What are the benefits of applying to Zoo Labs?

The culmination of all the benefits & resources of Zoo Labs is an accelerated time frame, that is, you reaching your artistic & business goals sooner & with greater measurable success.

Can I apply as a solo artist?

Our program is designed for teams of creators. In the past, this has included duos, bands of five players, a four person band and their manager, a team of hardware and music creators, arts enablers, and more, so you are not limited to team members involved in the music creation itself. We’re working on ways to serve solo artists, but for now, our residency program is best suited to teams of 2 or more people. At this time, submitted applications with one team member cannot move on to the judging round and will remain open until at least one more team member is added.

What is a team?

Two or more people who share the same goal and are working together towards a common vision. No successful business and certainly no one in the music industry is shaking things up entirely by themselves. So when we ask "who is your team?", we’re asking: who are the people who are coming around this project on a daily to weekly basis to grow it? Graphic artists, music developers, financial advisors, managers, and more all count.

What type of team are you looking for?

Adult teams that are dedicated to their craft, mission and future. They can span across music, visual art, education, technology and social justice.

Can I add team members after I submit my application?

When selecting team members for your application, we recommend taking time to consider who is truly on your core team. Include only those people (and those people only!) on your application, since we can’t add any participants after applications have been reviewed. Questions to consider are: would the project continue to run if a team member wasn’t there? Which people are truly invested in the success of this project? Sometimes, adding extra voices to a project for the sake of the residency offers diminishing returns.

How often is the program?

4 times a year. Typically twice in the Spring and twice in the Fall. The rest of the year, you can find us supporting our 200+ alumni.

After I apply, how long does it usually take before the residency starts?

It varies. Based upon when you apply, your needs, the teams in front of you and the residencies we have available. For some teams, it has been as little as three months and as much as a year.

Do you accept teams from outside the United States?


What kinds of genres are you looking for?

We don’t care about genres. We are looking for hustle and determination. We’re looking for cross-discipline creatives teams (musicians, managers, marketers, engineers, technologist, producers, web developers, teachers, community organizers...etc.) that are thinking and acting like entrepreneurs.

How much does the program cost?

Zoo Labs is a non-profit! That means it costs you $0 for the program & alumni support. There is a $10 application fee, which goes straight to the platform. You cover the cost to get yourself to the door each time and the rest is on us.

Who owns the copyright in my songs and sound recordings under the program agreements?

YOU DO! YOU are the exclusive copyright owner of both your original compositions AND the master recordings that you create here at Zoo Labs. You will leave the residency with a copy of all files & music created, as well as any other media that is available and related. Be sure to bring a hard drive.

What will I learn?

You will learn how to strategize your ideas into a business model. You will validate or invalidate these ideas so you can provide potential investors or partners details about your plan for growth. You will learn how to craft better art that represents the opportunity your business has to offer.

What’s a product (in relation to music)?

In the simplest terms, it is the thing you’re making that you sell to people. Your music can certainly be your product, but think about all of the touch points where people are and could spend money on you. Tangible things like your show & merch and less tangible like the unique experience you give during your songs, the connection you create with people over Instagram Live, etc.

My music is great, can you just do the business part for me?

Your songs are important, but they aren’t everything. Your strategy on connecting your music to the world is just as important. You need to understand why you’re creating what you’re creating, who it's for and how you plan to connect them with it. It’s like trying to put together a puzzle without knowing what box the pieces came from. The goal of Zoo Labs is to empower you with entrepreneurial skills and put you at the center of monetization in your business.

How is Zoo Labs Funded?

Zoo Labs is a non-profit. We are funded by grants, family foundations and individual contributions. Support our artists today by giving us a small (recurring) contribution here.

Is Zoo Labs a non-profit?

Yes. We are fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives, based in Oakland, CA.

Is it true you have free coffee, tea & beer?

YES! Thank you to our constant support from Red Bay, Lagunitas, Fort Point and Numi Tea.

Can I book studio time? / How do the studios work?

Our studios are reserved for our alumni teams. If you are not a current applicant and would like to reserve a studio please contact hello@zoolabs.org