A stack of vinyl records

We believe that musicians of all backgrounds and identities should have an equitable chance to build a career in music. 

Inclusive Selection is a process we use to help achieve this. It helps us to make sure that our career development supports the full diversity of musicians in the UK, and therefore helps to increase equity in music overall. 

Inclusive Selection is currently open to musicians who identify as being from the Global Majority, as women, as disabled, and/​or who are LGBTQ+.

During 2024, we are setting up Inclusive Selection for musicians from lower socio-economic backgrounds and musicians from outside of large, metropolitan areas.

What is Inclusive Selection? 

Our Musicians’ Census showed that some musicians face greater barriers to career progression in music. At Help Musicians we use the following term when speaking about these musicians:

musicians who face greater barriers to career progression in music due to challenges created around them

This term highlights that the challenges these musicians face are created around them and are not simply because they happen to be from a certain community or have a certain identity. These challenges include less access to networks, financial resources and more frequent experiences of discrimination. 

Inclusive Selection is our process for making sure that musicians from under-served communities are adequately represented in the musicians we support. 

Our application process includes an inclusive selection process for musicians who self-identify as a member of one or more under-served groups (below).

For 2024, we intend to reach the following inclusion goals for successful applications for support: 

from the global majority
identifying as women
identifying as LGBTQ+
disabled musicians

These under-served groups are:

  • Musicians from the Global Majority – Musicians from Black, Asian, Mixed/​Dual heritage and other groups that have been considered ethnic minorities 
  • Women – self-identifying women musicians 
  • Disabled musicians – Musicians with a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability that’s impacted your ability to earn an income from music for 12 months or longer. Learn more
  • LGBTQ+ musicians – Musicians who self-identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer. The + indicates other identities such as Asexual, Intersex and Pansexual and is inclusive of the variety of sexuality and gender-based identities that have been or are being defined 

If you identify as belonging to one or more of the above groups you will be able to opt in to Inclusive Selection when you apply for career development support, if you wish to.

How does the inclusive selection process work? 

Every application to any career development support is scored according to the same criteria. If we have more successful applications than we can support in a round, we prioritise the applications for support based on a number of factors, which vary across the different services. 

Inclusive Selection means that for those musicians who opt in, we will also prioritise on the basis of their self-identified characteristics. This enables us to check how many musicians from different Inclusive Selection groups are included and to use this as a measure for prioritisation when deciding between multiple successful applicants. 

How can I opt in to Inclusive Selection? 

If you apply for Career Development support, there will be a question on the application form allowing you to opt in and to select which Inclusive Selection Group(s) you want to opt into. We don’t prioritise based on the number of options you select, but we will consider you within the Inclusion Goals across all the groups you select.


No. You will always initially go through the same assessment process as every other applicant meaning you have as much chance as anyone else. 

No. Every musician we support must reach the same standard to be considered for support. 

From supporting thousands of musicians, we know that the best way for us to help is to ensure they are at the right stage of their career to take full advantage of the support we can offer. 

If we don’t have enough musicians from an under-served community to reach an Inclusion Goal in any assessment round, we do not lower the standard, we take extra action before future rounds to encourage more applications from that community and to help enhance the quality of applications from that community. 

We aim to reach the Inclusion Goals across the year, not in each round. 

We are committed to designing our services and support in ways that both ensure they are accessible to disabled musicians and proactively address the systematic barriers they face in developing a career in music. 

It’s vital our approach is informed by disabled musicians themselves and so we are currently working with a disability partner to help us shape it. We will share our approach to supporting disabled musicians to access our career development services by August 2024

In the meantime, disabled musicians are included within our Inclusive Selection approach, and we can provide support with applications for all our services. We also have specific eligibility criteria for disabled musicians to ensure our support is accessible to those unable to earn consistently in music due to a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability. 

We build awareness of our career development support amongst under-served groups to increase application numbers, always working with trusted community partners engaged with those communities wherever we can. We also speak to musicians from those groups to understand why they may not apply and take action to remove those barriers. 

We provide support for applications for musicians from under-served communities to ensure that applications with great potential are not overlooked because of challenges with the application process. 

We provide training and development to everybody involved in the selection process for our career development services on unconscious bias and inclusion and we also undertake checks on scoring on a regular basis to make sure everyone involved is approaching assessment in the same way and acting fairly at all times. 

No. The goals are an aspiration to guide us and if we exceed them, we consider this to be really positive. Applicants at any time in the year go through the same process and have the same chance — we never exclude musicians because our Inclusion Goals have already been met. 

No. Self-identification is used for opt-in for Inclusive Selection. 

Inclusive Selection is in place to help promote equity of opportunity for musicians and we ask musicians to be respectful of this principle when deciding whether to opt-into Inclusive Selection. 

As with any aspects of applications for financial support, providing false information to gain charitable funds is fraud and will be treated as such, with the charity seeking to regain the funds and making reports of the fraud to third parties if relevant. 

No. Demographic data is held separately to applications and is not used to assess applications; it is only used to help us check which musicians we are reaching so we can make an effort to be more visible and inclusive where we need to be. 

You do not have to disclose your personal demographic information to opt-into Inclusive Selection. 

This process was designed by our staff Lived Experience Group. Collectively this group represents all the under-served communities the process supports and many of the group are also musicians. 

We are also working with expert partner organisations to design the Inclusive Selection process for other groups, and we will be working with our Insiders Forum to get feedback from musicians about this process. 

We always welcome feedback from musicians, especially those from under-served communities, about how we can improve the inclusivity and accessibility of our services. We believe this process is only a first step and are committed to continually improving it in line with feedback from musicians and community stakeholders.