PRS Foundation extends Keychange pledge

More than 250 music organisations have committed to the Keychange 50/50 pledge following PRS Foundation’s extension of the initiative to any music organisation.

Conservatories, orchestras, broadcasters, concert halls, agents, labels and venues can now sign up to the pledge to take positive action towards gender parity.

The latest signatories include English National Opera, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Southbank Centre, Bella Union, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, De Doelen, Sage Gateshead, Ivors Academy, Uppsala Konsert & Kongress and the Barbican.

PRS Foundation launched the Keychange 50/50 pledge in 2018, and more than 190 festivals have subsequently committed to achieving gender balanced line-ups by 2022.

Earlier this year Keychange was awarded the Classical:NEXT Innovation Award, which is designed to place the spotlight on forward-thinking activities taking place around the world.

Building on these early successes, PRS Foundation has opened up the pledge to tackle the industry-wide gender gap after their research revealed that only 13 percent of orchestral works commissioned by British orchestras in the past 25 years were from female composers.

The extended initiative encourages signatories to achieve meaningful change by taking a pledge towards targets which are relevant to their individual set ups.

Vanessa Reed, chief executive, PRS Foundation and Keychange founder, says: ‘It’s really encouraging that major music organisations and independent companies are demonstrating their commitment to gender equality in music alongside hundreds of festivals worldwide. From world leading concert halls and orchestras to Bella Union, (the first indie label to approach us), pledge signatories are creating an industry wide movement. This will increase choice, quality and opportunity for future generations of music lovers, industry professionals, music creators and artists.’

Alexander Schulz, who came up with the idea of the Keychange 50/50 gender pledge, and is chief executive and founder of Reeperbahn Festival added: ‘In 2017, when we launched the Keychange program at Reeperbahn Festival, we also declared our intention to present balanced line-ups on festival stages and conference stages by 2022. For us it was crucial, that we have a clear vision of our goals and transparent parameters to count the change.

‘With this initiative we installed another helpful tool on the long road towards change for the entire music industry. Since then more than 190 festivals worldwide have joined the pledge of 50:50 by 2022. This is much more than we were expecting and a wonderful add on to the original Keychange program. It’s a logical step in equal measures that the initiative has now been transferred to neighbouring businesses within the music industry and the media. We are very much looking forward to see the change in a broader way.’

For the full list of Keychange signatories, please visit