Backline Accelerator

Backline's 12-week accelerator program provides coaching, mentoring, industry networking, and grants to cohorts of three musicians and/or bands. It ends with a showcase, where the Backline artists perform for music industry professionals, supporters and community members. 

Milwaukee-area musicians and bands of any genre may apply. A panel of music industry professionals from outside of Milwaukee interview and select the participants. Learn more about our selection process here.

The program is split into three sections:

  1. Create

    • During create, Backline artists create music and content. The Backline team facilitates introductions to potential collaborators, studios, photographers and videographers, and other industry experts for the Backline artists to create with during this phase.

  2. Connect

    • The connect phase provides introductions, resources, and mentorship for Backline artists to efficiently connect with industry leaders locally, nationally, and internationally who can help bolster their careers. Each Backline artist takes a group trip to Los Angeles and New York, and will be connected to experts in the music industry.

  3. Plan

    • During the plan phase, the Backline team works individually with each Backline artist to plan out the next year of their career, focused on driving sustaining revenue and heightening the profile of each Backline artist.


Unlike other accelerator programs, Backline is completely free. Backline requires no equity, fees, revenue or residuals. The four selected Backline artists each receive a $20,000 budget grant to be spent toward their career. Participants work with the Backline team to determine how the $20,000 is spent.

Backline Showcase

Backline workshops

Backline hosts quarterly workshops focused on navigating the music business and how to make money as a musician. Workshops feature local and national industry experts and are be free and open to all. Learn more about our workshops here.

Annual reception where Backline musicians play for an audience of mentors, community members and music industry professionals. The showcase happens at the end of each calendar year and includes all artists from the year’s cohorts.

Backline SUPPOrt

Biweekly blog providing tools and insights to the Backline community. Both current and past blog posts are available to read on our Backline Support page. To submit topics for Backline to cover in future posts, click here.

Green room

Backline curates a biweekly playlist of local music. Each playlist clocks in at about an hour, and will be completely different from week to week. Follow Backline on Spotify, or stream from our website.

Still have questions?

Backline is a Partnership By 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and gener8tor

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Non-profit, listener-supported 88Nine Radio Milwaukee has been part of the community since 2007. 88Nine broadcasts a collection of diverse new music, including at least one song by a Milwaukee artist each hour, and shares stories about individuals making a positive difference in the community. Tune into 88.9 FM or stream the station at


gener8tor is a turnkey platform for the creative economy that connects startups, entrepreneurs, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships focused on entrepreneurs, artists and musicians.

gener8tor is a nationally ranked, gold-tier accelerator in the U.S. as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.