YouTube Music, a music streaming service, has announced the commencement of the 2021 global Foundry artist development programme with a mission to support independent musicians across the world, helping them build sustainable careers on their own terms.
This year’s cohort, described as the largest global Foundry class of artists to date, features 27 artists representing 14 countries and a broad spectrum of musical heritage, including Bella Shmurda, from Nigeria.
According to Youtube, the programme received the most applications ever this year with a 450 percent increase in the number of applications from 2020. As part of the programme, the artists will receive a grant and seed funding to invest in their content and channel development, access to YouTube partner support and workshops, marketing, social, and press promotion. In addition, artists will have combined access to resources and teams that will enable them to create and launch their music with greater impact and global reach.
Commenting on the development, Addy Awofisayo, YouTube partnerships manager, said artists are navigating a new, increasingly digital industry this year and Youtube is committed to help them to adapt and grow, find new ways to create content, connect with fans, and generate revenue. He added that this year’s foundry class celebrates artists for their courage and reduces barriers to entry.
On his part, Bella Shmurda noted that being an independent artist can mean funding one’s career personally, leading and working with a team to achieve all one’s goals. YouTube Foundry, he explained, is an opportunity to elevate his career. He added that being a part of the programme is a big win for him and his team.
Tems, a Nigerian artist and Foundry alumna described being a part of the project as an amazing experience.
“You get to connect with so many incredible artists and build relationships with wonderful people. It’s an opportunity to grow, and connect more with the world,” she added.
This year, Foundry alumni will be paired with artists from the new class for conversations about navigating the industry on their own terms. Tems will be paired with Bella Shmurda and Enny, an artist from England.
Foundry was launched in 2015 and was initially run as a workshop series at YouTube Spaces. Since 2017, the programme has focused on long-term partnerships with independent artists and expanded internationally. It has supported over 150 developing artists across 15 countries, including breakout alumni like Arlo Parks, Dave, Dua Lipa, Lime Cordiale, Gunna, HARDY, Natanael Cano, Novelbright, Omar Apollo, Rosalía, and Tems.
The list of artists for the Foundry class of 2021 include; Ambar Lucid (U.S), Bad Milk (Columbia), Bella Shmurda (Nigeria), Blessd (Columbia), Cholldspot (Japan), Doul (Japan), Ebhoni (Canada), Enny (England), Fana Hues (U.S), Junior Mesa (U.S), Marina Sena (Brazil), Meekz (England), Paranoid 1966 (Spain), Paris Texas (U.S), Raveena (U.S), Reggie (U.S), Rote Mütze Raphi (Germany), SE SO NEON (South Korea),Seedhe Maut (India), Shygirl (England), Sinead Harnett (U.S), Snail Mail (U.S), SoFaygo (U.S), Sycco (Australia), Tenille Arts (U.S), Tokischa (Dominican Republic),Tuyo (Brazil).