Tag Archives: music performance trust fund

MPTF Announces Second Annual Music Family Scholarship

A scholarship fund using the assets of the recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) encourages the children of professional musicians to pursue higher education and become leaders in their chosen fields. This year, the MPTF will again grant $100,000 in scholarship funds to qualified applicants throughout North America.

“The pandemic has hit our profession hard, but live events are returning in 2021,” says Dan Beck, MPTF Trustee. “This year, we are eager to hear from our scholar applicants how the return of admission-free, live music will impact their communities.”

An applicant must be the child of a member in good standing of the American Federation of Musicians, or a member themselves; who is a high school graduate; and is planning to attend a college, university, community college, or trade school in the fall of 2021. 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 AFM local may receive a scholarship. Others will be wait-listed for future scholarships.

Students may apply from May 1 through July 1. To download a fact sheet and application form, visit musicpf.org/scholarship.

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.

MPTF Announces New and Increased Grant Budgets, Urges Grant Use Discretion During COVID-19 Outbreak

The recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) is preparing to launch its 2020-21 grant initiative with the largest increase in local allocations in recent history, nearly doubling the 2019-20 allocation budget of $700,000. However, even as it announces new and increased budgets, the MPTF is urging current grant recipients to use caution and discretion in implementation of their current grant commitments for free, live music performances.

While we will continue to honor our current grant commitments, we also want to assure our many community co-sponsors, as well as the members of the AFM who so ably and artistically implement our free live music initiatives, that we will make every effort to support any events postponed, re-scheduled, or in replacement of events, once the coronavirus outbreak has passed. We urge all of our participants to follow the leadership of their local health and governmental officials in providing the safest environment for the people in their communities.

The COVID-19 health event is happening just as the MPTF is preparing to announce new grant budgets for the fiscal 2020-21 year beginning May 1. The Trust Fund expects to support over 3,000 free live music events in communities throughout North America. The grant budget will feature the largest increase in decades, expanding from $1.2 million to $1.7 million in the year ahead. This substantial expansion of the trust fund’s grant allocations presents a positive challenge for union locals to engage community partners in the development of free live music events for their locality. In anticipation of this growth, the MPTF previously changed its policy from 30% matching funds to 50% matching funds for community grants.

The MPTF-sponsored events include free performances at senior centers and assisted living facilities, music education programs in hundreds of school districts, as well as in parks and other gathering places across the U.S. and Canada.

As we prepare for even greater community impact with our initiatives, we also recognize that this momentum coincides with a current widespread health concern and we urge patience and discretion in scheduling these live events. Live music will be a source of celebration if we act intelligently in the short term. We will be here for the musicians who receive supplemental income from our grants, once the virus subsides, and to proactively re-engage as local health officials deem public events safe.

reginal folk festival

An MPTF Featured Live Event: The Regina Folk Festival

reginal folk festival
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Regina Folk Festival in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Regina Folk Festival’s objective is to preserve and promote the folk arts in its traditional and modern definitions, and to educate the people of Regina as to folk traditions in the arts upon which their lifestyles are based.

Thanks to renewed resources, an important and enduring community event—The Regina Folk Festival in Regina, Saskatchewan—has become a recipient of Music Performance Trust Fund grants in recent years. The connection came through the coordinated efforts of Local 446 (Regina, SK), the Festival’s leadership, and AFM International Representative Allistair Elliott.

regina folk festival

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the two-day, three-night festival that is usually held the second week of August. After various venue changes through the years, Victoria Park has been its home for more than two decades. The MPTF sponsorship supports the free daytime musical events, while ticketing offsets much of the cost for the evening performances.

Similar to many community cultural events, the Regina Folk Festival attracts numerous vendors, as well as providing payments for the professional musicians who perform. The festival attracted 45,000 people this year. The efforts to produce the festivities is facilitated by a small staff, their board members, and approximately 650 volunteers, all under the Artistic Direction of Festival CEO Sandra Butel.

“The festival is one of the highlights of the summer and we’re proud to host an inclusive and diverse event that offers something for all ages and interests,” Butel says.

regina folk festival

The Regina Folk Festival’s objective is to preserve and promote the folk arts in its traditional and modern definitions, and to educate the people of Regina as to folk traditions in the arts upon which their lifestyles are based. Special attention is given to create child-specific entertainment and activities with a dedicated children’s area and stage.

The MPTF is pleased to be a supporter of the Regina community, the musicians of Saskatchewan, and the Regina Folk Festival. Congratulations on using music professionals and the arts to enhance life in Saskatchewan for 50 years!

The Music Performance Trust Fund Is Back!

I am very happy to report that the new revenue stream from online interactive digital distribution bargained by the Federation in 2017 is paying real dividends. A recent report from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund reflects that this revenue is now more than $1.5 million, which translates to an additional $250,000 available for distribution from the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). This new revenue stream has brought the MPTF back from the dire straits in which the fund found itself just a decade ago.

The newly revitalized MPTF is a valuable resource that locals across the country can take advantage of by pursuing projects and partnerships with community organizations for events that meet the guidelines for MPTF grants. Among the possible projects are educational programs, park concerts, and music festivals. Free to the public events are perfect for the mission of the MPTF and offer our locals the opportunity to strengthen relations with diverse constituent groups in their municipalities and regions. 

From an organizational and recruitment perspective, MPTF projects open the door for local officers to connect with musicians performing within their local jurisdiction. They will be able to discover what bands are popular and drawing big audiences in the local clubs and whether or not they have a connection to the union. If not, local officers can provide them with information and guidance about tapping into MPTF resources. This can be an effective introduction to what our union can do for them. By building a local MPTF event, such as a music festival, you are not only creating real relationships with the communities you serve, but also offering meaningful opportunities for local musicians to perform, all under an AFM agreement.

Many public events are funded in part by grants from state and local arts councils. Approaching organizations that rely on such public funding with an offer to bolster their events with musical groups offering diverse styles of music, along with 50% funding for the musicians employed, will get their attention. AFM President Ray Hair’s February 2019 President’s Message in the IM goes into further detail on these types of community-based organizations. I urge everyone to take a look.

The reinvigoration of the MPTF provides all AFM locals with a real opportunity to build bridges and create authentic connections, not only with our communities, but also with the musicians who call those communities home. Regardless of genre—jazz, classical, hip hop, folk, rock or any of the other genres in which our members expresses themselves—nothing brings people together like live music.

I have been asked by President Hair to help connect with locals that may have been missing out on the wonderful resource available to them from the MPTF. My goal is to support your efforts in this regard, whether they involve finding ways to make existing projects fit within MPTF guidelines or developing new and creative initiatives that advance the mission of the MPTF and enhance your local community. Email me at tgagliardi@afm.org. I look forward to working with you to help you remind your communities of this fundamental truth: Live music is best!

music performance trust fund

Recruitment, Retention, and Organizing with a Revitalized Music Performance Trust Fund

If you missed the excellent article by Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) Trustee Dan Beck in our January 2019 issue of the International Musician, entitled “Accelerating the MPTF Mission for 2019,” I encourage you to go back, find it, and read it. Dan’s article can be read together with my June 2018 column about the employment, audience-building, and community recognition advantages that can be realized through smart MPTF programs.

Continue reading

Five Years of Challenging, Rewarding Work—MPTF

Dan Beckby Dan Beck, Trustee Music Performance Trust Fund

In June of this year, I celebrated my fifth anniversary as trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). The time has passed remarkably fast!

When the recording industry’s oversight committee approached me to consider taking the trustee position, I had virtually no knowledge of the trust fund or its initiatives. However, I quickly learned that providing supplemental employment to professional musicians, even in a small way, could impact local communities. The idea of supporting free live performances in parks and public areas, in schools, senior centers, and assisted living facilities spoke to me. Music moves our souls. It unites us. It inspires. It motivates us. The musical arts provide critical nourishment to our humanity.

New Funds Bring Hope

With all the basic goodness that the concept of the MPTF had to offer, there had been years of lament that its days were numbered. The truth was that there had been a 20-year walk-down from the golden era of MPTF grants that reached many a musician’s pockets. That steady free fall began to become more and more accepted as an inevitable tragedy. Fortunately, that was not an acceptable conclusion, and the AFM and the recording industry achieved a labor agreement that has brought a viable path for the MPTF to survive and even grow. Yes, there is a future.

However, the challenge is not just to get our grants. The challenge is to make the most of them! How does it impact your community? How does it create a greater awareness of the importance of the arts? How does it inspire others to get involved? How does the success of one event open the door to more support for the arts in your town? How can you use it as leverage to find more support for live music? How can our funding be leveraged to find new community partners who understand how powerfully live music can change communities? Our hope is that MPTF grants serve as seeds to create activism.

Share Your MPTF Events

We now have more funds to stimulate musical action. It is not the be-all and end-all, but it is a new trajectory. Yes, let’s entertain! Let’s put some extra dollars into some talented, hardworking, and deserving musicians’ pockets! And let’s use those precious funds to grow momentum and community leverage, one event at a time. Use social media. Involve the local newspaper. Invite other leaders from your communities to enjoy the free performance we provide.

The best thank you that we could receive for our grants is to see how they impact your communities. Send us pictures! Show us—not just the musicians performing—but the faces of those who are enjoying it. Show us the crowds, whether it’s 10 people or 100.

Let’s make beautiful noise together!

MPTF Celebrates 70th Anniversary with Upbeat Outlook for Future

by Dan Beck, Music Performance Trust Fund Trustee

As the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) approaches its 70th anniversary, it is gratifying to report that we recently embarked upon a renewed level of sustainability. After weathering nearly two decades of music distribution disruption, and being entirely dependent upon royalties from the sale of outmoded physical products—CDs, tapes, and cassettes—the agreement reached last year between labor and industry has begun to bear fruit for the MPTF.  The trust fund is now benefitting from revenue streams more in-line with current consumer practices, including music streaming.

The challenges for both labor and industry over these past years to find the means to fund the MPTF have been enormous. The sea change in remonetizing music has only become clearer in the past two years. As trustee, I applaud and thank both parties for their continued belief in the MPTF’s value and also for their hard work to reinvent a viable revenue-generating structure to bring us into this millennium. Both parties acted upon our perilous circumstance in good faith and with the immediacy required. AFM President Ray Hair, the AFM International Executive Board, and the AFM team, as well as the officers of the MPTF’s Industry Oversight Committee, Andrea Finkelstein, James Harrington, and their colleagues, have come through for us. The opportunity for a solution only recently surfaced and they seized the critical moment to save the MPTF.

To our own peril, we have held the line of providing a minimum of $500,000 in our general grant allocations, even when the MPTF was rapidly drawing down our reserves to dangerous levels.  Our immediate focus is to secure our stability, rebuild our basic reserves, and assiduously expand our grant budgets.

For the first time in my tenure as trustee, we can reasonably project our revenues for the coming fiscal year. That confidence allows us to begin regrowing the impact of our core initiatives. Our plan is to increase our grant budget from $500,000 to $600,000 for the fiscal year beginning May 1. In addition, we will be adding another $100,000, specifically designated for new educational initiatives. Combined with support from The Film Funds for our MusicianFest senior program, we will be distributing more than $800,000 in the 2018-19 fiscal year, beginning May 1.

While the good news is heartily welcomed, let’s remember that we have a lot of ground to cover in North America. We are definitely not flush with the funds that were the hallmark of a bygone physical product era.

Our challenge ahead is to work hand-in-hand with the AFM to make the absolute most of the new funds we are able to distribute. Our immediate goal is expand our assistance to a number of the locals who fell outside of our ability to provide support for them over these past few years. At the same time, we want to create greater emphasis on music education and musician mentorship. That leadership is desperately needed, and who better to implement it than a Federation that proudly claims a membership that is nearly 40% educators! We are looking to you to share your inspiring ideas, talents, and experience with talented and aspiring musicians of tomorrow.

During these most financially challenging times, I am proud to say that the MPTF staff has worked diligently to significantly streamline our costs and build a cost-effective and efficient grant management system. We are positioned to grow again. We need your patience and we need your help to maximize the impact of our grants in your communities.

Although never a given, the long, downward spiral appears to be at an end. New grant growth is our goal. The MPTF staff will pursue that mission with enthusiasm, tempered with care and common sense. We look forward to sharing the results with the members of the American Federation of Musicians and their communities across North America.

Stars of Lyric Opera

The Stars of Lyric Opera, MPTF Supports Free Concerts in Chicago

MPTF is a sponsor of Chicago’s annual Stars of Lyric Opera, performed at Millennium Park and free to the public.

Now a joyous end of summer musical tradition in downtown Chicago, the Stars of Lyric Opera annual free concert got its start at the turn of the new millennium. In early 2000, Lyric Opera of Chicago announced that it would present its first-ever free outdoor concert the Saturday after Labor Day, in Grant Park. That inaugural concert featured stars of the coming season performing with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus, which was conducted by Maestro Bruno Bartoletti.

“For some time, Mayor Richard M. Daley has been hopeful that Lyric Opera could present a free concert, and we are delighted that we are finally able to do so,” said William Mason, Lyric Opera’s general director at the time. “Thanks to a grant from the recording industry Music Performance Trust Fund, which was arranged by the Chicago Federation of Musicians [Local 10-208], it is now financially possible for us to bring the Chicago public a free concert.”

Lyric’s free preseason concert premiered September 9, 2000, attracting an audience of more than 20,000. It was presented in cooperation with Grant Park Music Festival, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

“The first four Stars of Lyric Opera at Grant Park concerts were in the James C. Petrillo Band Shell, appropriately a venue named for the [former AFM president and] founder of the Music Performance Trust Fund,” recalls William Cernota, who has served 20 years as chair of the Lyric Opera Orchestra Members Committee. He is in his 35th season as a cellist with the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

“In his dual role as trustee and chief executive of both the MPTF and the Film Fund from 1992 until 2013, John C. Hall, Jr., was instrumental in launching these concerts in tandem with Lyric Opera of Chicago,” Cernota notes. “This is a perfect example of how, by providing generous seed money to cover the Lyric Opera Orchestra compensation, the Trust Fund created an ongoing annual series of Chicago concerts that are free and open to the public. These performances stimulate audience members to become subscribers and regular ticket purchasers to Lyric Opera of Chicago.”

Subsequent to the inaugural Stars of Lyric Opera concert in 2000, a number of foundation and corporate sponsors have generously subsidized these free performances over the years, with continuous support from the MPTF. Lyric Opera Orchestra musicians are members of Local 10-208.

The Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park free concert features artists from Lyric’s upcoming season, along with the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra, members of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL).

After a one-year hiatus for Lyric’s heavily-scheduled 50th anniversary season in 2004-2005, the concerts moved to the “new jewel in the crown of Chicago,” Cernota adds, and was renamed the Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park free concerts. Performances take place in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry.

Since 2007, the annual performance has been broadcast live on 98.7WFMT, Chicago’s classical music radio station. Beginning in 2010, the Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park has also been live streamed on www.WFMT.com. Says Cernota, “As a gift to the City of Chicago and the world at large, the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus allow free live radio broadcasts of these performances on WFMT.”

Over the years, dozens of internationally acclaimed and up-and-coming opera stars have performed in these concerts, some in their American debuts. They include Jamie Barton, Johan Botha, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Nicole Cabell, Andriana Chuchman, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Elizabeth DeShong, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Denyce Graves, Nathan Gunn, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Brandon Jovanovich, Jonas Kaufmann, Quinn Kelsey, Mariusz Kwiecień, Amanda Majeski, Ana Marìa Martìnez, James Morris, Eric Owens, Felicity Palmer, Susannah Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Patricia Racette, Sondra Radvanovsky, Christian Van Horn, Deborah Voigt, Amber Wagner, Erin Wall, and Dolora Zajick, among others.

The Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert Friday, September 8, 2017, will be led by Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director and principal conductor since 2000, who has led most of these free performances. Artists from Lyric’s upcoming 63rd season, along with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus, will perform highlights from several of the season’s featured operas.

What a wonderful way to end the summer while building excitement for a new opera season!