PRS Foundation CEO Joe Frankland responds to recent donation reduction announcement
We are incredibly proud of the impact PRS Foundation funding has had on the careers of thousands of music creators, and the wider impact of our long-term, collaborative and inclusive approach. The whole sector benefits greatly from our funding and talent development support. And this is thanks to huge investment and ongoing support from PRS for Music. PRS is dedicated to the cause of music creator development, and we are all rightfully proud of what we achieve together.
- 8 out of 12 Mercury Music Prize nominees were PRS Foundation supported creators
- As were dozens of BRITS, MOBO, RPS, Grammy, AIM, Jazz FM and Ivors Award nominees and winners
- Demand was at an all-time high and we received over 5,900 applications (demand has more than doubled since 2014)
- We supported 486 new music projects, including grants to 321 music creators when support was most needed, vital support for 133 organisations working at the frontline to support thousands of creators, and 32 industry professionals to support infrastructure for music creator development
- We co-founded and announced the change-making POWER UP initiative to tackle anti-Black racism in the music industry
- We expanded global gender equity and justice initiative, Keychange
- 63% of our music creator grantees were women (47.7%), mixed gender groups (9.5%) or gender minority (5.6%)
- 15% of music creator and industry professional grantees identified as Disabled
- Over 46% of music creator and industry professional grantees were from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities
- 27.3% of music creator and industry professional grantees identified as LGBTQIA+
- 60% of music creator and industry professional grantees were based outside London (with 9.3% based in Scotland, 8.8% based in Wales and 5% based in Northern Ireland)
- 67% of organisations we funded were based outside London (with 11% based in Scotland, 10% in Wales and 5% in Northern Ireland, and 88% of London based organisations reaching creators and audiences nationally or internationally)
Looking longer-term, our approach ensures that support reaches music creators from the grassroots up. Music creator grantees almost triple their PRS for Music income within 2-3 years of receiving a grant, and our investment in talent development helps to generate £10m per year for the UK music sector.
At this year’s PRS AGM and Members’ Day, PRS for Music announced a recent decision to decrease their donation to PRS Foundation by 60% from 2024.
The decision follows conversations among the PRS Executive Leadership Team and the Members’ Council who began to explore alternatives once it became clear that the specific source of revenue from which charitable donations are made will no longer be sufficient to maintain a higher level of support. This is disappointing given that PRS’ overall collections are on an upward trajectory and the Society is on a path to collect £1 billion annually from its licensees.
The process has been happening behind the scenes for over a year and my team and Board have been involved at different stages, with varied views on the suitability of alternatives. Regretfully, no alternative solution was found which worked for all parties and the Members’ Council delivered their decision to the Foundation in December 2021.
A commitment of £2.5m per year in 2022 and 2023 means we can continue to offer transformational support while we reimagine the way we work as a pioneering and inclusive funder and industry leader.
We are a constantly evolving, dynamic organisation and the PRS donation of £1m per year from 2024, albeit reduced, does mean that we can continue to operate and build for the future.
I am heartened by the support shown so far. The Foundation is a lifeline for many, and we are fully embedded in an industry that benefits greatly from our timely investment. Our team, board, partners and advisors listen to, understand and respond to the needs of the music creator community. We’re obsessed by new music, and we will continue to lead the charge to create a stronger, fairer and inclusive music sector.
For the last few years, we have secured between £1m-£2m of additional support per year to match the PRS for Music donation. Our successful model includes a hugely impactful donation from PPL, ongoing public funding including from UK Arts Councils, and partnerships with key music industry sponsors and individual donors. This helps us to reach thousands more creators and pioneering organisations who support talent development.
However, the impact of the reduction should not be underestimated. At a time where songwriters, composers, artists, bands and producers need support to sustain careers and thrive in the future, there is a danger that without high levels of support so many more worthy and exciting music creators and organisations will miss out.
I want to reassure the songwriters, composers, artists, bands, producers and talent development organisations we serve that we are here for you. In a world of short-term decision making, you can rely on the Foundation team and Board ensuring that we are here for creators’ long-term needs.
But we need to raise new funds in order to continue our invaluable work breaking down barriers to progression and bolstering the talent development ecosystem.
This can happen with more help from key players across the sector and continued support from the PRS membership – particularly those who are in a position to help give back to the music creator community. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.
Finally, we believe that the success of the music we fund is driven by the diversity of the people who create it. Our commitment to inclusivity enables the creation and performance of exceptional new music which has a lasting legacy and shapes the future of music.
Barriers to progression are very real and PRS Foundation addresses them in a unique and effective way, including through Women Make Music, the PPL Momentum Fund, our Talent Development Partner network, Keychange and POWER UP. You only have to look at our 2021 stats to see that this approach works and benefits us all. And anyone who knows PRS Foundation’s team, Board and partners knows that we will do everything in our power to continue to support exceptional talent from all backgrounds.
You can watch our full video from PRS for Music’s AGM this year here: