Following last week’s shock announcement by PRS for Music that their donations to PRS Foundation will reduce by 60% from 2024, Sound and Music would like to share our dismay and deep concerns about the impact of this decision.
PRS Foundation provides vital funding, opportunities, advice and advocacy for thousands of grassroots artists and the new music sector at large. It plays a pivotal role in our ever-fragile ecosystem in ensuring that the music industry in the future is more representative, and that a wider range of talent is empowered to flourish. This is essential for the future of music.
PRS’s decision would see their support for the Foundation slashed from £2.5m per year to £1m from 2024. The impact of this reduction on artists and on the fragile ecology of support for early career artists, particularly those from backgrounds that face barriers, will be devastating.
PRS justified this move stating: “Donations from PRS for Music are generated separately from the royalties paid out to our members. This income has declined significantly over recent years. As such, the difficult decision was made to reduce our donations.”
However, Sound and Music remains deeply concerned about the long-lasting impact this decision will have on composers and music creators.
Susanna Eastburn MBE, Chief Executive of Sound and Music, said:
“The number of composers and music creators I know who have received PRS Foundation support at a pivotal moment is literally countless. I find the decision by PRS hard to understand since this nurturing of the grass roots seems so essential for music’s future.
PRS Foundation are also a vital catalyst for the ecology of support and empowerment of music creators across the country, particularly for those who face barriers because of background, geography or lack of access.
I implore the PRS Members Council and senior executive to properly consult and consider the impact of this decision on artists and their livelihoods. From an external perspective this decision came completely out of the blue and at the worst possible time, in the aftermath of the pandemic when artists have already been hit so hard.
It is also difficult for many of us to understand the current mechanism for how PRS funds PRSF and why other options are not possible for an organisation with total revenues approaching £800m (and the ambition to become a billion-pound society in royalties paid out), In this context, the cut in support for PRS Foundation seems small for PRS, but its impact on artists and the ecology will be devastatingly huge.”
Sound and Music is a proud member of the PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner Network and recipient of PRS Foundation funding. This enables us to support composers, artists and music creators across the country to make new music and bring it to new audiences through our Composer-Curator and New Voices programmes. And like PRS Foundation, we are committed to creating a flourishing, vibrant and sustainable new music scene now and for the future.
We are deeply concerned about the cut in funding. Whilst we appreciate having two years confirmed at current levels, the reality of planning cycles means that the impact of the decision will be felt imminently so we urgently ask PRS Members Council to revisit the decision.
We are concerned that the voices of composers and music creators themselves are not being sufficiently listened to and are committed to ensuring these are brought into the debate.
We are also in close contact with our partners in the sector to ensure that our efforts are collaborative and co-ordinated.
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