will continue even as more in-person events return this year.

Their series wrapped up at the end of April, but Bassett says, “As we move slowly toward some semblance of normalcy—but keeping in mind the challenges still posed by the coronavirus pandemic—we want to be able to provide live performance opportunities with musicians who have been significantly affected by the pandemic.” She adds, “What better to lift our spirits than music?”

Music Performance Trust Fund Announces Grant Budgets for 2021-22 Fiscal Year

In anticipation of returning to a more community-oriented lifestyle and the resumption of traditional live music performances, the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) has significantly increased its grant budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, beginning on May 1. This expanded grant budget comes with some caveats and flexible planning due to the continuation of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on live music performances. This grant budget has been set at $2.2 million, the largest MPTF grant budget in over a decade, and follows a difficult year when locals were only able to seek just under $1 million in grants.

Grants will be available at 100% for livestreaming, MusicianFest, music education, and community events through July 31, 2021. Beginning August 1, community events and music education events for the fall school term will be funded at 50%, requiring a 50% local co-sponsor.  It is anticipated that live music performances, particularly outdoor events, will return to some level of normalcy by that date. The Trust Fund will continue to monitor the impact of the virus for any setbacks or delays in seeing live music flourish again. All funds for all grants, including MusicianFest, will be applied against the local’s allocation. As in past years, this helps locals plan for full use of their allocation over the entire fiscal year. Unused grant funds by non-participating locals will be re-appropriated to help support events that might exceed very small local allocations.

If you are interested in creating an MPTF funded performance, you must contact your union local for approval. The local then applies for each grant against its allocated annual budget. The MPTF does not accept direct grant proposals without the involvement of a local union office.

It is essential for locals to re-engage community co-sponsors, to multiply the impact of MPTF grants, and to re-establish the spirit and intent of the nearly 75-year-old Trust Agreement. The MPTF is supplying digital and hard-copy brochures to help union locals to introduce the availability of MPTF matching funds to bring the energy, vibrancy, and quality of life that live music events can bring back to your area. The Music Performance Trust Fund is planning to continue livestream performances even as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. 

The MPTF has hosted and funded over 500 livestream performances from across North America since June of last year. Musicians and music enthusiasts alike are encouraged to visit the MPTF Facebook page where these performances can be viewed. Please “Like” and “Follow” our page: www.facebook.com/MusicPerformanceTrustFund.

In addition to the local allocations, the MPTF will be continuing the Music Family Scholarship initiative this year, which is open to the immediate family of AFM members. The scholarship grants will be separately funded and will not impact local grant allocation budgets. An announcement to launch this year’s essay scholarship will be forthcoming. 

We look forward to a year when live music returns triumphantly to an audience that is even more appreciative of the musicians who perform it!

If 2020 Gave Us Anything, It Is a Lesson in Adapting

How many times will we say or hear, this week or over the coming months, how happy everyone is that 2020 is behind us? We all know the extreme toll the challenges of the past 10 months have taken on musicians and their families, financially, physically, and emotionally. Although we have not yet escaped the ravages of the virus, and are still running this gauntlet, we may finally be seeing some glimmer of light ahead.

As the Music Performance Trust Fund’s (MPTF) fiscal year began on May 1, and as live music was virtually shut down, we were scrambling to determine if there was any way for us to operate and distribute our grants. The technology and legal issues in establishing a livestreaming platform were unknown to us. Getting answers and developing a process that was as streamlined as possible was daunting. However, the MPTF’s staff has made us proud because of their teamwork, problem-solving, and coordination with union locals across North America. We learned the specifics about streaming licensing and how to use social media platforms effectively. We quickly established an agreeable license developed by the AFM. We brought on extra staffing and expert technical assistance to make it work.

We have participated in and facilitated over 200 livestream performances. It’s still a band-aid, but it is real progress. At this point in our year, 27 locals have sought and received our livestream grants, and have organized and coordinated all these new events. If 2020 gave us anything, it is a lesson in adapting. We congratulate everyone’s efforts to make music and to be safe in doing it!

As we look ahead, we know that patience is going to be one of our biggest challenges. Everyone needs the financial resources. Everyone wants to perform again. Many are struggling.

We hope that musicians and their locals will continue to engage in our streaming events during the coming months. It is no longer a mystery. It is an added grant opportunity that may possibly be there long after the virus is gone. Even as we remain in the throes of this pandemic, the MPTF is preparing itself for our 2021-22 fiscal year, beginning on May 1, 2021. We believe there will be a resurgence of traditional live music performances and a new appreciation and celebration of the meaning, value, and connection between musicians and their audience. The world needs you!

As the faint light at the end of this long, dark tunnel gradually grows brighter, we all need to tell the world that live music is coming back. It will be celebrated. It will be appreciated, and you will be appreciated more than ever. Now is the time to talk to those potential community co-sponsors. Give them the vision of what live music can be again and how they should be a part of it. While we all continue to fight through the worst of this virus and even as some will attempt to cut funding even more, there are new partners out there who will thank you for bringing the confidence of a coming recovery. And the MPTF will be there with greater funding possibilities to leverage those partnerships.

Live music will be the world’s reward. How could we celebrate a renaissance without it?

MPTF Awards 125 Music Family Scholarships

We are all missing live music dearly—and greatly missing those who perform it. Part of the Music Performance Trust Fund’s (MPTF) mission statement reads that we are to “contribute to the public’s knowledge and appreciation of music.” So in these days when it has become a great challenge to provide the MPTF’s resources for professional musicians to perform live and free to communities across North America, we determined that perhaps it would be most fitting to shine a light on our appreciation of those musicians.

How could we recognize and share a small piece of our funding with musicians without them performing? How were music families with college-aged children faring financially in the age of a pandemic? And who better to express the impact of these professional players than the young adults who grew up in their homes, hearing their countless hours of practice, growing up at their rehearsals, concerts, and gigs? 

The idea arose to provide scholarships to students in professional music families. Both the AFM and our record label signatories’ Oversight Committee were immediately on-board with it. We sought to create an initiative that required a meaningful level of talent and mastery, just as our traditional and livestreaming performance grant initiatives do. The challenge for the students of professional musicians, and even the musicians themselves, was to write a 500-word essay that spoke to the experience, challenges, inspiration, and the lessons learned from growing up in a musical household. Our goal was to award 25 first-tier scholarships of $2,000 each and 100 second-tier awards of $500 each. Our plan was to distribute $100,000, if possible.

We had no crystal ball as to how our initiative would be received. Were the potential applicants out there? Could we get the word out through our own resources and through the union locals? The response was gratifying: 185 essays arrived within the six-week acceptance period. They came from 63 different local territories, across eight provinces in Canada and 30 US states. It was fascinating to discover that 96 of these students were following in their parents’ musical footsteps, while the array of career paths included 148 unique fields of study!

While the numbers are striking and impressive, the treasures we discovered were in the powerful words of these students reflecting upon their upbringing and the impact of their parents. They spoke of the countless hours of practice, of the passion, and the pursuit of musical perfection. They reflected upon their uniqueness, and sometimes the social challenge, as offspring of creative parents. They identified the teamwork and dedication that is essential for musicians, and the entrepreneurial skills these challenging careers often require and create. 

We look forward to sharing their words, and hope that you will share them as well. There is a page on the MPTF website (www.musicpf.org/scholarship-awardees) with selected excerpts from these essays. They are inspiring and speak deeply to what personifies a professional musician. We will be exploring the possibilities of sharing their insights through the media in the coming weeks and months. These young men and women make us all very proud … and they are certainly proud of you.

MPTF’s Livestreams Are Happening

The return of the traditional live music business cannot come quickly enough for musicians, music venues, and the people surrounding the entertainment world who derive their livelihood from it. Of course, that also goes for the music lovers who crave great live music experiences.

In March, when COVID-19 brought live music to a standstill, the Music Performance Trust Fund’s (MPTF) grant initiatives came to a screeching halt. As our staff contended with the explosion of the pandemic in New York City, we began to search for alternative approaches to continuing the live music experience and the benefits of our grants. We have proactively supported traditional live performances, while working with union locals to ensure that the events we do fund are done as safely as possible for the public and the musicians involved.

We also began exploring our ability to support livestreaming performances. Working with Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA), we organized three test events in May as we sorted out the application process, AFM scale issues, and copyright licensing restrictions. Spearheaded by Local 77’s vice president, Marjorie Goldberg, these initial concerts featuring just two or three musicians proved that our Facebook platform and the coordination procedures we established could work easily and effectively. Additionally, due to the challenges locals faced in securing co-sponsors during the pandemic, we expanded our grants to cover 100% of the costs.

Although the process for implementing these performances and securing the grants is relatively easy, the participation is still developing. As of this writing, only 15 union locals have taken advantage of the grant opportunity. Meanwhile, we have provided tech coordination and support to help the locals implement the simple process of livestreaming.

As COVID-19 continues without a clear end in sight, fall and winter weather will further restrict traditional live events. With that in mind, we encourage union locals to explore livestreaming opportunities further. Go to our Facebook page and watch a livestream event. The challenges are small, and we have tech support available to help your local to ramp up quickly to create revenue for your members.

The MPTF also launched the Music Family Essay Scholarship program this summer as an alternative means to distribute our resources. Over 180 student applicants have submitted essays highlighting the uniqueness, challenges, advantages, and inspiration that comes from growing up with parents who are professional musicians. Participation has come from a wide range of members in locals across North America. Scholarship awards totaling $100,000 will be announced in the coming weeks, as our judging panel completes its work.

While the COVID-19 challenges have been large and numerous, we applaud the efforts of those who have pursued the resources we have made available. We look forward to a brighter day, when we can again provide our grants in full, without the threat of illness and social distancing restrictions.

Change is Hard; Negotiating Change is Empowering

Throughout the 72-year history of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), the organization has consistently provided two fundamental services. Our support has meant that tens of thousands of free, live musical performances have echoed throughout North America, in small towns and major cities, in schools, in parks, hospitals, senior centers, malls, and wherever people have gathered. The MPTF has also provided fair compensation for those musicians who have brought their talents to their communities. It is quite a phenomenon that, without huge fanfare, tens of millions of dollars have been made available through collective bargaining to make these performances possible. 

The Trust Fund has seen heydays and low moments as it has coursed into its eighth decade. The basic grant-making process has not changed much since the first half-century of its existence. However, digital disruption nearly led to a slow death for the MPTF. Now, that same technology has come back to be the new lifeblood of revenue for our initiatives. Streaming revenue, again sourced through collective bargaining, provides over 95% of our revenue today.

And now, more change has come to force us to seek new avenues of operation. As live music performances came to a screeching halt in mid-March, we have now begun to ramp up free, live streaming performances. These events are organically performed the same as our traditional free live events, just delivered via a live streaming format. 

We have a production coordinator in place to help introduce union locals to our live streaming process, and we have recently named Natilyn Hepburn-Beaty as assistant grant manager. Natty will be available to guide our social media efforts to bring online audiences to these new performances. 

There are still many, many challenges in providing our traditional live event grants, as well as our live streaming grants, as health advisories are changing daily in different parts of the US and Canada. Obviously, our concern is not only for the safety of the audiences, but for the health and well-being of the musicians who are recipients of our grants.   

The MPTF is committed to finding alternative ways to bring our resources to professional musicians. We are currently wrapping up the entry period for our Music Family Scholarships. The application deadline has been extended to August 15, 2020, at 8 PM (ET)/ 5 PM (PT). The application requires a brief essay on the experience of growing up in a musician’s household that we hope will reflect the inspiration and impact of musicians upon their families and society. We hope to share the highlights of these essays later this fall, as we deliver the scholarship funds to dozens of children of professional musicians, and musicians themselves, to aid with college costs.

Change is hard. However, negotiating change is empowering. We still have challenges ahead in bringing our funds to communities across North America. We look forward to our collaboration with union locals to find creative solutions to bringing free, live music to the people.

Music Performance Trust Fund

The Music Performance Trust Fund’s Music Family Scholarship

The Music Performance Trust Fund has announced the MPTF Music Family Scholarship.

OVERVIEW A scholarship fund utilizing the assets of the recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (“MPTF”) and/or its related entity, the Music Performance Service Corp., was established in June 2020 to encourage the children of professional musicians to pursue higher education and to become leaders in their chosen fields. In the first year of such fund, the MPTF intends to grant $100,000 in scholarship funds.

Scholarships will be awarded based on the verification of all required information submitted by each candidate and the strength of each candidate’s essay.

REQUIREMENTS Applicants will complete, verify and submit an application that includes the following:

  • Name of applicant, contact information.
  • Name of high school attended, graduation date, and high school contact information.
  • Name of parent belonging to a local musician’s union, contact information.
  • Name of local musicians’ union officer, contact information.
  • Personal essay of approximately 500-750 words.
  • Applicant signature verifying the truth of all information submitted and authorizing the MPTF to use essays for any appropriate purpose related to the function of the MPTF or the music business agent in general.

MUSIC FAMILY ESSAYS How the experience of being a child of a professional musician shaped the applicant’s perspective? What have been challenges, inspirations, uniqueness of experience, lessons learned? This section will help applicants reveal their unique voice and enthusiasm, self-awareness, aptitude, and commitment for learning and growing. Essays will be judged by a committee consisting of members of the MPTF and other prominent music educators and performers as selected by the MPTF Trustee. Semi-finalists may be asked for additional supporting materials such as photographs, videos, etc. The MPTF reserves the right to utilize written applicant submissions and additional supporting materials for any appropriate purpose. If quotes or images are used, last names may be hidden to retain privacy.

TIMELINE The application deadline is 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at scholar@musicpf.org. Semi-finalists will be selected by September 1, and finalists announced on or about October 1. Recipients will be notified by email and letter.

ELIGIBILITY The child of any member in good standing of a local musician’s union, who is a high school graduate and is planning to attend a college, university, community college or trade school in the fall of 2020, is eligible to apply. The individual does not need to be studying for a music-related degree. Up to two young adults per family may apply, and up to five students from any one local union of the American Federation of Musicians may receive a scholarship; more will be wait-listed and awarded as able. Applications must verify high school completion and acceptance into a trade school, community college, 4-year college or university as a full-time student for the Fall 2020 semester, and an expressed intention to attend at that time.

AWARDS Up to$100,000 in funds will be awarded. Up to 25 individuals will receive $2,000, an engraved plaque and award certificate.Up to 100 individuals will receive $500 and an award certificate. Awards will be made out directly to the student.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact scholar@musicpf.org. To download an application visit www.musicpf.org.

livestream event grant program

Music Performance Trust Fund Looks to Create Livestream Event Grant Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). While traditional live music performances have come to a standstill, we are actively involved in exploring how our grants can once again enrich communities and provide supplemental income for professional musicians. We are going to begin reviewing grant proposals for an extremely limited number of traditional live performances. At the same time, we are going to slowly ramp up a livestream event grant program, primarily through the MPTF Facebook page. We encourage you to ‘like’ our page, so that you are aware of these livestreamed performances.  

We are monitoring how government and healthcare professionals provide guidance to allow public gatherings. This is complicated by the myriad approaches implemented by various local, state, and federal governments. It is further impeded by the changing geography of the virus itself, as hotspots flair in new regions. We anticipate a challenging process ahead in finding a predictable path to providing our funds for live public performances.

We have begun to explore how we can provide grants for livestreaming performances. However, there is still the issue of gathering musicians and considering their health and safety. In addition, there are other complications, including having these live performances blocked if copyrighted songs are pre-recorded, recorded, or archived in any way.

I am hopeful that by the time you are reading this column, we will have quietly supported some initial test streaming performances. The tests are to see how we can manage the production coordination necessary for a quality presentation. It is also to get an understanding of the rules and procedures we will need to implement to make it an efficient and easily replicable process. We are evaluating the legal liability issues and how we can administer livestreams not produced on our own platform. 

Our tests are planned to include solo and duo performances, since we cannot aggregate larger groups of musicians at this point. However, as we begin our attempt to ramp up a meaningful initiative, we anticipate that solutions and expansion will evolve. We will be developing a streaming schedule since we will only be able to stream one event at a specific time. We ask for your patience as we work to continue making our grants available as equitably and widely as possible.

We have a production coordinator on retainer to work with the person handling the livestream tech for the local union. A new assistant grant manager, Natilyn Hepburn-Beaty, is now on staff to assist Vidrey Blackburn and Samantha Ramos. Natty will also serve as our social media manager and manage the livestreaming performance schedule, as well as monitor viewer statistics and work with the locals to create audience awareness.  

Yes, we are still very early in this process. This is going to take some time and a great deal of effort and coordination between the MPTF staff and the locals. We will be issuing more information via email. Know that we are aggressively working on solutions. We look for your help and patience as we build a path to the new normal.