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Home > PRS Foundation secures €200,000 from Creative Europe for Keychange

PRS Foundation secures €200,000 from Creative Europe to empower new network of female artists and innovators to showcase and collaborate at music industry festivals across Europe and Canada

  • PRS Foundation granted €200,000 from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union to run new talent development initiative, called Keychange, with partners in Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Spain, Sweden, Canada and UK
  • 35 female music creators and 30 innovative industry professionals will benefit from the project, with opportunities to collaborate through a Creative Lab programme
  • Digital platform will enable hundreds more musicians and creative industry pros to get involved with the project’s training programme and social media campaign

PRS Foundation announces today (Friday 28 April 2017) that it has successfully secured €200,000 from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, having scored 96/100 in its bid to run a European talent development programme called Keychange. This new and ambitious European collaboration will promote the role of women in music and the potential creative and economic contribution women could be making to Europe’s music industry.

Building on PRS Foundation’s experience of running the pioneering Women Make Music Fund in the UK, Keychange aims to stimulate talent development and innovation in music by creating new international opportunities for performance, collaboration and learning amongst female artists and innovators who are ready to break into new markets. The long term goal is to transform Europe’s music industry for current and future generations by accelerating recognition of women’s artistic and economic value and empowering them to work together across European and international borders.

The initiative is led by PRS Foundation who have joined forces with like-minded European partners who believe that the future of music will benefit from a more balanced representation of women and men across all aspects of the industry. These partners are: Iceland Airwaves, BIME (Spain), Reeperbahn Festival (Germany), The Great Escape (UK), Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), MusickCentrum/Way out West (Sweden) and Mutek (Canada). Additional sponsorship has also been secured from Spotify and STEF (The Performing Rights Society of Iceland) and we will be announcing more associate partners over the next few months.

Activities will include two mass gatherings of the Keychange network at Tallinn Music Week and BIME in 2018, smaller groups showcasing and networking at other partners’ music festivals, a programme of creative labs and online content which stimulate ideas for new projects and ways of working, a high profile social media campaign and a final event in Brussels at the European Parliament in 2019 at which partners will jointly present a manifesto for change. 

Conference panel at BIME, Spain and Way Out West festival, Sweden.

All supported artists and innovators will be selected through a nomination process coordinated by local partners and their industry colleagues. A joint selection panel will take place at Reeperbahn Festival in September 2017. For news about Keychange opportunities and updates please follow @PRSFoundation , the hashtag #Keychange and subscribe to the PRS Foundation newsletter here and check in to

Vanessa Reed, Chief Executive of PRS Foundation said: “I’m delighted that we’ve succeeded as lead partner in our application to Creative Europe in spite of uncertainties posed by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. European and international collaboration is essential to the creative and business development of individual artists and the industry as a whole. Keychange’s focus on giving talented women access to international networks and new markets at critical stages in their career will help them realise their potential as future leaders of an industry that is ready for change. I’m proud to be working with such an impressive line-up of festivals and music organisations to realise this ambitious European project which is based on shared values and a joint commitment to shifting the status quo.

Alexander Schulz, Founder/Director Reeperbahn Festival said, “Reeperbahn Festival is rightly proud to be the German partner in the Keychange initiative. We look forward to presenting the project’s launch in Hamburg in September and working alongside some very impressive, like-minded events with the distinct aim of making a meaningful difference and lasting improvement to the way women in our industry are involved and included in music festivals, conferences, and the business environment in general.

Grimur Atlason, Festival Manager Iceland Airwaves said, “Iceland Airwaves is absolutely thrilled to part of Keychange! This initiative is bound to empower and encourage female musicians all over the world to step forward with their ideas and push the boundaries whilst using their artistry to promote diversity and fairness within the industry. Keychange’s perspective is ambitious, fresh and vital in this tumultuous time and we are immensely proud to be part of it.

Christophe Cassan, Project Manager BIME said, “BIME Music & Conference is happy to be part of the Keychange project and looks forward to welcoming, in Bilbao (Spain), all of the Keychange female musicians and professionals. It is an honor to collaborate with such impressive European partners to support talent development and innovation in music and to promote this initiative to the Spanish and Latin American music industry.

Kevin Moore, General Manager, The Great Escape said, “Keychange is going to be a fantastic new initiative, driving the agenda on equality and diversity in music, ambitions that are matched by The Great Escape. We are very proud to be a partner on this project.”

Ragnar Berthling, partner and CEO Musikcentrum Öst said, “Apart from any obvious reasons of justice, democracy and fairness, gender equality in the music industry is also about increasing the quality of music. We are convinced that Keychange will boost the festival circuit and the industry with a wave of young female artists and creative female innovators. To be a part of this network gives true hope for a borderless future music business built on creativity, visions and smart business models. We must congratulate PRS Foundation and Vanessa Reed for this brave initiative.

Helen Sildna, founder of Tallinn Music Week said, “There is a much needed change of key in the music industry and we believe that diversity is an essential tool to achieve this. We are immensely proud to be part of this courageous project together with these brilliant partners, to explore new patterns for the way we do things in this industry. We are convinced that more women and more fresh perspectives are the way forward not only for the music industry but for Europe in general. Brexit or not, Europe needs our creative input and we need to implement Keychange!

Patti Schmidt, Artistic and Content Development, MUTEK Montréal said, “As the only non-European partner in this bold initiative, MUTEK is both proud and excited to join Keychange. It is conscientious projects like this that cause necessary ruptures, and reveal the often unconscious forces that determine who gets seen and heard. Enabling networks and creating circuits of influence are among the most powerful tools for rewiring the world and engendering change.