The first program, dubbed the Motown Musician Accelerator, will offer individualized coaching, industry introductions and a $20,000 grant to four musicians or musical groups during a 12-week program slated to launch in summer 2019.
The grants can be used to book studio sessions and photo shoots, fund travel to meet industry professionals and collaborators and buy equipment, among other career-boosting activities.
The program will also involve quarterly workshops conducted by industry professionals that will offer information and advice on distribution, booking, touring and songwriting, among other topics. These workshops, which are free and open to the public, will be held at three different locations: TechTown Detroit, Detroit’s Motown Museum and Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California. The workshops will be operated by gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based concierge startup accelerator that helps connect entrepreneurs, artists, investors, universities and corporations.
Music Tech Startup Program
The second program, dubbed the gBETA Musictech program, will see five Detroit-based music-technology startups participating in a free seven-week intensive that will give selected companies the chance to work with successful entrepreneurs, music industry experts, angel investors, venture capitalists, technologists, acclaimed producers, songwriters and influencers to “develop strategies to grow, gain customer traction and pitch investors.”
The Musictech program, which will also be operated by gener8tor, will take place at local “entrepreneurship hub” TechTown Detroit. An additional group of five startups (to be sourced internationally) will take part in the Musictech program at the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, bringing the total of participating companies to 10.
Commenting on the new programs, Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam in a statement: “Detroit has always been a creative hub for new talent and development. With the Motown Musician Accelerator initiative, we have an opportunity to come back to Detroit and highlight the incredible talent that has always existed in their community. Being able to provide the necessary support, funding and programming to help them grow in their careers is an absolute honor for us.”
“This is truly a deep, passion project for me,” added Paul Riser, director of Detroit urban solutions at TechTown Detroit and son of legendary Motown session musician Paul Riser, Sr.: “Being the son of an original Funk Brother, producer and arranger during early days of Motown, I grew up witnessing and experiencing the creation of music that is truly world-renowned and which will forever be the heartbeat of the great city of Detroit. But after observing the unfortunate decrease in investment for creative arts in schools, I’ve strived to not only be a part of the city’s revitalization, but to contribute to a renewed intersection of music, innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Grants are being funded by the Esther Gordy Edwards Family Foundation, Microsoft, Hassan Bazzi and others.
Applications for the Motown Musician Accelerator are being accepted through July 5 at MotownMusicianAccelerator.com. The program starts August 19. Applications for gBETA Musictech are currently being accepted at gBETAmusictech.com. No start date has been announced for this program as of yet.