The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) fiscal year ended April 30, marked a huge leap in grant distribution, from $2.5 million to over $3.7 million. This 48% increase was another step in balancing the grant distribution proportionately with annual revenues. Grant funding has grown dramatically since the pivotal 2017 labor agreement between the major record companies and the AFM.

To achieve this distribution goal, we turned the faucet wide open by providing a diverse range of 100% grants, including Juneteenth, Black History Month, and Jazz Appreciation Month events. We also extended the same generous policy for MusicianFest (senior center/assisted living facilities), live-streamed performances, and Music Approval for grants above a local’s allocation will be determined by the grant management team on a case-by-case basis after the local has shown their Several motivated and proactive locals came to us to ask for funding well beyond their established allocation. Fortunately, due to our aggressive approach to expanding grant distribution, we were able to accommodate all grant submissions that were deemed to be quality events for their communities. We had locals who received eight or nine times their original allocation! Along with the expansion of our grant budget, those locals further benefited from the allocations originally designated for the 57 union locals who chose not to apply for MPTF sponsorship.

As we move forward with the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which began May 1, we anticipate that streaming revenue from the recording industry will plateau. However, we expect to maintain, and even carefully exceed, the current level of grant funding and the $3.3 million budget we have established and communicated to each of the 175 AFM locals.

However, no local officer should panic. Please be patient waiting for approvals as the grant management team calibrates the flow of our funds. Now, let’s remember what we have all achieved together this past year. Total events funded increased from 2,545 to 4,039. MusicianFest nearly doubled, from 611 performances to 1,182. Music in the Schools returned to a vibrant level from just 167 to 528 programs.

Our special initiatives proved to be a huge success. It was our first year of spotlighting Black History Month, with 85 performances in February. Juneteenth events were also a first for the MPTF with 72 performances marking that holiday, as well as Emancipation Day in Canada. In its second year as a featured initiative, 575 performances raised the profile of jazz as a beloved American art form throughout North America. Imagine the processing work our grant team has done!

This past year’s achievements also included the full restoration of a scholarship program that the Music Performance Trust Fund launched over 30 years ago. After implementing the Music Family Scholarships in 2020, as a supplementary funding source to AFM union families, the Music’s Future Scholarship debuted in 2022 to provide resources for music students with or without union affiliation.

The MPTF has returned to a level of grant distribution not seen in 20 years. Is there still growth ahead? Yes, and the biggest opportunity is to bring community co-sponsors back to the table. MPTF funds are a tool to leverage local businesses, chambers of commerce, city governments, other arts organizations, and parks commissions to support the value of live Music. It is our collective goal to bring local sponsors back to the table in support of admission-free live performances.