Creative Catalyst: AI in the Music Industry

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million for projects that develop new innovative products and services for the UK music industry. This funding is part of Innovate UK’s Creative Catalyst.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1 million

Opens: 10th Oct 2023

Closes: 22nd Nov 2023

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1 million in collaborative innovation projects.


The aim of this competition is to advance the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) products and services within the global music supply chain which benefits the UK Music Sector.

You must collaborate with industry stakeholders to unlock the full potential of AI applications across the value chain, supporting and uplifting the music industry, and driving long term creative and commercial success.

Collaborators can be international but organisations outside of the UK cannot be funded. Industry stakeholders can also be from within the music industry or from an industry that will benefit the UK Music Sector.

Innovate UK are interested in proposals across the whole music industry including live, recorded and publishing.

Your project must:

  • support the growth of the UK music industry
  • utilise artificial intelligence or enable the use of AI
  • demonstrate a clearly innovative and ambitious idea
  • respond to the changing market conditions and challenges in the global music industry
  • be market ready within 12 months of receiving support
  • demonstrate value for money

Innovate UK encourage applications which partner with organisations within the traditional music industry supply chain, for example, music labels and music venues.

Specific Themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • assistive generative AI as a collaborative creator tool to benefit the value chain
  • opportunities to improve meta data for discovery, for example, deep learning, enabling collaborations across rightsholders, music publishers
  • data integrity for machine learning where data is robust, reliable, and accessible to benefit and address the needs across the ecosystem
  • transparent AI algorithm development with a focus on bias reduction, ethical approaches to content generation and fairness
  • harnessing AI for artist-first creativity and new forms of licensing and artist or fan creativity
  • meaningful fan engagement and new channels of artist or fan communication and monetisation, incorporating AI with other technologies, such as Web3, Gaming, and Metaverse

This is not an exhaustive list. Other innovations utilising AI which can address the fundamental issues the industry needs resolving are welcome.


Your project must:

  • have total costs between £100,000 and £250,000
  • last between 6 and 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results in the UK
  • start by 1 April 2024
  • end by 31 March 2025

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

A business can apply as the lead for multiple applications in the competition, but only one successful project will be funded.

Any organisation can collaborate in any number of applications.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • are not collaborative
  • do not utilise or enable AI
  • do not economically benefit the UK’s music industry
  • focus on sectors and challenges outside of the music industry

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Up to £1 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.