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Applications are due on June 25.

Good news for Milwaukee musicians: 88Nine has launched a new program to help fund local musicians’ projects.

Four artists and/or bands to be chosen for the accelerator program, called Backline, will each receive a $20,000 grant to be used to further their careers. The accelerator aims to help local artists find success through their music, while also providing them with networking opportunities and connecting them with industry leaders throughout the country.

88Nine's Backline

Photo courtesy of 88Nine

Once selected, Backline Fellows will spend between 20-40 hours per week participating in the 12-week accelerator program. Bands are to select one member to participate in the program full-time – the other members will be expected to participate sporadically.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee Executive Director Glenn Kleiman says he and the other 88Nine staffers have two goals in mind for the program.

“The first [goal] is to help musicians elevate their careers. That means a lot of different things to different people,” he says. “To really be artists as opposed to just being a musician on the side.”

“The second goal is for us to help Milwaukee’s image as a more vibrant music city,” he adds. “There’s a lot of competition for young talent … we know through research that cities are more attractive to young people if they have a cooler culture, and we know that music is a big part of that.”

Backline encompasses two components: workshops (free and open to the public) and the $20,000 grant (given to the musicians selected to complete the 12-week accelerator program).

According to Kleiman, the program aims to educate local artists on how to sell their craft in a busy and ever-changing industry.

“If you look at the two parts together, we’re really trying to teach the business of music,” Kleiman says. “We’ve learned through our research that artists are good at creating art, creating their music, but they don’t know how to navigate the music industry.”

Kleiman believes that making music is easier now than it’s ever been, which makes the business side of things much more complex.

“More and more people are able to create music,” he says, because equipment is more accessible than ever, and because musicians can easily share their work with others online. “We’re trying to help them navigate that scene.”

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