Backline applications for the Fall 2018 program are now closed.
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The Program

Four artists/bands will participate in a 12-week accelerator, operated by gener8tor, in partnership with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. The artists/bands selected will become Backline Fellows.

Each Fellow will receive a $20,000 budget grant to be used towards their career/plan.

The accelerator program will take place August 3-November 17, 2018. It is anticipated that Backline Fellows will spend between 20-40 hours per week participating in the accelerator program. The hours spent each week can be flexible to accommodate the schedule of each participant.


Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be an individual artist* or band** creating original music.
  • Live within the seven-county Greater Milwaukee area (Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties). If a band is applying, 50% of members must live within the seven counties.
  • All participants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Be able to participate full-time in the 12-week accelerator (approximately 20-40 hours per week).
  • Demonstrate a commitment to making a full-time career in music.

* An “artist” is defined as someone who creates original music of any genre – a songwriter, instrumentalist, vocalist, producer.

**A band will appoint one member to participate in the program full time and other band members will be required to participate at certain times of the program.


 

Application Process

In the spirit of being transparent about Backline's process to select the four Fellows, the entire application/review process is outlined below.

 
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  • Phase 1: Narrow to top 100
    • After all applications have been collected, a panel of Milwaukee-based industry experts including engineers, producers, radio program directors, and managers will narrow the applicant pool to the top 100 artists.
    • To remove bias, the panel will include representation across genres, and panelists will not review submissions by artists they have previously worked with. At least two experts will review each submission.
    • This will be done solely based on the music the artists provide in their application, and will be scrubbed to include audio only. If a musician submits a video link, the audio will be detached, and only that link/file will be provided for review. The other questions asked in the application are for data-collection purposes only, or to be used in later rounds of review.
  • Phase 2: Narrow to top 20
    • Backline will curate a panel of industry experts across genres to narrow applicants from 100 to 20. These experts will be sourced from outside of Milwaukee, and include engineers, producers, A&R, DJs, radio program directors, and managers.
    • Again, applications at this stage will be reviewed solely based on the music the artists provide in their application, and will be scrubbed to include audio only. If a musician submits a video link, the audio will be detached, and only that link/file will be provided for review.

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  • Phase 3: Narrow to top 10
    • To narrow applicants from twenty to ten, finalists will respond to a short series of written questions, and participate in a five-hour, in-studio group session with up to four other applicants. If applicants wish to submit additional audio files, they may do so at this point.
    • The studio session will be managed by a studio engineer, a national A&R and the program director. Applicants will be judged on their consistency, leadership, productivity and ambition.
    • A videographer and/or photographer may be present during these studio sessions to gather footage for the Backline program.
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  • Phase 4: Select Backline Fellows
    • A panel of five national music industry experts will narrow the top ten finalists to the the four Backline fellows. Each finalist will participate in an in-person interview led by the panel.
    • The panelists will listen to three audio files per finalist in advance, and will re-listen to one song during in-person interviews with applicant(s) in the room. Finalists will have the opportunity to submit additional audio files before this interview.
    • The panel will select the fellows based on talent, ambition and their ability to be significantly impacted by the program.