FAC petition to stop PRS Foundation funding cuts passes 1,000 signatures 05 Jul 2022
Artists, songwriters and composers including Sam Fender, Anna Calvi, Joff Oddie (Wolf Alice) and Ayanna Witter-Johnson urge UK collection society, PRS for Music, to reverse proposed 60% cuts to the PRS Foundation
The Foundation is the UK's leading funder of new music and talent development
Data indicates PRS has fallen behind other European collection societies in the size and scale of its cultural funding
Calls increase for PRS to redistribute millions of pounds in unmatched "black box" revenues to support emerging and grassroots talent
A Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) petition calling on PRS for Music to reconsider its recently announced funding cuts to PRS Foundation, the UK's leading funder of new music and talent development, has accumulated more than 1,000 signatures.
Artists, songwriters and composers, including Sam Fender, Anna Calvi, Joff Oddie and Ayanna Witter-Johnson, are urging their collecting society to reverse the decision, which plans to slash the Foundation's funding by 60% (from £2.5m to £1m) after 2024.
Sam Fender:"Being given the chance to develop properly as an emerging artist makes a huge difference, and PRS Foundation's support helps so many artists like me in all corners of the UK. So, I urge PRS to rethink and make sure enough money is available for the next generation."
Anna Calvi:"I have been fortunate enough to have received PRS Foundation funding in my career, which was incredibly important for me to realise my creative vision. This was in 2017, and with the current state of the industry, funding has become more important now than ever.
"To learn of the news that PRS are cutting the funding budget by 60% is really heartbreaking. It makes me concerned for the current generation of incredible talent (and ones to follow) and the drastic lack of support which they will not have the opportunity to access. PRS must reverse this decision and return to a position where they support the incredible talent our country has to offer."
Wolf Alice's Joff Oddie: "The Foundation's legacy of supporting upcoming talent speaks for itself, having been instrumental to the success of countless artists from all genres and backgrounds. In 2014 Wolf Alice were given funding to go to SXSW in Texas; a trip that proved instrumental in opening up the American market for us. That same year Glass Animals, Slaves and Sophie also received funding. These cuts will have a horrific impact, and leave our brilliant, British music industry much poorer. I really hope PRS will reconsider and continue to support emerging British talent."
Ayanna Witter-Johnson:"The support that PRSF grants provide are invaluable to the landscape of British music. So many grantees have gone on to win and be nominated for the highest accolades in music worldwide which is not only great for artists but in turn all parts of the wider music industry including venues, broadcasters, streaming platforms, publishers, labels and concert halls.
"As a singer/songwriter, cellist and composer, I have been a recipient of several PRSF grants which have been instrumental in developing all areas of my creative practice which have led to my MOBO nomination, collaborating with remarkable musicians and co-writing on a Grammy award nominated release. At this particular moment in time, coming out of a pandemic where artists are rebuilding their momentum and overcoming challenges that Brexit has influenced with regards to touring, it's incredibly important to support future talent as much as possible.
"For many years PRS' contribution to charitable causes has been approximately 0.3% of their turnover and decreasing that amount would have devastating effects on the future of British talent. I do hope that the PRS are willing to consult their members and find a solution that sees a return to their original level of much needed investment in young artists and even increase it to 0.5% in order to grow that support in the future.
"Now more than ever is the time to invest in the heartbeat of the music industry - the music creator!"
Launched in 2000 as an independent charity, PRS Foundation is widely recognised for the impact of its work. Supporting all genres of new music, its grantees have gone on to be winners and nominees of some of music's most sought after accolades, including Grammys, BRITs, MOBOs and Mercury Prizes, such as Wolf Alice, Arlo Parks, Floating Points, Dave, Little Simz, Sam Fender and Anna Meredith.
More than 90 performers who recently played Glastonbury Festival previously received Foundation funding.
PRS for Music's £2.5m donation to the Foundation represents just 0.32% of the society's collections. This is significantly less than equivalent donations made by PRS' European counterparts.
For example, French collecting society, SACEM, donated €32.4m for cultural and artistic projects in 2019, while GEMA in Germany donated up to 10% of its collections for social and cultural purposes. Danish collecting society, KODA, invested €9.6m in its Kultur Fund.
This shortfall has increased calls for PRS to redistribute some of the millions of pounds in unmatched "black box" royalties which the society collects, where the owner of a song or composition cannot be traced, and use this revenue to increase funding for the Foundation and other grassroots causes. Currently, and unless determined otherwise by the PRS Members' Council, such "non-distributable" revenues are allocated pro-rata amongst existing writer and publisher members.*
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition:
"Funding from the PRS Foundation has become absolutely essential for thousands of UK songwriters and artists. In the wake of COVID-19's catastrophic impacts, as well as the wider economic situation, this is a terrible moment to be making cuts.
"There is, however, a potential solution. Rerouting some of the millions of pounds of unmatched black box revenues collected by PRS would surely provide an opportunity to actually increase the Foundation's funding. If the PRS Members' Council agreed this course of action, it could be one of the most significant ever investments in UK talent."
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