PRS Foundation reaches gender balance watershed

ms banks music

PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading funder of new music, has reached a 50:50 gender split among its grantees three years ahead of schedule.

In 2017, 53 percent of the music creators the charity funded were sole female artists or mixed groups, even though it had previously pledged to hit a 50:50 balance by 2020.

Hotly tipped South London rapper Ms Banks, pictured above, was among those to receive support through its flagship Momentum Music Fund.

In total, PRS Foundation awarded 561 grants to the tune of over £3.3m last year, with 40 percent of those supported coming from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Applications rose by 25 percent year-on-year, with 4,005 music creators and organisations applying for funding in 2017 compared to 3,205 in 2016.

Throughout 2017, 87 PRS Foundation grantees were nominated for major music industry accolades, including the Mercury Prize and Jazz FM Awards, with 22 winners across them all.

The Foundation also supported 34 percent more music creators to attend overseas industry showcases, including SXSW, Womex, Reeperbahn, Folk Alliance International and Canadian Music Week.

Vanessa Reed, PRS Foundation’s chief executive, said: ‘Rising costs and visa restrictions meant that some of our most talented up and coming artists wouldn’t have been able to work internationally without our support whilst growing awareness of inequalities across the music industry confirmed the importance of our longstanding targeted investment in diverse music creators.’

She added: ‘We’ve always known the UK is home to the world’s most diverse and talented music creators. What we’ve learnt in 2017 is that investing in more of their futures isn’t hard once you become aware of what needs to change and once you make that change your goal.’

During 2017, the charity worked with collecting society PPL, Arts Council England, Department for International Trade, British Council, Spotify, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and many more.

Through their support, and the match funding PRS Foundation leverages from partners and grantees, every £1 invested by PRS for Music is now generating a further £4 for the people it funds.

To learn more about the Foundation’s work, see