New Year message from PRS Foundation CEO, Vanessa Reed
As I look back over the past year of PRS Foundation activity, there’s no doubt that the funding we offer is a crucial resource for UK music creators and organisations promoting new music and artist development. We received nearly 4,000 applications for the 573 grants we were able to award; over 7,500 songwriters and composers benefitted from our investment and the financial impact of our donation from PRS for Music was comparable to that of previous years – every £1 donated by PRS for Music helped generate an additional £4 investment in UK music and its creators.Of equal importance in these divided times, is our grants and programmes’ ability to bring people together, fostering a sense of community amongst artists, industry professionals and audiences across the UK and further afield. This occurred at the many outstanding live music events we supported throughout the year and through our wide range of talent development programmes which create new networks and connections across national and international borders. Memorable moments in 2018 include
- our 45 Talent Development Partners coming together in Cardiff to exchange ideas and experience about the work they’re doing to support diverse music creators at pivotal stages in their careers
- our European Keychange network of 60 female artists and industry professionals meeting in Tallinn and Bilbao
- our New Music Biennial composers gathering in Hull to share information about the commissions they’re working on
- artists preparing for international showcases like SXSW meeting in King’s Cross to get export tips and advice.
The power of collaborative work meant very different things for different people – one composer said that the chance to be with and hear the music of other composers raised the bar for his own creative practice, a Keychange participant talked about how she felt safe and supported through her first experience of being part of a network and one of our Talent Development partners suggested that our Foundation’s endorsement and role as “an active network of experts and passionate game changers” is as important for his organisation as the funding.
Collective action was also at the heart of our fundraising and advocacy throughout 2018. We grew our partnerships in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to open our Momentum and International Showcasing funds to all UK artists. In Liverpool we deepened our support of local talent through a new partnership with the City Council which we hope we can replicate in other places to pool national and local investment. Internationally our Keychange programme united 150 festivals in a collective pledge towards gender balance which has influenced others, including MEPs and the European Commission, to respond and join in with the conversation.
Our role at the heart of the UK’s music community was recognised and celebrated on several occasions in 2018 when we were active in every UK region and 18 countries worldwide. In April, Music Week acknowledged the Foundation’s impact by presenting us with its Outstanding Contribution to Charity Award, in December our Keychange programme won an Innovation Award from SIM, Brazil’s main industry conference and throughout the year we celebrated the success of the many artists we’ve funded who were nominated for industry awards or put on unforgettable performances across Europe and in China and North America.
Celebrations and community spirit will be on our minds over the next year as we prepare for our 20th Anniversary in 2020. This will be a unique opportunity to bring together the many organisations and music creators we’ve supported with the independent advisors, partners, staff, trustees and ambassadors who’ve made PRS Foundation the much-loved organisation it is today. Thanks to PRS for Music’s vision and unwavering commitment we’ve given more than £32m to over 6,800 initiatives since 2000. Support from other major partners such as PPL, UK Arts Councils and Creative Europe has enabled us to continue to grow our reach and keep up with the outstanding quality of new music being created in the UK.
Part of our anniversary celebrations will involve us thinking about what’s to come for our growing community of music makers in the next 20 years and our role in shaping music’s future. In a year that holds so many unknowns, we’ll be focusing on what we do best, continuing to fine tune our support, bringing artists and practitioners together and using the results of our work to influence change where change is needed. If you’d like to be part of this conversation please get in touch.
Happy New Year!
Vanessa Reed at the Canadian High Commission by Mike Massaro
Guests at the PRS Foundation Talent Development Conference in Cardiff by Bethan Miller
Keychange participants and partners at the Manifesto Launch at European Parliament by Francois De Ribaucourt
Catholic Action at the British Music Embassy at SXSW 2018 by Thomas Jackson, Tynesight
PRS Foundation team by Victor Frankowski