Over fifty music organisations, including several from the jazz community, are co-signatories to the following statement published today 6 June 2022:
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“THE FUTURE HEALTH OF THE UK MUSIC INDUSTRY — AND OUR EXISTING HARD-WON IMPROVEMENTS IN REPRESENTATION FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIES — ARE UNDER THREAT FROM A DRASTIC AND POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING 60% CUT IN GRASSROOTS FUNDING FOR PRS FOUNDATION, VOTED FOR BY THE PRS MEMBERS COUNCIL AND ANNOUNCED BY CEO ANDREA C. MARTIN.
We respect the commitment displayed by PRS for Music through its 22 years of investmentin emerging UK talent from the grassroots up. As the principal patron of the PRS Foundation, PRS for Music has contributed significantly towards making the UK music industry more accessible, more equitable, more creative and more profitable.
However, both PRS for Music’s track record and the music industry itself will be damaged for the foreseeable future if its unprecedented cutback of PRS Foundation funding is enacted.
We stand together to urge PRS for music to halt its proposed cuts to PRS Foundation and reverse a decision that could set the fragile post-Covid music economy back by decades.
The Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. In 2021, the Foundation backed nearly 500 new music initiatives, enriching the prospects of thousands of emerging music creators. Each year, Foundation alumni are in evidence at awards ceremony nomination lists – BRITS, MOBO, Mercury Prize, Grammys, AIM, Jazz FM and Ivors – and in the charts – Sam Fender, Dave, Yard Act, AJ Tracey, Glass Animals and Little Simz.¹
With 60% less investment, there will be 60% fewer successes. We do not believe a drastic rollback to 2000-levels of investment is fair, reasonable or even justifiable.
In April 2022 PRS CEO Andrea C Martin declared in Music Week;
“The popularity of PRS members’ music throughout 2021 drove a significant increase in revenues from Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music … up 42.5% since 2020, and 45.5% since 2019.”²
In Martin’s address to PRS members at their May 2022 AGM, she added:
“In a year punctuated by continued uncertainty we achieved revenue growth of over twenty-two percent, returning to near 2019 levels .. I am pleased to say we had a very good year in 2021.”³
In reference to the same PRS statement, it was stated; “[related] income has declined significantly over recent years, not least because of historically low-interest rates“⁴
This is in contrast to the UK interest rates however, which at the time of writing are at their highest level in 13 years.⁵
The importance of Foundation-supported programmes such as KEYCHANGE and POWER UP cannot be overstated. They drive much-needed diversity of place and people in the UK music industry, responding to grassroots groundswells as well as Government initiatives such as “Levelling Up”.
In terms of impact, 60% of the Foundation’s music creator and 67% of organisation grantees are based outside London; 63% of creator grantees are women, mixed gender groups and gender minorities; nearly half are from ethnic minorities; 15% identify as Disabled; and over a quarter identify as LGBTQIA+.⁶
As signatories to this letter, we applaud the adoption of a “growth mindset“⁷ by the PRS and in doing so urge you to value the needs of the sector and look at alternative means of increasing income other than clipping the wings and pulling the rug from under its much loved and much relied on PRS Foundation.
Our work together with PRS Foundation in developing talented PRS members and future members helps to generate the creative assets of the music industry, contributes to PRS Revenue, the UK economy and to the international cultural landscape.
As Andrea C Martin said in her AGM address; “we must be brilliant at the basics“. For this to happen, full funding for the Foundation’s work is vital.
Otherwise, as Jess Partridge stated in The Guardian, “the number of people who can afford to make music is going to be dramatically reduced, (we will not have) an industry in which people from different backgrounds are empowered to participate.“
(End of Statement)
LIST OF SIGNATORIES
Charisse Beaumont – Black Lives in Music (London)
Michael Bonner – Moving on Music (Belfast)
Nick Brealey – Britten Sinfonia (Cambridge)
Dr Greg Caffrey – Hard Rain Ensemble (Belfast)
Annabella Coldrick – Music Managers Forum (UK)
Graham Davis – IVORS Academy (UK)
Hamish Dunbar – OTO projects (London)
Susana Eastburn – Sound & Music (London)
Polly Eldridge – Sound UK (Bristol)
Lizzy Ellis – Saffron (Bristol)
Tony Ereira – Come Play With Me (Leeds)
Richard Foote – b Music (Birmingham)
Natalia Franklin – Non Classical (London)
Amy Frenchum – Future Bubblers/Brownswood Records (London)
David Gaydon – Cheltenham Festivals
Chloe Gebhardt – LIMF Academy (Liverpool)
Dominic Gray – Opera North (Leeds)
Yvette Griffith – Jazz re:freshed (London)
Matt Griffiths – Youth Music (UK)
Spike Griffiths – Forte Project (Wales)
John Harris – Red Note Ensemble (Scotland)
Charlene Hegarty – Oh Yeah Ireland (Ireland)
Janine Irons – Tomorrow’s Warriors (London)
Andy Jones – Focus Wales (Wales)
David Jones – Serious (London)
Baby J – Baby People (Derby)
Deborah Keyser – Music Centre Wales (Wales)
Keranjeet Kaur – South Asian Arts (Leeds)
Mark Kass – The Jazz Centre (London)
Pasco Kevlin – Norwich Arts Centre (Norwich)
Debra King – Brighter Sounds (Manchester)
Michael Lambert – Wide CIC (Edinburgh)
David Martin – Featured Artists Coalition (UK)
Steve Mead – Jazz Festival (Manchester)
Carien Meijer – Drake Music (London)
Pamela McCormick – UD Music (London) Graham McKenzie – HCMF (Huddersfield)
Claire Moran – Cryptic (Glasgow)
Sheryl Nwosu – Black Music Coalition
Paul Pacifico – Association of Independent Music (UK)
Crispin Parry – British Underground (London)
Owen Parry – Bristol Beacon (Bristol)
Malaki Patterson – The Music Works (Gloucester)
Abigail Pogson – Sage (Newcastle)
Fiona Robinson – Sound (North East Scotland)
Mick Ross – Generator (Newcastle)
Orphy Robinson & Ros Rigby – Jazz Promotion Network (London)
Jo Ross – Oxford Contemporary Music (Oxford)
Thursa Sanderson – Drake Music Scotland
Adam Szabo – Manchester Collective (Manchester)
Ammo Talwar – Punch Records (Birmingham) JJ Tatten – The Warren (Hull)
Matt Taylor -Music Producers Guild (UK)
Cleveland Watkiss – Freedom: Art of Improvisation (London)
Mark Williams – HeartnSoul (London)
Kate Wilson – Britten Pears Arts (Suffolk)