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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Music Grants Awarded by Fund Created by 'Payola' Settlement

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors today announced 218 recipients of the second cycle of grants from the New York State Music Fund, an innovative program created by the Office of the New York State Attorney General to make contemporary music of all genres more available and accessible to diverse audiences and communities within New York state.

Nonprofit groups from more than 75 towns and cities were awarded grants totaling $19 million for programs ranging fromhip-hop to new classical music, and jazz to folk music from around the world.

The fund grew out of settlements with major recording companies investigated for violating state and federal laws prohibiting "pay forplay" (also called "payola").

"The greater number and variety of applications since our first round demonstrate the vitality of this creative sector across the state and the need to level the playing field for all forms of music," says Jessica Chao, vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the nonprofit organization that developed and manages the grant program. "These 218 grants will go a long way toward fulfilling the fund's mission of ensuring that people of all ages, backgrounds and interests have an opportunity to discover new and less familiar performers and artists."

The New York State Music Fund published guidelines and criteria andaccepted grant applications in a number of categories, including music education and public performances of music by artists working in hip-hop,reggae, fusion, jazz, new classical and folk music of all cultures. Applications related to recording, distribution or broadcast through traditional and new media were also eligible. Special emphasis was placedon reaching underserved populations and broadening awareness of artists, genres or styles with limited access to commercial broadcast or other massdistribution vehicles.

The fund received a total of 402 applications for its second cycle. Awards to the 218 grantees represent every region of New York State andrange from $10,000 to $500,000. Diverse forms of popular or experimental music, including indie rock, salsa, electronic, fusion and reggae accountfor almost 37 percent of grants and more than 15 percent celebrate a spectrum of jazz; nearly 25 percent include new classical music. The state's ethnic or racial minority communities are served by close to a third of all programs, while 28 percent specifically target rural communities.

The fund's size and emphasis on music of our time in all its forms set it apart from other arts grant programs. An advisory panel comprised of recognized leaders from a cross-section of the music world evaluated and recommended the applications based oncriteria focusing on artistic merit and community impact.

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