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Home > Funding > Funding for Music Creators > All Levels > Sustaining Creativity Fund

Sustaining Creativity Fund

PRS Foundation’s Sustaining Creativity Fund
helping you to get back on track

Thanks to the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief Fund and generous donations from members of the public, PRS Foundation launched the Sustaining Creativity Fund to support artists, songwriters and composers to create and develop when they need it most.

We have adapted Round 3 to provide targeted support for Black music creators in any genre and gender across the UK who are affected COVID-19 pandemic. This is one immediate step in our commitment to making meaningful changes to PRS Foundation programmes, you can find more information about those commitments here.

We encourage applications from UK-based Black music creators, working in any genre and at any career level who have been experiencing hardship from loss of work due to COVID-19.

And we are partnering with the following dynamic Black-led organisations,  ringfencing a number of grants to Sustaining Creativity Fund applicants who have come through their programmes:

Below is the revised guidance for Round 3:

  • Designed for Black music creators experiencing hardship from loss of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • This fund helps UK music creators to do what they do best, using a new model to support music making, however that looks
  • We will offer timely grant support of £750 to make a difference and will support outstanding talent in flexible ways
  • The grant can be spent on anything that enables music creators to continue to create exceptional new music
  • This includes using support to adapt and sustain careers by covering lost income, supporting your costs or cash-flow
  • It allows creators to spend time writing, recording, collaborating, innovating and making creative plans
  • Funding will be available to those making music in any genre

This is a new type of support which responds to the changing needs of creators. For those experiencing significant impact on their work, income and ability to complete planned musical activities, we want to enable creativity and to help grantees to be in a good position to fulfil creative and career potential, breaking down the huge barriers presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We see this new Fund as sitting between the immediate hardship funding available from our friends and partners, and our other open and accessible programmes.

Although our decision-making and payment process will be fast to respond to needs as best as we can, this is not an emergency hardship fund designed to immediately meet pressing and dire financial needs. Whilst a number of emergency hardship funding opportunities have been paused, our friends and industry partners have created this central source of support and advice for musicians during the pandemic which includes links to current Hardship Funds and relief opportunities announced by UK Arts Councils: http://www.coronamusicians.info

 

Guidance and FAQs

Am I eligible?
Who shouldn’t apply and where should they go instead?
Why is PRS Foundation running a targeted deadline?
How much is available through the Sustaining Creativity Fund?
When are the deadlines?
How and when will decisions be made?
Support for music creators with access requirements
Can we apply more than once?
Can we be in receipt of or apply to other hardship funds?
Can I apply if I’ve already had a grant from PRS Foundation?
What can the grant be spent on?
What are you looking for in the application form and why?

Am I eligible?

This Round 3 deadline is exclusively here to support Black music creators who have already started their careers and make outstanding music who have lost income as a result of Covid-19.

We will prioritise emerging music creators experiencing professional hardship who will struggle to sustain creativity and may not progress from early career stages without this support.

Eligible applicants will be:

  • Black UK-based music creators – meaning Songwriters or Composers, plus Artists, Bands, Producers or Performers who play an active role in the creation of new music (i.e. songwriting and composition)
  • Active music creators, having been involved in the creation of new music for at least 18 months
  • Reliant on music income to get by
  • Experiencing financial and professional hardship from loss of music work due to the Covid-19 pandemic. You must be able to prove that the pandemic has led to loss of work (e.g. gig cancellations, loss of commissions, loss of other music related income)
  • Experiencing significant impact on their work, monthly income and ability to complete planned musical activities
  • In need of financial support from this Fund in the next 3 months to get back on track
  • Self-employed, freelance music creators, or currently unemployed^

You will be asked to describe your current financial situation and need for relief funding, and we reserve the right to ask for evidence of funding need.

We can fund bands but prioritise supporting the main music creator (e.g. main songwriter) and are less likely to fund two or more members of the same band. Where a band is formed of Black and non-Black members, we will only accept applications from Black band members. We can fund two different creators who want to collaborate on the same project so long as we are not double funding that creative project.

^ We continue to monitor support available from the UK Government and will adjust our criteria and decision-making according to who can access financial support elsewhere. We may prioritise self-employed, freelance or currently unemployed music creators who cannot access enough government support or cannot wait for government support to arrive. We may also consider applications from those who fall between the cracks. At time of writing this would include self-employed creators who cannot wait until June to get by, and those with Ltd. Companies who need to avoid furloughing themselves in order to access support.

Who shouldn’t apply and where should they go instead?

  • Music creators who are not Black
  • Musicians, Performers or Producers who do not make an active contribution to songwriting or composition
  • Students in Further or Higher Education
  • Music creators signed to major labels or major music publishers
  • Those who have not been creating music for at least 18 months
  • Those not in need of financial relief, including those with significant savings (over £5,000), expected payments or other funds they can rely on to get by^

This Fund prioritises emerging creators because we feel they will most benefit from this level of grant support to sustain creativity. More established creators are less likely to fall back to square one and more likely to benefit from larger grants and other types of support listed here.

Music creators and performers in need of immediate payments for pressing or dire financial crisis should instead apply to other Hardship Funds, our friends and industry partners have created this central source of support and advice for musicians during the Covid-19 pandemic which includes links to other Hardship Funds and relief opportunities announced by UK Arts Councils: http://www.coronamusicians.info

If you are not experiencing professional hardship, from loss of music work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, please do not apply. Denying those with genuine needs at this time damages the wider music community and you will be slowing the process for everyone.

If you need a larger grant for creative projects, PRS Foundation offers a range of music creator funding opportunities which may be more relevant to your situation. We remain an open, accessible funder for UK based music creators, do not expect significant delays to deadlines or processes and may also re-purpose our Open Programme which offers up to £5,000 for music creators. Click here for other PRS Foundation opportunities. You may also consider applying to your UK Arts Council for new types of larger grant funding.

^ We continue to monitor support available from the UK Government and will adjust our criteria and decision-making according to who can access financial support elsewhere. We may prioritise self-employed, freelance or currently unemployed music creators who cannot access enough government support or cannot wait for government support to arrive. We may also consider applications from those who fall between the cracks. At time of writing this would include self-employed creators who cannot wait until June to get by, and those with Ltd. Companies who need to avoid furloughing themselves in order to access support.

Why is PRS Foundation running a targeted deadline?

We are taking this action because we recognise that Black creatives experience many barriers to progression including:

  • Structural and systemic racism, everyday prejudice and injustice in the industry and within music spaces
  • Underrepresentation on-stage, in studios, in the media and in every sub-sector of the music industry
  • Marginalisation within the music industry, and a lack of visibility on and off stage
  • Inequitable financial benefit – with historic exploitation of Black music, the Black community received a disproportionate share of the financial rewards of Black music’s success

The economic impact of COVID-19 and the decimation of music income since the lockdown began means underrepresented music creators and industry professionals are likely to face a greater struggle to recovery and thrive in the future.

The pandemic has shed light on systemic financial inequalities too, with Black and ethnic minority workers more likely in lower paid roles, furloughed or laid off by companies, and exacerbating music creator income disparity.

As a funder we recognise that across the charitable sector there is historic underrepresentation through traditional funding and a lack of change over the last decades and increased COVID-related pressures have made this even more stark.

Accessibility and visibility are issues for many funding schemes and underrepresented creatives are often less able to apply to fast-turnaround open calls.

In our first two rounds of the Sustaining Creativity Fund, demand from Black applicants has been very positive compared to UK population stats. However, compared to PRS Foundation’s other music creator programmes, there was lower demand from Black creators, and notably, a 5% difference in the proportion of grants pledged – with 13% of grants going to Black creators compared to our 18% average.

We want to address this.

How much is available through the Sustaining Creativity Fund?

Grant support of £750 is available to each grantee.

Spotify generously matched donations made here pound for pound until 9th August 2020 when they finally reached their $10million worldwide donations total to a selected number of organisations supporting music creators affected by the pandemic. Donations so far have enabled us to  support 147 grantees across two deadlines. Should donations allow, in this final, targeted deadline we expect to be able to support 50 grantees.

The level of competition means we will only be able to support a small proportion of applicants.

When are the deadlines?

The Sustaining Creativity Fund responds to changing creator needs quickly but does not compete with emergency relief funding which meets immediate, pressing and dire financial needs. We want to avoid creators being overwhelmed by many new funds, deadlines and ‘first-come-first-served’ anxiety.

Our deadline and decision timing will be:

Which Deadline Open for applications Deadline to apply Decisions made
Deadline 3  Thu 16 July Mon 10 Aug 6pm* Tue 1 Sept

*those with additional access requirements can request a two-day extension

How and when will decisions be made?

PRS Foundation will share eligible applications with Black music expert advisors who will score applications and make recommendations. This tried and trusted system is the bedrock of PRS Foundation’s successful decision-making process, and at this difficult time allows us to pay self-employed, freelance and unemployed industry professionals where appropriate.

Successful applicants will be issued offer letters and we may request evidence of loss of income before paying grants. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed by email. High demand means our usual ‘phone feedback day’ offer may not be available but we will outline common reasons some were chosen over others and will signpost you to other available support.

This is not a ‘first-come-first-served’ relief fund so any application submitted will be considered at the same time and against the same criteria.

We will ringfence money for some under-represented groups who are most at risk.

Support for music creators with access requirements

We are committed to inclusion and accessibility. PRS Foundation is part of Attitude is Everything’s Next Stage Funding group, focused on removing barriers in the music industry for artists with impairments or long term health conditions.

We understand that fast-turnaround deadlines and form-filling can present challenges for some creators with access requirements. To reduce barriers, we will take requests for additional advice, video application options and a 2-day deadline extension before 6pm on 10 August. Please contact exceptionalcircumstances@prsfoundation.com if your access requirements mean you need extra support. We may be in a position to offer ‘top-up’ funding of up to £250 for additional access requirements.

In normal circumstances PRS Foundation allows applicants to our open programme to choose between written and video application formats. With the nature of this fund and expected number of applications within a short time period, we are unable to do so by default.

In keeping with our commitment to Fair Access Principles, we may also ringfence money for under-represented groups who are most at risk of financial hardship.

Can we apply more than once? 

If you were not selected for support in the first or second, we may invite you to reapply in Deadline 3 if there is still a financial need.

Can we be in receipt of or apply to other hardship funds?

Being in receipt of Hardship Funding doesn’t automatically discount you from receiving this Fund, but at least for Deadline 1 we will ask and we may factor this into our decision-making process to ensure a fair proportion of grants go to those not in receipt of other Hardship Funding.

Can I apply if I’ve already had a grant from PRS Foundation?

Yes – if you’ve been a PRS Foundation grantee in the past, you can still apply.

We may prioritise first time PRS Foundation grantees. Those in receipt of funding for a current project are less of a priority because they can access other support from PRS Foundation.

If you have already received funding through the Sustaining Creativity Fund, you cannot apply to this round.

What can the grant be spent on?

The £750 grant can be spent on anything that enables Black UK-based music creators to continue to do what they do best – creating exceptional new music.

This includes using support to adapt and sustain careers by covering lost income and contributing to immediate costs. It allows creators to spend time writing, recording, collaborating, innovating and making creative plans.

Eligible expenditure would therefore include:

  • Covering loss of work and music-related income due to the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g. lost income from cancelled activities)
  • Music Creator fee (i.e. a fee to cover your creation time, or a fee which helps you to contribute to living costs while you create and get back on track)
  • Other costs relating to creative activity (e.g. recording costs, contributions to creative collaborators, training, costs relating to digital sharing, costs of keeping creator-run studios going)
  • Equipment costs
  • Marketing/PR costs

We understand that this is a challenging time in terms of financial and emotional wellbeing, and that pressure to create may be an issue for some. This is a new type of support which responds to the changing needs of creators. We want give creators a purpose and goal. And we want them to be in a good position to fulfil creative and career potential, helping to break down the huge barriers presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are not in a position to create or make creative plans, you should consider applying to other Hardship Funds. If you think you need more money to sustain creativity, consider applying to schemes such as the PRS Foundation’s Open Programme or Women Make Music.

We are unable to support any activity which conflicts with official Government advice or UK law during the Covid-19 pandemic time period.

What are you looking for in the application form and why?

We want to offer timely support in flexible ways to outstanding music creators.

The Fund application form includes further instructions, explanations and guidance.

You should prepare to share:

  • Financial information to allow us to assess eligibility and relief needs
  • Information about you as a music creator and your achievements so far
  • Music examples so that advisors can assess the quality and potential of your work as a creator
  • Any creative development plans
  • How this Fund will help you to sustain creativity

We will also ask applicants to outline other development needs so that we can signpost creators with needs to the organisations, individuals and creative peers who are innovating during the lockdown to offer new types of support

We will also monitor the diversity of applicants and grantees, requesting information which will only be seen by PRS Foundation staff. And for this targeted deadline, an optional monitoring page will survey applicants on the barriers they have faced as Black music creators.  We believe that the success of the music we fund is driven by the diversity of the people who create it.

 

 

Ready to apply?

Click here to APPLY once you have read the guidance above