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Home > Funding > The Open Fund > The Open Fund: Guidance and FAQs

The Open Fund: Guidance and FAQs

The Open Fund Guidance and FAQs

The Open Fund is available to any music creator or not-for-profit organisation whose project or programme fits with all three of our funding priorities:

  1. To support the creation, performance and promotion of outstanding new music in any genre
    We are particularly interested in the quality of the music
  2. To enable the UK’s most talented music creators to realise their potential
    We are interested in how your project will develop the songwriters and composers involved. We are committed to supporting UK based songwriters and composers of all backgrounds
  3. To inspire audiences
    You will be asked to outline who you are reaching and how. This includes audiences at a local, regional, national or international level

Introduction
Eligibility
Applicants with Access Requirements
Application Advice
Contacting Us

What is a music creator?

The following are considered by PRS for Music Foundation to be Music Creators:

  • songwriters,
  • composers, or
  • artists, bands, producers and performers who are writing their own music or commissioning other songwriters or composers

Activities we can support:

  • projects involving the creation, performance or promotion of new music by living, UK-based music creators (e.g. a commission, residency, education project or tour)
  • recording costs
  • programmes that strongly feature or are based around new music (e.g. promoting a series of live events featuring outstanding new music, the new music component of a festival programme, artist/composer/talent development programme or multiple commissions)
  • equipment/rehearsal space hire if it is an essential part of the project
  • administrative costs (e.g. time spent organising the project, letters, printing, stamps)
  • development time (e.g. the time it will take the music creator to work on the new material)
  • promotional activity/PR costs relating directly to your development as a music creator/the project
  • website creation (only if crucial to the promotion of the project)
  • music videos when part of wider project activity
  • musician fees (we will not fund a project if you do not pay your musicians)
  • contingency (up to 10% of the total project budget)
  • concerts, record launches, gigs, tours, installations, festivals and promoters which feature a significant programme of new UK music.

Applicants with access requirements

We recognise that for disabled music creators with access requirements, some proposed activity which supports music creator development (e.g. live performance, touring, access to studios) incurs additional costs, meaning that applicants may require grant support of more than £5,000.

Music creators with access requirements are advised that:
– When submitting Stage 1 applications, applicants should submit Total Project Budget and Request Amounts that do not consider additional access costs.
– When submitting Stage 2 applications which includes a budget section, please outline non-accessibility related expenditure and income. An additional budget question allows applicants to detail additional access requirements needs which will be considered by management team and will therefore not be seen or considered by external advisors unless mentioned in main Funding Priority responses.

Funding decisions will not be affected by additional accessibility support requests and if selected, an appropriate offer amount will be pledged.

We can’t support:

  • projects that contain no element of live performance (unless applying for recording costs only)
  • technology projects (unless they contain a significant aspect of new music creation)
  • the purchase of vans and cars
  • bursaries, tuition/education costs, or scholarships
  • capital projects (e.g. building work)
  • any project raising funds for another charity
  • buying equipment
  • building a studio
  • organisations or projects that have been running for less than 18 months
  • music creators who do not have a track record of 18 months or more
  • retrospective activity (i.e. projects that have already taken place)
  • activity that falls before our decision date (check our application stages and deadlines when you are applying)
  • organisations based outside the UK
  • music creators based outside of the UK – projects can involve international music creators but such costs must clearly be covered elsewhere and we prioritise UK-based creators
  • British music creators no longer permanently resident in the UK
  • composers and songwriters who are members of other performance rights collection societies
  • international tours/recording internationally (see our International Showcase Fund scheme)
  • radio stations/broadcasting costs
  • start-up companies or record labels
  • a roster of artists on a record label
  • living costs and salary costs, as outlined in FAQs
  • core funding

Companies limited by shares will be considered on a case by case basis (see below).

Who can apply?

UK-based:

  • organisations that are limited by guarantee and/or a registered Charity
  • individuals and sole traders
  • CIC organisations
  • non-music organisations including local authorities, museums, etc.

Ineligible applicants:

  • individuals in full-time education
  • under 18s, unless represented by an adult with a valid DBS check
  • those resident outside of the UK
  • those without a track record of more than 18 months
  • projects where the lead composer/songwriter is a member of another Performance Rights Organisation (i.e. UK based music creator must either be a member of PRS or should be in a position to join)
  • companies limited by shares (although considered on a case-by-case basis)

Can I apply if I’m a company limited by shares?

The Open Fund is not designed to support organisations that share out profits to members or shareholders, unless the activity you are applying for is a self-contained arts project and has a clear benefit to the audience.  As a result, we prioritise not-for-profit organisations and tend not to support organisations limited by shares. If you are an organisation limited by shares but there’s a clear funding need for a project that is not profitable, you may be able to apply and should speak with our Grants Team ahead of an application. Click here to email the Grants Team.

We are unable to offer the following:

  • comments or advice on your music
  • advice on signing to a label or how to organise tours/projects
  • advice on gigs/venues
  • advice on promoting your music, unless it has been directly funded by PRS for Music Foundation
  • application form checking, prior to submission (however, you can email us with specific questions)

Please note that we are not able to accept hard copies of applications. All applications must be completed online (please email us if you consider yourself to have a disability which could prevent you from completing the online application)

PRS for Music Membership

If applying to The Open Fund for Music Creators (or Women Make Music), we will ask if the music creators involved are already PRS for Music members. Our decision will not be affected if you are not yet a member of PRS for Music but grantees will be signposted to PRS for Music to ensure they are maximising collection society income opportunities.

If you are applying to The Open Fund for Organisations and activities include events, to ensure the writers and publishers of the musical works are paid correctly, your event will need to be licensed appropriately by PRS for Music. If you are unsure whether the correct licence is in place, please contact PRS on 020 3741 3622 and they will be happy to confirm or support you through the licensing process.

Multiple applications

Due to high levels of demand for our funding schemes, we can only accept one application per calendar year to The Open Fund*.

Organisations are restricted to receiving one grant per calendar year with the exception of our UK commissioning programmes Beyond Borders and New Music Biennial. For example, an organisation funded through The Open Fund for Organisations may apply for and receive support for Beyond Borders.

Music creators are also restricted to receiving one grant per calendar year.

We advise individual composers, artists, bands and other music creators to choose the most appropriate funding scheme between The Open Fund for Music Creators and our targeted support schemes such as Women Make Music, The International Showcase Fund, Steve Reid Innovation Award, Flash Funding or Momentum.

Please contact the team if you are unsure which funding scheme is most appropriate.

*Please click here for guidance on the limits to the number of applications you can submit per calendar year.

If you have any concerns about eligibility, please email us.
Do you still have some questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions page.