Though its problems date back throughout its history, the music industry has changed even more dramatically in the age of the Internet. On one hand, there is a proliferation of listening opportunities, music creation, and digital distribution. On the other hand, it is increasingly difficult for artists to balance creating music, touring, and earning a sustainable living.

Within current outlets for roots music — radio, festivals — line-ups are still dominated by white musicians and, in most cases, white male musicians.

Take the 2018 AmericanaFest lineup, for example:
White Men: 53%
White Women: 34%
People of Color: 10%
LGBTQ+: 03%

The Americana Radio Album Chart, on a recent October week, was even more unbalanced:
White Men: 72%
White Women: 17%
People of Color: 06%
LGBTQ+: 04%

Pursuing a career in music is a difficult undertaking even in the best of circumstances and, as in life itself, minority artists have far from the best of circumstances. To help achieve a better balance of powers, our Rainey Day Fund provides assistance to artists of color, artists with disabilities, artists in the LGBTQ+ community, and others who add to the rich fabric of roots music. Named after Ma Rainey — the queer, Black “Mother of the Blues — the Rainey Day Fund hopes to lighten a couple of those burdens through its two components: 1) a micro-grant fund with cash gifts of up to $1,000, and 2) a suite of donated professional services — each available to minority artists and marginalized voices at key moments in their careers.

Previous recipients include Birds of Chicago, Yola Carter, Danni Nicholls, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, Natalia Zukerman, and Kaia Kater.

The Rainey Day Fund does not have an open application process. Instead, we rely on a number of friends in the music industry — artists, journalists, managers, talent buyers, et al — to recommend artists for us to consider.

We do, however, have an open donation policy. If you’d like to donate any professional services, please contact donations@tk-dubs.org.

TKDubs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. EIN 83-1929716. Your generous donations are tax deductible.