Artist News Business News Labels & Publishers Management & Funding

FAC renews call on PRS Foundation funding as petition passes 1000 signatures

By | Published on Wednesday 6 July 2022

PRS Foundation

The Featured Artists Coalition’s petition calling on UK collecting society PRS to reconsider its decision to cut the funding it provides the PRS Foundation has now past a 1000 signatures, with artists like Sam Fender, Anna Calvi and Wolf Alice’s Joff Oddie backing the FAC’s campaign.

PRS confirmed at its AGM in May that the funding it provides to the talent development charity it set up in 2000 will be cut from the current £2.5 million a year to £1 million a year from 2024. That’s because the specific income stream the funding comes from – basically interest earned on investments and royalties awaiting distribution – has been in decline in recent years.

However, many artist and songwriter groups have called on the society to top up its annual donation to the Foundation from other funds. In particular unallocated digital monies, aka the “digital black box”. These are digital royalties which – because of various data issues – cannot be accurately allocated to specific works.

Currently these are shared out across the PRS membership but, campaigners argue, because the bigger publishers should be on top of their data and therefore have received all the streaming income they are due, any unallocated money should be diverted to independent and DIY songwriters. Using some of that money to fund the Foundation would be an easy way of doing that.

FAC also points out that collecting societies elsewhere in Europe divert core revenues to cultural funding initiatives. In a new statement issued this morning, the artist group states: “PRS For Music’s £2.5 million donation to the Foundation represents just 0.32% of the society’s collections. This is significantly less than equivalent donations made by PRS’s European counterparts”.

“For example”, it goes on, “French collecting society SACEM donated 32.4 million euros 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 9.6 million euros in its Kultur Fund”.

More than 50 music industry organisations previously signed an open letter calling on PRS to find a way to continue to support the Foundation at current levels, alongside the petition launched by the FAC. And a number of notable artists – all PRS members – are now supporting that petition.

Sam Fender states: “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: adds “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”, she continues. “It makes me concerned for the current generation of incredible talent, and ones to follow … PRS must reverse this decision and return to a position where they support the incredible talent our country has to offer”.

And Wolf Alice’s Joff Oddie says: “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 South By South West 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”, he goes on. “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”.

Restating the FAC’s position that unallocated streaming royalties should be used to top up PRS Foundation funding, the organisation’s CEO David Martin said earlier today: “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”, he went on. “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”.

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | |