Black Fret is 501(c)3 Public Charity founded in Austin, Texas in 2013 that works to support the creation and performance of local music. We believe local music is art, worthy of community support just like the symphony and the opera have been supported for generations. Our mission is to enable the creation and performance of new music by Seattle’s exceptional local musicians. Our vision is to build an endowed institution capable of sustaining over a million dollars a year in grants to Seattle musicians.
Since its inception, Black Fret has distributed over $1.7M in grants and performance fees to the musicians of Austin. Seattle is Black Fret’s second chapter as they transition to a national model.
Black Fret provides members with a series of unique music experiences where they can witness the best and brightest of emerging local music. Members also participate in a year-long awards process to nominate and vote to determine the allocation of grant dollars in conjunction with a music industry advisory board. Seattle’s first season’s grants will be awarded in January of 2021.
“I love when new/emerging artists are supported! Look forward to seeing how Black Fret Seattle makes their mark in Seattle. I fully support this!” – Mike McCready, Pearl Jam
“As a longtime member of the Seattle music community, I was drawn to Black Fret’s model and the impact it could have to support our region’s musicians” said Black Fret Seattle Executive Director Ben London. “I understand the challenges our musicians face trying to work and live in a rapidly changing city. Without some additional support, one of our most valuable natural resources may evaporate before our eyes.”
Black Fret was founded by Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott, who saw the cultural value of and risk to Austin’s internationally recognized live music scene. “We created Black Fret as music fans. We love the music our city produces and wanted to find a way to support talented, hardworking local musicians while exposing them to new audiences,” said Colin. “Seattle’s music scene is legendary and has been an inspiration to Austin.”
“While the challenges facing local musicians are similar in many great music towns, culturally Seattle was the obvious choice for our second chapter”, said Matt, Black Fret Co-founder. “We’re very thankful for the passionate response from the Seattle music community and are so excited to see our first class of Black Fret Nominees in Seattle very soon.”
“Making a living as a musician may be especially difficult in these times of record label consolidation, sales collapse, and streaming services… (Black Fret) are trying to change that by bringing a symphony-style patronage model to local popular music.” – Forbes Magazine
Seattle bands and performers can bring their music to the attention of Black Fret by completing the form at blackfret.org/listenup. Black Fret members and other constituents such as the Black Fret Seattle Advisory Board and, in future years, musicians who have received Black Fret grants, nominate the musicians and bands to become Black Fret Nominees. As such, musicians are not able to apply for a Black Fret grants themselves but are selected by Black Fret constituents in our annual nomination process. Of course, no submission fee is ever charged to nor are fees of any kind ever collected from musicians by Black Fret.
Artists eligible for Black Fret Seattle nomination and grants are bands or individual musicians that (1) have at least 50% of band members claiming their primary residence on their personal tax returns as being within 100 miles of Seattle, WA, (2) would qualify as a Small Business according to the US Small Business Administration standards for Musical Groups and Artists, and (3) are not immediate family members of the Black Fret Board of Directors.
Your membership allows Black Fret to grow its impact for Seattle music – regardless of the number of events you attend or your level of involvement in the Artist Selection Process. Over the next decade we will fund hundreds of bands and thousands of new songs while building a new Seattle institution capable of supporting the sustained artistic, cultural and economic growth of Seattle and the artists who call our city home.
Please join us in building this legacy.