Guidance and FAQs for The Hitmaker Fund
Why is it important for the PRS Foundation to start a songwriter fund?
Songwriters and producers are at the centre of the music industry, creating the content the whole industry is centred around. Supporting the creation and performance of new music is at the heart of what the Foundation does. With The Hitmaker Fund we’ll be supporting the creation of new music by investing in talented writers and producers to help them build their careers at crucial stages.
Launched in 2017 as a response to the long-term career needs of those working behind the scenes, The Hitmaker Fund (formerly The Writer Producer Fund) was initiated by PRS Foundation with BASCA Trust. The rebranded Hitmaker Fund is now delivered by PRS Foundation.
From 2021, Spotify will be the exclusive digital partner for Hitmaker. This new partnership will mean, more talented producers and songwriters will be supported across three deadlines in 2021 and that there will be a closer working relationship between 2021 supported grantees and the Spotify team for promotional and marketing opportunities.
The Hitmaker Fund fits alongside existent industry funds, PPL Momentum Fund and the International Showcase Fund, filling the gap of career development for writers and producers as opposed to the grants available for one-off projects through The Open Fund. This fund demonstrates our commitment to supporting writers and producer-writers as well as artists who write their own music.
Who can apply?
UK based songwriters and producers applying for The Hitmaker Fund must have a previous professional track record as a writer or a producer. If you are a producer and performer, you cannot apply in a performing capacity. You will have to state your case as a producer and songwriter only. Performing Producers and DJ’s should apply for Artist based projects through the PPL Momentum Fund / Open Fund (see more below).
The songwriter / producer must be a registered PRS For Music member with a CAE number.
While the Hitmaker Fund is open to all eligible applicants, in recognition of a gender gap in recent applications, the current round (deadline of 13th October 2021) of the Hitmaker Fund is only open to eligible women and gender minority ^ applicants. The next round (early 2022) will be open to all eligible music creators of any gender indentity.
Applications can be made by women and gender minority^ songwriters or producers directly or by their representatives (this includes writing duos or collectives where at least one member is a woman or gender minority creator). Those who can apply on their behalf include;
- Music Publisher
- Record label
- Trusted advisor
Who cannot apply?
- Artists/bands (see below).
- Those not based in the UK.
- Writers and producers who are just starting out, demoing and developing. We are looking for writers and producers with successes in their writing careers and they must have a previous track record.
- Previous recipients of Hitmaker or The Writer Producer Fund cannot apply again.
- If you have received other ‘Next Level’ grants (e.g. the PPL Momentum Fund or The Composers’ Fund), it is highly unlikely you will be eligible for Hitmaker and you must contact our team before applying.
- For the current round (deadline of 13th October 2021) those who are not women or gender minority. ^
^ What do we mean by women and gender minority?
We acknowledge everyone who is underrepresented in music and might have encountered barriers because of their gender. As well as supporting cis women facing barriers because of their gender, we welcome applications and will support and empower minority genders including (but not limited to) agender and non-binary people. We welcome applications from trans people (AMAB and AFAB), and we are happy to speak to you if you are unsure if this targeted round is for you, so we can support your application.
We believe that inclusivity and intersectionality are vital in the steps that we make towards equality and we want to ensure all our programmes are as inclusive as possible. If you are unsure if this targeted round is for you is for you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone can speak to you about this targeted round.
For more information on different gender identities, please see here.
If you are an artist or band, the following project-based funding schemes may be more relevant to you:
–PPL Momentum – supports artists/bands who make their own music and are at crucial career tipping points with team members in place to set up long-term careers – up to £15k for recording, touring, marketing, etc.
–International Showcase Fund – supports artists/bands at international showcase and conference events. Once you are invited to take part in international conference events, you can apply for up to £5k of funding.
– The Open Fund for Music Creators & Women Make Music – up to £5k of funding for projects which result in the creation and performance of outstanding new music. This differs from The Hitmaker fund which focusses on long-term career development.
NB: PPL Momentum funded artists cannot be supported through The Hitmaker Fund.
NB: If as a writer/producer you have been invited to attend a one-off international showcase or conference event, we advise you to apply to the International Showcase Fund and not The Hitmaker Fund.
What activity will The Hitmaker Fund support?
It is down to the applicant to outline areas of spend which will have an impact on their career. Applications must justify areas of spend and each application needs a strong plan which alongside music submitted will form the basis of a decision.
Activity supported is likely to include:
- Studio hire costs (e.g. daily studio hire, tracking, production and mixing fees) *This should be detailed in your application form with a budget, timeline and trajectory*
- Costs relating to songwriter camps, co-writes, collaboration, etc.
- Creative / professional development (including training courses if applicable)
- Training / Skills courses at places such as Point Blank / SSE
- Project related maternity or child care costs
In exceptional circumstances, the Fund may also support the following areas but please ensure justification is strong and envisaged outcomes are clearly explained to allow advisors to make informed decisions:
- Time to create
- Writing space rental or lease (UK spaces only)
- Purchase of equipment / software / hardware
- International activity that could build your profile and benefit your creative development (other than international conference events which can be covered by the International Showcase Fund.) This must be evidence based with 5 confirmed meetings and given the ongoing effect of Covid-19 and travel restrictions we encourage applicants to consider remote, virtual or pivoted international activity. We will constantly review this with our advisors and hope to make an update when there is more clarity.
What will you have to tell us in your application?
Songwriters and producers applying for funding will have to make strong cases for funding by demonstrating that you are;
– At a crucial tipping point stage in their career
– Have a previous track record of getting recent cuts, co-writes and collaborations
– Are proactive with their own careers to get cuts, co-writes and collaborations
– Are clear on the type of records you want to write and produce
– Must be able to propose where the funding will be spent, how it will help take them to the next stages in their career and develop them creatively and professionally
Applicants will be asked if you are signed to a publishing company. If the songwriter or producer is signed to a publishing company, we will ask why they cannot cover the costs of proposed activity.
An example of questions which will be asked are;
- What would you like the PRS Foundation to fund?
- Why does this activity need PRS Foundation support? With demonstration of how you will reach the next stages of your career.
- Please tell us about your 2 most recent writing cuts, co-writers or collaborations and how the opportunity to write on those records came about? Please include the publishing split you as a songwriter received from this record
- Why is now the right time to receive funding from the PRS Foundation and how will this contribute to the next stage of your career?
- Who are you working with?
- Are you published? If so, why can’t your publisher cover the costs of your proposed activity?
If you are on a major publisher, then you are ineligible to apply for this fund. If you are coming out of a deal, you will have to have come to the end of your deal and include this as evidence in your application form. Once you have come to the end of your deal, then you will be considered as eligible to apply.
What will success look like?
PRS Foundation will fund developmental activities which take place within two years. We are looking for songwriters/producers to develop a strong songwriting catalogue and gain a deeper experience of the music industry both domestically and internationally.
Successful outcomes will include:
- Securing cuts, co-writers and collaborations – albums/single credits
- Exploring/exploiting new income streams outside of mainstream chart hits – library music, jingle writing, film music, sync, etc.
- Making new connections which will help you long term in your career
- Being accepted onto credible writing trips and camps which could result in new cuts, co-writes and collaborations / contacts which will open up new opportunities
- Developing industry networks and teams to support your career
- Developing skills as a behind the scenes songwriter/and/or producer
How will this help develop a songwriter or producer’s career?
- It will broaden a songwriter’s horizons so you are open to more domestic and international opportunities
- It will educate around songwriter / producer deals and new ways of working
- It will give songwriters and producers access to a group meeting for all grantees plus one-to-one meetings with PRS Foundation staff at the beginning and end of your activity timeline in order to steer grantees
- Songwriters and producers are able to access, on request one-to-one meetings with PRS Foundation staff to support their next steps after being funded.
- Successful applicants can be introduced to trade bodies and organisations which support songwriters and producers.
How much can applicants apply for?
- Applicants can apply for between £5,000 – £10,000
How many songwriters / producers will be supported?
The Hitmaker Fund will support up to 18 songwriters / producers each year.