gigmit: Could you please explain exactly what the PRS For Music Foundation is?
Joseph: PRS Foundation is the UK’s charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres. Through various grants schemes and innovative partnerships, we support the creation and performance of outstanding music.
gigmit: Where do you get your funding?
Joseph: Our main donor is UK-based songwriting collection society, PRS for Music, with funds levered elsewhere from the likes of UK based Arts Councils, trusts and foundations, music industry bodies and private partners
gigmit: What about the Momentum Music Fund? What’s the function of it?
Joseph: The Momentum Music Fund was set up by PRS Foundation and Arts Council England to support artists with team members at a crucial career tipping point. Grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 have a significant impact on the careers of artists in contemporary music genres and we have now supported over 200 artists to record, release, tour and promoter their amazing music. We now have additional partners PPL (who support performers) and Spotify who enable Momentum artists to make the most of streaming potential.
gigmit: How many funding schemes are there? Could you please introduce them?
Joseph: PRS Foundation deliberately offer a wide range of schemes, from our large open funding programme (The Open Fund and Women Make Music) which supports music creator development regardless of UK location, genre and career level, to targeted Talent Development schemes such as Flash Funding (fast decision-making schemes with very specific offers), Momentum, The Composers’ Fund or Writer/Producer Fund, partnerships such as our Lynsey de Paul Prize, MOBO Unsung, Take Five or Steve Reid Innovation Award. Each of those schemes are designed for specific music creators and we advise that applicants take a few minutes to explore suitable options.
In terms of International support, our International Showcase Fund offers up to £5,000 to UK based artists who are invited to showcase and do business at international conference events such as Reeperbahn, Eurosonic, Tallinn Music Week or SXSW. We also partner with BBC Music Introducing to offer international platforms to emerging artists, and with British Council to offer residencies across the world.
An essential part of our programmes is support for organisations who deliver expert projects to develop artists, songwriters and composers.
gigmit: What criteria need to be met for the funding?
Joseph: Criteria differs from scheme to scheme but what is common is that expert advisors are involved in final selection. They always assess applications based on how outstanding musical examples are and whether project plans significantly develop the music creators involved.
gigmit: When it comes to a decision who should get the grants: who does it?
Joseph: The majority of our schemes are assessed by external advisors and we have a large network of UK-based advisors representing various genres, regions, music roles and areas of expertise. For most schemes we hold decision panels to make final decisions.
gigmit: How does the supervision and feedback of the successful candidates work?
Joseph: Of the 3,500-4,000 applications we receive per year, roughly 10% will receive support from PRS Foundation. Once offer letters are sent and first payments made, we keep in contact with all grantees, make ourselves very available to support and champion our grantees and enjoy really strong relationships with organisations and music creators who are selected.
gigmit: What would you recommend applicants for funding in future?
Joseph: It’s best to spend some time researching the different funding options. The team at PRS Foundation is always happy to be contacted (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions and can share Top Tips documents and have advice information and videos on our site.