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More than 250 music companies sign up to PRS Foundation’s expanded Keychange gender equality pledge

By | Published on Tuesday 25 June 2019


The PRS Foundation has expanded its Keychange 50/50 gender balance pledge to include a wider range of music organisations, adding the likes of conservatoires, orchestras, broadcasters, concert halls, agents and record labels to the scheme. The original festival-focused Keychange pledge – to programme gender balanced line-ups by 2022 – already has over 190 events signed up across Europe.

In total, more than 250 music companies have newly signed up to the pledge. With the expansion, the PRS Foundation has left how newly participating organisations interpret the pledge somewhat open-ended.

For example, it suggests that orchestras might commit to commissioning half of their newly composed works from women – compared to the 13% of commissions by British orchestras that have gone to female composers over the last 25 years. Equally they could apply it to the gender balance among players in the orchestra or among senior staff. Or, hey, all three.

“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”, says PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed. “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”.

Keychange ambassador, conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, adds: “Being a female conductor I’ve probably heard the question ‘How is it to be a female conductor?’ more than any other question during my life so far, so I’m absolutely aware that as a society we still do have the work to be done for the right balance. I am glad and very proud to be a Keychange ambassador [and] with the whole City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, we are proud to sign up to the Keychange pledge”.

For further details on the Keychange project, click here.