MPTF: Want to put together a musical event, but need financing?

EVENT ORGANIZERS: did you know it is possible to hire HMG members/bands to perform at events, often at no cost to your organization?

HMG MEMBERS: did you know you can receive grants provided by the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) for certain types of gigs??

When an EVENT ORGANIZER or an HMG Member identifies and recommends to us an musical event, we explore if the event qualifies for an MPTF grant and, if so, how much funding can be provided. The fund typically subsidizes between 50% and 100% of musician fees in accordance with the HMG Tariff of Fees.

EVENT ORGANIZERS we have worked with over the past year have included (1) the Hamilton Public LIbrary; (2) Business Improvement Areas; (3) HWDSB schools; (4) non-profit/charitable organizations; (5) the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra; (6) shopping malls; (6) religious organizations; (7) seniors’ residences. Event Organizers we would like to work with in the future include Oakville, Burlington, and Milton public libraries, schools and non-profit organizations, local art galleries, and local community groups.

The purpose of the trust fund is to promote “live music” and to provide music where music is the prime purpose for public attendance. See the list of performance types NOT approved below.

The MPTF has been providing grants to help create free music performances for the public’s entertainment and education for over 70 years. Almost all of these events are co-sponsored, as we require the involvement of local participants that include arts councils, symphonic organizations, municipalities, veterans groups, school systems, and healthcare organizations, among others. In certain cases, private business can be a co-sponsor.

MPTF funding is meant to ensure that professional musicians who are performing are reasonably paid on par with the local scale, while ensuring there is no cost to enjoy the music. The idea is to enhance our communities and enrich lives through music. Our co-sponsored events run the gamut of musical styles, from classical and opera to Dixieland, pop, rock, country, jazz, and R&B. Our events often introduce musical styles that are not easily accessible and many times our events come with an educational element to them.

MPTF-funded events are typically held in parks, schools, public halls, as well as in hospitals and at retirement centers – not in night clubs or similar private businesses.

MPTF-funded events must be free of charge and without any conditions for admittance. They cannot be fund-raising events or raffles regardless of the merit. We do not fund performances for conventions, political campaigns, class reunions, commencement exercises, workshops or seminars, or for private clubs. A list of these restrictions and related ones follow this general guide to our grants.

We require grant applications to be submitted at least 60 days prior to the performance. Grant recipients should include MPTF signage in event programs, press releases, websites, posted signs, and other public notifications, along with other event sponsors.

We also look forward to receiving good quality photos and other materials that can help us inform the public of this work and the legacy of events the MPTF eagerly supports. We always welcome ideas and creative opportunities to expand the public and media awareness of these great performances and the work of our partners. We also have printed posters and materials to help enhance the public’s awareness of our participation.

Successful events are considered in evaluating future grants, based on timeliness of the application, overall cooperation, follow up and media support, and the quality of the events themselves.

Recommendations for Projects for MPTF performances of the following types will NOT be approved:

  • When admission is charged or there is a condition for admittance.
  • When donations, before, during and after performances are solicited.
  • For composers’ forums or performances to promote composers’ new works.
  • For a fund-raising activity regardless of the merit, whether for non-profit or private individuals/businesses.
  • For workshops, individual instructions or clinical type performances.
  • For testimonials, proms, mixers, class reunions, commencement or graduation exercises, appreciation or award functions.
  • For conventions, seminars, lectures of any organization.
  • For a selective group – closed membership.
  • For raffles.
  • Where there is a requirement to purchase food or alcoholic beverages.
  • Where an AFM Member acts as co-sponsor.
  • For sectarian, ecumenical or church-connected religious services, feasts or holy days.
  • Where the performance is recorded for commercial use.
  • For live TV or radio broadcasts without the Trustees’ prior approval 10 days in advance of performance.
  • A political rally, parade, meeting, convention, social function or celebration for any political group, any business group or any labour union.
  • Where the expenditure for a performance is deemed excessive by the Trustee.
  • Where the size of the musical group or the type of music is deemed inappropriate for the audience to be serviced.
  • MPTF funds are NOT meant to subsidize any organization which is otherwise capable of adequately paying musicians for an event.

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) was established in 1948 as a nonprofit independent public service organization whose mission includes contributing to the public knowledge and appreciation of music, as well as making music a part of every child’s life experience. Headquartered in New York City, the tax-exempt MPTF, operating under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, evolved from a landmark collective bargaining agreement between the American Federation of Musicians and the major recording companies of the day. Today the MPTF is a vital organization that brings music to the public and supplements the income of musicians, all at no cost to those receiving this precious gift of music.

Funded via a royalty stream from the signatory record labels, led by the three major labels, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and the Warner Music Group, the MPTF today presents thousands of live, admission-free musical programs annually in the United States and Canada. Under the terms of their agreement, the recording companies pay a royalty from the sale of sound recordings to the Fund.

These funds are supplemented by co-sponsoring organizations and administered by a Trustee, who is independent of both the recording industry and the AFM. Music industry veteran Dan Beck, Trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund has taken stewardship over the Fund and its commitment to the cause of free live musical performances, inspiring millions and culturally enriching communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Music of all styles is brought to a total audience numbering in the millions and covering all age groups and segments of society. Music ranging from pop to classical, jazz to Broadway, is staged at venues including (but not limited to) parks, schools, concert halls, shopping malls, veterans’ hospitals, nursing homes and more. The Fund sponsored or co-sponsored over 2,000 free live events in our 2018-19 fiscal year. MPTF performances are never used to raise money, sell merchandise or promote political or religious events.

Working in tandem with union locals in various cities, the MPTF places music in the schools, with priority given to music that enhances education and affords students an opportunity to enjoy live music and interact with professional musicians.

Contact at Local 293, HMG:
Remember though: The HMG is NOT a booking agency; it is NOT our role to “find gigs” for members. We can and will recommend specific members to an Event Organizer when asked, but we do NOT do the hiring and we cannot guarantee what Musician(s) the Event Organizer will hire. Also, when an Event Organizer wants to hire you, you can negotiate a payment with them higher than the MPTF rate. For example, the top MPTF rate for a solo performer is $ 165 a gig; you can ask the Event Organizer for a rate of $ 200, $ 300 or higher. The MPTF will pay you at the MPTF rate, and the Event Organizer will pay the additional amount.

The easiest way to find out if your event is appropriate for an MPTF grant is to seek the assistance of the HMG. We are experienced in the application process and can also be helpful in planning and organizing the musical aspect of your event.

Larry Feudo, Local 293 President