FAQ’S And Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
Which funding scheme or talent development programme is best for me?
PRS Foundation manages and partners on a number of talent development schemes. Potential applicants are encouraged to use our website’s Funding Menu to explore schemes based on the career level of music creators involved.
In many cases, The Open Fund and Women Make Music are the most appropriate options because they cater for projects where music creators work at all career levels. However, there may be a need for targeted support at an earlier career stage, or for more specific next level or international support.
We have therefore updated our Funding Menu and related landing pages to list relevant schemes based on the below Groups:
- Funding for Organisations
Includes The Open Fund for Organisations, Beyond Borders, Resonate and New Music Biennial
- Support for Music Creators grouped based on music creator career level:
- All Career Levels
Includes The Open Fund for Music Creators and Women Make Music
- Early Career
Includes ReBalance, Steve Reid Innovation Award, Lynsey de Paul Prize and Adopt a Composer
- Next Steps
Includes Momentum, The Composers’ Fund and The Writer Producer Fund
Includes the International Showcase Fund, Musician in Residence programmes and Classical:NEXT Fellowships
Schemes may be listed in more than one Group so that potential applicants can view any schemes which are relevant to their career level. For example, The Writer Producer Fund is listed in ‘Next Steps’ and ‘International’ Groups because it is designed for those looking for next level career support and can include both UK and International activity.
What is an Organisation?
Through our schemes for organisations (e.g. The Open Fund for Organisations or Beyond Borders), PRS Foundation supports projects led by:
- Talent Development organisations
- Large performance groups*
This might include individuals operating as promoters, festivals, venues or all of the above.
This does not include individual songwriters, composers, artists, bands or writer-producers for which we offer support for Music Creators.
An Organisation applicant’s projects must involve the creation, performance and promotion of new music and enable songwriters, composers, solo artists, bands and performers of all backgrounds to develop creatively and professionally.
* Large performance groups would include orchestras, choirs, jazz bands or folk groups with 12 or more performers
What is a Music Creator?
PRS Foundation classes the following as music creators:
- Artists, bands, producers or performers who are writing their own music
Please see our Funding Menu and individual scheme pages to see which scheme for music creators is most appropriate for you.
How do I access an application form?
All PRS Foundation applications are completed online unless otherwise stated and must be accessed by clicking on the link found on each scheme’s page. Once you have started a form, you can log back in using this link.
Account details for PRS for Music registrations will not work when trying to start an application with us; you must create an account for PRS Foundation. Please ensure you have read the relevant schemes Guidance pages in full before you begin your application. This will avoid submitting plans for ineligible activity.
What sort of projects and activities can you fund?
Our funding schemes support a wide range of activities, including (where relevant to each scheme) creation of new music, performance, recording, release support, commissioning, and marketing and promotion.
It is important that you check Guidance and Criteria for individual schemes to ensure that you are applying for a project and activities which are eligible.
For example, our Momentum Music Fund supports UK-based activity so an application including touring in the States within a proposed budget would be ineligible.
Check out our most recent grantee page and our search facility where you can see projects supported by PRS Foundation over the past couple of years.
What is your relationship with PRS for Music?
PRS Foundation is constituted as an independent charity and PRS for Music kindly provide our largest source of income and support us with facilities and office resources.
Do I have to be a member of PRS for Music to apply for funding? Am I entitled to funding if I am a PRS for Music member?
You do not have to be a member of PRS for Music in order to make an application for funding. However, you are not eligible if you are a member of another performing rights society; you should be in a position to join PRS at a later stage. Similarly, if you are a member of PRS for Music you are not guaranteed funding; all applications received are assessed according to the same criteria.
How are decisions made?
PRS Foundation has a pool of 200+ independent external advisors who work at the frontline of talent development in the UK and are asked to help to assess applications.
For the majority of funding schemes, advisors are used to help shortlist applications before a decision panel is arranged featuring a small number of external advisors. Recommendations and decisions are made at those panel meetings based on our funding criteria and the opinions of our expert advisors. This allows for decisions to be made by experts in relevant fields and also enables PRS Foundation to offer constructive feedback where relevant. For some schemes, recommendations for support are taken to the PRS Foundation Board of Trustees. For others, decisions are made by advisor panels on the day. It is important to note timing of decisions before you submit any application.
PRS Foundation’s Grants Team ensures that the right mix of advisors is used for each deadline or panel. We always aim for a fair balance of genre expertise, gender, region, job role/area of expertise, genre, and other areas of diversity.
Can I apply on behalf of a music creators I am working with?
If you are applying to one of our schemes for Organisations (see above), then you will be applying for support for projects which involve one or more music creators. You will be asked to name example music creators and to list any confirmed or provisionally confirmed music creators taking part in your project. Our advisors will consider the music creators named in your application when making decisions and it should be noted that for projects where creators are heavily involved, we expect Organisations to have discussed funding with the creator. This is because we may limit the number of supported projects each music creator can be involved in.
If applying to our schemes for Music Creators (see above), in most cases it will be the music creator applying directly. In some cases, a close representative (e.g. an artist manager, a writer manager) is able to apply on behalf of the music creator.
Please note that for solo performers or small ensembles playing music written by other composers, please focus your application on the music creator/composer(s) you are working with.
It should be noted though that any resulting grant is offered to the music creator and that money is paid to the creator. This protects the creator in case a management relationship is discontinued. PRS Foundation does not directly support managers, labels, publishers or other representatives.
For schemes such as the Momentum Fund or International Showcase Fund, it is common for a manager or other representative to complete applications. However, it always helps for the music creator to contribute, and we often ask for quotes.
I don’t think my project is eligible, but should I apply anyway?
If you’re not eligible, don not apply – your application will not be considered for funding. Check out our useful links for other sources of support.
How often can I apply? / Can I apply to two different funding programmes?
Please see our Multiple Applications page for full guidance. Re-submissions of previously declined applications are not permitted.
GENERAL APPLICATION ADVICE
How important is track record and past achievements?
For the majority of schemes, because of the competitive nature of programmes, we would expect that a music creator applicant has a track record of creating or performing of over 18 months. Organisation applicants will be asked to outline track record of the organisation or individuals involved and should expect that advisors prefer to see a relevant experience of over 18 months.
Early Career support schemes such as the Steve Reid Innovation Award or Lynsey de Paul Prize may be the exceptions to the above rule but generally PRS Foundation wants to support the creation and performance of outstanding new music, and songwriters and composers who are striving to make a career from writing and performing music.
What music examples should I give you?
Your music is an essential part of your application. For most schemes, advisor scores for music are considered as 50% of your overall score. You are therefore advised to submit your most outstanding music.
We expect direct links to specific tracks or songs as opposed to a landing/profile pages where it is not clear which track an advisor should listen to.
It often helps to submit music that best represents your current style. It should also be relevant to what you are applying for.
It is your responsibility to ensure that links work up to 12 weeks after they’re uploaded – don’t take them down within the assessment period. If you’re using a password protected site or private link, ensure that you provide us with the relevant password.
If applying for a festival that has an emerging artist stage, please do not give musical examples from established headline acts who do not need support – show us the emerging artists that you’ll be showcasing who are representative of the activity you want us to fund.
I am applying to a scheme which requires video applications. What are you looking for?
For some of our Early Career Schemes such as the Lynsey de Paul Prize, Steve Reid Innovation Award, ReBalance and Flash Funding, we require that the decisive questions are answered by video submission rather than written-only funding applications.
This allows music creators to present a case for support in a less formal way – benefitting many creators, and importantly allows an applicant to show their passion for potentially supported projects. This has been very successful in deadlines so far and our tips based on the many applications we have received are:
- Please stick to stated time limits which have been given to allow applicants to be as direct as possible
- Make sure your passion for the project comes across
- We do not expect Hollywood standard production but feel free to get creative. At the very least, ensure that the speaker’s face is in shot and well lit
- Make sure your video links work (e.g. YouTube links are ‘Unlisted’ not ‘Private’)
I am applying to a scheme which requires written applications. What are you looking for?
We outline the main criteria within guidance pages of each scheme, and questions ask allow applicants to demonstrate how projects and resulting music will fulfil criteria. We advise making it obvious within your written application how you meet funding criteria.
Where bullet points are given, please try to answer as many of the points as succinctly as possible. Consider word counts given and try not to waste word count on only one bullet point.
We do not insist on perfect English. Clear, concise and direct language is often more effective than linguistic devices and embellishments. Please consider that your application is assessed by talent development and music experts and use language that suits the context of your project in the real world. Bullet points can enable you to be more clear and concise.
I don’t know if this is the right time for this project. Should I apply anyway?
No. Our funding is highly competitive – in The Open Fund approximately 10% of applications are successful. For other schemes, the percentage varies. Please wait until your project is as strong as possible so you can make the best case for our funding. Remember that if you’re unsuccessful, you can’t reapply to us for the same project, and you can only apply once per calendar year for The Open Fund.
Do we need to show scheduled performance / recording dates before we apply to you?
Demand for our funding is very high. For most schemes we ask for an outline of planned activities.
Within activity charts applicants can outline the status of activity, usually with the options ‘Confirmed’, ‘Provisional’ or ‘Unconfirmed’. In most cases, ‘Confirmed’ activity is prioritised, meaning for example that a UK tour with 6 confirmed dates is more likely to receive funding than a tour with no dates confirmed.
Advisors are asked to consider activity status within the context of the project, including the context of the main genre music creators work in. This recognises the fact that for some genres, it is unlikely that all dates will be confirmed 12-18 weeks in advance of preferred performance dates.
Some tips for those unable to include ‘Confirmed’ activity:
- in your application, show us that you have a track record of making similar projects happen
- tell us if you’ve had a conversation with promoters, venues, bookers, agents or performers
- if you don’t have exact dates, show us the timeframe and venues you have made plans with
- at the very least indicate the types of venues, likely locations or possible studios you might use
- If you don’t have this information, consider waiting for a future deadline as this can influence the final decision.
Can I apply for a programme of activity?
We prioritise high quality new music projects and cannot under any circumstances support core organisational costs, salary costs or living costs. In some cases we can support a of activity where there is a clear start and end date, or can contribute towards elements of a programme of activity. In this case, show us exactly where PRS Foundation funding will be used, particularly if it will support a mixed programme of already written and new work. Please highlight the performance dates of the new UK music that will be supported by PRS Foundation funding.
Do you fully fund projects?
No. In view of the size of our grants, we usually expect to make a contribution to an overall budget rather than supporting the whole project.
It is good to be able to show other income sources. This can be from other Trusts and Foundations, Arts Councils, concert/gig fees, crowd-sourcing, earned income (e.g. ticket sales, record sales, digital download and streaming income, merchandise) and/or in-kind (resources that are given free of charge that have a monetary value).
Please check the criteria of individual schemes to see if there is a minimum requirement for non-PRS Foundation support (usually between 10% and 25%).
Can I apply for administration and office costs?
Yes – you can ask for administration costs of up to 15% of the requested amount*. However, we are unable to provide core funding to organisations, salary costs or living costs.
*This administration cost limit is different for venues and some other organisations for The Open Fund for Music Creators – please see ‘Support for Venues’ below
What is the correct music creator fee?
We are unable to advise on appropriate music creator/writer/performer fees but these should reflect the music creator’s experience and the time it has taken to write the new work. We would advise that you contact the Musicians’ Union for advice on this matter. Although one-on-one advice is not available to non-members, they have free resources online as well as information about how to join.
Am I allowed to make a profit?
For The Open Fund and Women Make Music at Stage 2, and for most other schemes, we ask that you show us a balanced budget sheet that shows matching income and expenditure.
For example, a project’s total costs may come to £10,000. Without support from PRS Foundation your projected income may be £5,000. You would therefore request £5,000 from PRS Foundation within your income section in order to arrive at a balanced budget. If your total income projection exceeds your total expenditure, you will not receive the full level of support as you have shown that not all the funding is needed to make the project happen.
If in your draft budget, even when you include a full request amount from PRS Foundation within the income section of your budget your total costs still exceed total income projections, it suggests that you either need to decrease projected expenditure or increase projected income from non-PRS Foundation sources.
It is expected that your project should at least break even and contribute towards making your activity self-sustaining in the future. Therefore you can ultimately make a profit – but remember to show us a balanced budget at this stage in the process.
What else do you need to see in budgets?
Advisors have relevant and working knowledge of similar projects so like to see realistic projected costs and income projections.
It often helps to break down a cost or income projection within our ‘Detail’ column. For example, your total expenditure projection for marketing might be £3,000 so it helps within a ‘Detail’ box to break that down (e.g. “PR campaign for EP release – £1,000; Radio plugging for single – £1,000; Digital Marketing – £750; Design – £250”).
Another tip is to check that each area of expenditure has a relevant projection of income if possible. For example, if you have included costs relating to touring advisors would expect to see projected tour-related income regardless of how low the income amount may be. Another common mistake is included projected costs of recording or manufacture of releases without included projected recording related income – whether small or large. It is hard for advisors to support recording and releases if there is zero related income.
Do applicants receive the full amount requested?
PRS Foundation try as far as possible to fund the amount you need to make your project happen pending funds available in any particular round of assessments and as long as our panel of advisors agree that the amount requesting is realistic and suitable. In some cases, where support is agreed but a panel feels a lower amount is appropriate, PRS Foundation’s grant will be lower than your requested amount. We therefore advise you to cost accordingly and add realistic income and expenditure figures.
SUPPORT FOR VENUES
The Open Fund for Organisations can support many types of activity, including programming of live music. The size of the grant, funding priorities and a need to support projects rather than year-round work means that typically a venue will apply for:
- Live programming (e.g. one or more gigs, all-day gigs, mini-festivals, gigs that focus on specialist areas (e.g. genre, career level, diversity, accessibility))
- Opportunities and projects that support the development of emerging music creators (non-programming related work you do to support emerging artists such as rehearsal spaces, workshops, etc.)
- Marketing support (so long as there’s still an element of creation or performance)
Very few types of activity are ineligible and PRS Foundation is very willing to discuss potential applications ahead of deadlines. Please feel free to email email@example.com for further advice.
Updated forms for The Open Fund for Organisations include an additional question on track record to allow venues (and other organisations) to show how their track record for similar projects and music creator development will give confidence for upcoming projects. Independent advisors will consider track record as well as project outlines.
For independent music venues and festivals applying to The Open Fund for Organisations, PRS Foundation recognises that ‘Associated Costs’ (i.e. expenditure not going directly to music creators which indirectly assists music creators in the long-term) may be higher and the current climate means a greater proportion of running costs may be covered. As such, venues and festivals can ask for administration costs of up to 25% of the request amount so long as higher costs are justified in a written application. This may include additional marketing spend, project management costs or other facilities that help creators.
SUPPORT FOR RECORDINGS
In response to increasing demand from applicants, PRS Foundation will now support recording costs through The Open Fund, Women Make Music, Momentum and some other schemes.
Recording costs that we can support:
- studio recording time
- producer fees
- live recordings
- rehearsal time
- musician fees
- equipment hire
Related costs we are unable or less likely to support through The Open Fund and Women Make Music:
- manufacturing costs
- building a studio
- equipment purchase
- recordings made outside of the UK
- artists based outside of the UK
- those already funded through our Open Funding programmes in the same calendar year
- rosters of multiple artists, such as those signed to the same label or management company
Can signed artists or music creators receive support from PRS Foundation?
It should be noted that for applicants working with record labels, it is expected that labels are making a fair contribution towards recording costs or costs associated with recordings (e.g. release costs, marketing costs).
PRS Foundation recognises the valuable role of record labels and in most cases, signed artists are eligible for support. For example, 50% of Momentum Fund grantees are signed to independent labels.
However, in some cases support from record labels – or other companies making significant investments – outweighs the need for funding. It is therefore highly unlikely that PRS Foundation schemes are relevant to those signed to major labels, and for those signed to large independent labels, a strong case is needed.
For most schemes, applicants will be asked why – if working with a label or another investor – support is still required; and applicants signed to labels are more likely to be supported where the label is making a significant contribution towards projects.
Successful applicants must display the PRS Foundation logo (or relevant logo strips) clearly on the release of any recording supported by PRS Foundation. We must see proof of this before we can release the final instalment of your grant.
Can I apply for funding to record in a home studio?
If you are applying to record using a home or mobile recording studio, you will be asked to provide examples of previous work created using that equipment.
Can I apply for funding to record with a producer or studio based outside of the UK?
In most cases, the musician(s) and producer(s) and studio must be UK-based for all funding schemes. An exception may be made – though rarely – for the Momentum Music Fund, or where international recording can be justified (e.g. through The Writer Producer Fund).
Will PRS Foundation own the recording?
No, PRS Foundation will not own any rights in relation to the recording. However, most funding offer letters include a term allowing PRS Foundation access to use publicly available recordings for promotional purposes.
Can the grant award support additional costs such as travel and accommodation?
Yes, you can apply for support to cover the associated costs of your recording. These include: studio recording time, producer fees, live recordings, rehearsal time, mastering, musician fees, accommodation, travel and equipment hire. All additional costs outlined in our criteria are eligible to be included in the same application.
I am a writer-producer/producer composing my own music, can I apply to record in a professional studio?
Yes, producers composing their own music can apply to record in a professional studio. We also set up The Writer Producer Fund which supports career development of songwriters and writer-producers.
I am writer-producer composing my own music, can I apply on behalf of an artist I’m working with?
Yes, writer-producers composing their own music can apply on behalf of one other artist.
SUPPORT FOR MARKETING
For most PRS Foundation schemes, funding can be allocated to marketing and promotion. This might include PR costs, radio plugging fees, digital marketing costs, design, print and advertising.
For schemes such as The Open Fund and Women Make Music, we will always prioritise Creation and Performance of outstanding music so please note that projects consisting of marketing and promotion only are unlikely to be supported. We therefore advise that budgets including marketing costs also include costs of Creation (i.e. writing, recording, commissions, rehearsal and/or development of new material) and/or Performance (i.e. at least one performance, premiere or showcase, or a tour).
For more industry-facing schemes such as Momentum, exceptions may be made allowing applicants to apply for marketing support only where creation and performance of new music has already been financed.
When applying for projects which include marketing, it is expected that applicants show an understanding of potential audiences and how to target them.
Please check individual scheme criteria before applying for funding for marketing.
Can you help me to access my account?
If you are having problems accessing your Flexigrant portal account, or have issues with your username or password, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I continue working on an online application that I have saved?
When working on an application on PRS Foundation’s Flexigrant portal, you are offered the option to save as you go. At any point you can access drafted applications via the ‘My Applications’ on our portal’s home page.
I can’t find my evaluation when I log back into my account.
Have you completed your full programme of activity for which you applied to PRS Foundation for funding? If so, your evaluation should be online and available to complete via ‘My Applications’. In some cases, forms need to be triggered by our Grants Team, or separate forms are required. Please contact email@example.com with any related questions.
For any other problems encountered when applying, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTACTING US AND COMMUNICATION OF DECISIONS
Can I contact you by phone?
Regrettably, we are unable to take enquiries by phone. If you email us, we will respond to your enquiry within 14 working days.
Can I contact you to make sure my application has been received?
No. We receive hundreds of applications at each deadline and it can take some time before they are all processed. You will receive an automated response stating that your application has been received after submission. You can also check the status of applications via ‘My Applications’ on the portal homepage.
When will I know the outcome of my application?
Decision dates and timeframes are referenced in the relevant scheme pages on our website. Decision timeframes vary from 1-2 weeks for Flash Funding, 6-8 weeks for Momentum, to 12 weeks for The Open Fund and Women Make Music.
For The Open Fund and Women Make Music where there is a 2 Stage application process, we usually inform Stage 1 applicants of decisions within 4-5 weeks, allowing approximately 2 weeks for Stage 2 applications. Please note dates on relevant pages and contact email@example.com if you have not heard within our stated timeframe due to high demand.
Decisions are always relayed by emails triggered through our application portal.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to check inbox and junk email inboxes, and you can check application status via the ‘My Applications’ portal.
If you have not received an official offer of funding, which includes a notification email and an official offer letter, you have not received support and should not proceed with your project with the expectation that PRS Foundation support is in place. Only when an offer letter is received and returned within the requested timeframe should an applicant deliver on the basis that funding is in place.
Do you give feedback if my application is rejected?
We realise that everyone works very hard on their applications, but due to the high amount of submissions received we cannot always provide individual feedback.
Our feedback system is as follows:
- Every unsuccessful applicant will receive notification via an email from our funding portal
- If it is possible to offer individual feedback (e.g. for The Open Fund or Women Make Music Stage 2), we will outline a suitable timeframe (most likely saying that we will contact the applicant within 5 weeks with direct feedback)
- Common reasons for applications not being successful are outlined and we will signpost suitable support
- For those in need of more specific feedback, we will highlight an appropriate date for applicants to call the Grants Team. Our Phone Feedback Days usually take place once every four months.
- If the above interventions are not suitable, our notification email may outline alternative ways in which you can get in touch to request feedback. In those cases, please allow up to 5 weeks for a response before contacting the team again.
PRS FOUNDATION DECISION MAKING AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
All funding decisions are made by PRS Foundation and a group of independent expert advisors, with approval from PRS Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Demand for support is high, with an average success rate of 13% in 2016. Decisions are made based on the criteria stated in our Guidance Pages.
If as an unsuccessful applicant you are unhappy with the funding decision and believe correct procedure has not been adhered to, please read the below Grievance Procedure. Please note, grievance must relate to procedure not to decisions made. Funding decisions made by our Board of Trustees are final.
In the first instance, please outline your grievance by emailing PRS Foundation’s Senior Grants and Programmes Manager, Joe Frankland: firstname.lastname@example.org who has responsibility for day to day management of complaints received by the organisation. Joseph will discuss your grievance with the relevant grant scheme manager, with funding partners for schemes such as the Momentum Music Fund or International Showcase Fund, or with Senior Management and/or Link Trustees for other funding schemes, and where appropriate will respond within 14 days.
If you feel this response does not meet/has not met your expectations, please complete the below ‘Making A Complaint’ form. A completed form should be sent to Joseph Frankland*. You will receive a written response to the complaint within two weeks.
The aim of this process is to resolve your complaint quickly by the member of staff you speak to initially, however there are circumstances where this process will be passed to the Chief Executive Officer; however this will not affect the response time.
If you are still not satisfied with the response to your official complaint, you may request to be put in touch with Chief Executive Officer, Vanessa Reed. A letter to the Chief Executive Officer must be sent within one month of the response provided under the initial complaint and you will receive an immediate written acknowledgement.
If your complaint is about a specific member of staff, it is recommended that you raise your complaint in writing to the Chief Executive Officer, Vanessa Reed (address your complaint to Vanessa Reed, 2 Pancras Square, London, N1C 4AG.
*In the case of the International Showcase Fund, a completed form should be sent to Joe Frankland as well as to The Musicians’ Union’s General Secretary, Horace Trubridge. As a non-voting/scoring partner, Horace is best placed to make an impartial and final decision on behalf of the International Showcase Fund partners based on the information provided by the applicant and PRS Foundation.
PRS Foundation can accept complaints from third parties (with consent provided) and will work continually to ensure that the Complaints procedure is wholly accessible. You may only write based on procedural grounds and not on the funding decision itself.
MAKING A COMPLAINT FORM
Applicant Phone Contact:
Application Reference Number:
Nature of Complaint:
1,000 Words Max
Are our criteria and FAQs clear enough? Do you have feedback or more questions? Email us.