Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by the PRS for Music Foundation (arts 27)

1. As the UK’s only specialist funder of new music, the PRS for Music Foundation welcomes the opportunity to respond to this timely Select Committee inquiry. PRS for Music Foundation’ submission echoes the broader points made about the impact that funding cuts will have on the music sector in UK Music and National Music Council’s response to this inquiry. However, we have based our response on our 10 years experience as an independent music funder and on three questions in particular: the impact of spending cuts; the role of businesses and philanthropists in the funding of the arts; and whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is an appropriate one.

Summary

· Future spending cuts at central and local government level will unquestionably threaten the UK’s longstanding public-private formula that has enabled the arts to flourish in the UK;

· The demand for programmes we fund in collaboration with public funders is significantly greater than what we are able to support;

· A substantive reduction in the level of public funding provided would invariably risk a lack of support for crucial creative and professional development which enables the UK to maximize the potential of our music industry across all genres;

· A review of funding spend on the arts should consider how existing best practice models and experience of directing funding to specific target groups can be used to increase efficiency and to support all levels of development. This includes the gateway the PRS for Music Foundation provides to the music sector UK wide.

· A proper impact assessment (including detailed comparative analysis) is required to fully understand the long-term (economic / cultural) consequences of any reduced levels of spending;

· PRS for Music Foundation would welcome the opportunity to contribute to Arts Council England’s consultation with the music industry so that we can share our experience of funding the not-for-profit and commercial sectors and help to ascertain where funding could be directed to achieve the least negative overall impact.

Introduction to the PRS for Music Foundation

2. Known for promoting quality and innovation, the PRS for Music Foundation supports the creation and performance of ground-breaking new music by:

· Awarding grants throughout the year;

· Initiating new programmes in collaboration with music industry partners;

· Raising the profile of new music in the UK and abroad;

· Creating professional development opportunities in response to the needs of the new music community.

3. T he PRS for Music Foundation is the UK’s only specialist funder of new music with 10 years experience of supporting the development of the music sector. Since 2000 it has supported over 4000 initiatives to the tune of £13.5M It h as a history of supporting a range of music making activities in every genre through numerous (small) grants and partnership programmes . PRS for Music, the collective licensing society for composers, songwriters and music publishers, currently give an annual donation of £1.5m to the Foundation. The Foundation also raises significant further monies through fundraising.

What impact recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local Government will have on the arts and heritage at a national and local level

4. In 2009 the PRS for Music Foundation commissioned an independent study to gauge the Foundation’s impact on the music sector. It demonstrated that PRS for Music Foundation is an essential contributor to the funding ecology because it supports new work and enables organisations, promoters, festivals and performance groups to leverage funds from other sources. Those "other sources" are made up primarily of support from Arts Council England and local authorities, which are usually awarding in the region of 30% -40% to PRS for Music Foundation grantees.1 The remainder of their funding is often made up of earned income and smaller grants coming from wide range of private trusts, foundations and donors.

5. Unquestionably, future spending cuts at central and local government level will threaten this public-private formula which has enabled the arts to flourish in the UK over the past 20 years. A proper impact assessment (including detailed comparative analysis) is required to fully understand the long term (economic / cultural) consequences of any reduced levels of spending. Importantly, we anticipate that any negative impacts would be felt disproportionately by funded organisations due to the fragile eco-system inherent with such a mixed economy, and the fact that often private funding might not be generated without public sector funding endorsement.

6. Whilst we recognise that it may be inevitable that arts funding may be reduced by some level in the future, we would expect the Arts Council to undertake extensive consultation with the music industry (including the PRS for Music Foundation) to ascertain where funding could be directed to have the least overall impact as possible.

Whether businesses and philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level:

7. As the most generous of private donors have confirmed, private money cannot fill the gap made by the scale of cuts in public funding proposed. The PRS for Music Foundation’s experience as an essential partner for distribution of small grants demonstrates the need for larger grants to be available from public funders so that the current ecology of the arts sector is not destroyed. As with most private foundations, the PRS for Music Foundation will not have the means to invest more as public funding reduces. Therefore, private foundations like ours will be faced with difficult decisions about whether their smaller grants can be safely awarded to organisations which lose their core funding from public sources which is often key to their sustainability. If smaller private foundations consider their funding to be safest with the organisations which the public sector has decided to back, the diversity of the UK’s most pioneering music providers may be at risk.

Whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is the right one:

8. Any review of funding spend on the arts should consider how existing best practice models and experience of directing funding to specific target groups at a marginal cost, with appropriate governance and transparency, can be better exploited. This includes the gateway the PRS for Music Foundation provides to the music sector UK wide.

9. The arm’s length principle of arts funding in the UK has enabled private foundations like the PRS for Music Foundation to work with Arts Council England on partnership programmes which respond to need and strive to deliver transformational creative and business outcomes. The programmes listed below have been developed in collaboration with Arts Council England which has then supported PRS for Music Foundation to deliver crucial, bespoke training and support to the music industry. The demand for these programmes is ten times greater than what we are able to support. If we were to lose the public funding currently available for these programmes, we would not be able to support the UK’s musical talent at anywhere near the required level needed; the result of which, is that we would be failing to maximize the potential of our music industry across all genres.

Enclosed below are three examples of best practice funding based on interventions led by the PRS for Music Foundation in collaboration with public funders.

A. British Music Abroad2

10. This programme provides bursaries for emerging UK artists and bands which provide a contribution to travel costs and expenses for international showcase opportunities. Essentially this enables UK artists to attend international showcases, which serves to increase their impact and allow them to realise their full potential in the international market through business development and via new opportunities for creative collaboration. Support is given by Arts Council England via British Underground and UK Trade and Investment, who also work together to run a training session and showcase of British Music Abroad bands at SXSW.

11. Approximately 40 export-ready bands per year are supported to attend showcases overseas. Since the establishment of this scheme in 2006, 131 bands have been supported. Examples of bands supported are: Bat for Lashes, Micachu and the Shapes, We Have Band, Portico Quartet, Rolo Tomassi, Riz MC, Alice Russell and James Yuill. Current showcases include South by South West (SXSW) CMJ Music Marathon, North by North East (NXNE) Canadian Music Week (CMW) Sonar, Folk Alliance, Midem and Jazz Ahead.

12. The results include tangible outcomes for participants include definite major signings, development deals in the US, further live performance, new deals with booking agents, overseas management deals, licensing deals, synchronisation deals and increased overseas royalties. Enclosed is a graph which highlights the type of positive commercial impact which arts funding potentially can have. In this instance, an increase in overseas writer royalties at one US trade event, SXSW.

B. New Music Plus3

13. New Music Plus is a creative placement scheme for independent music producers, supported by Arts Council England, the Cultural Leadership Programme, PRS for Music Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Sound and Music. The scheme is designed for independent producers of live music, which includes bespoke training, mentoring, participation in a cross art-form learning network and an opportunity to co-produce a music event in a high profile venue. Eight independent producers per year are partnered with 8 leading cultural organisations on a year long programme; the programme includes venues which don’t specialise in music and has taken place in the UK and the North West. We plan to initiate a national programme in 2011.

14. The scheme was created in response to the lack of funding for producers of live music and limited work-based opportunities for creative and professional development. The results have included enabling independent producers improve business skills, a strong network for touring and co-commissioning being created and audiences for new music are developed through involvement of diverse venues.

C. Take Five4

15. Take Five is a jazz professional development scheme for emerging UK artists supported by PRS for Music Foundation, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Arts Council England and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. The programme is run by international music producers, Serious. The course includes a five day residential course, which is backed by opportunities for bespoke training including studio sessions, networking and mentoring. Eight artists a year participate in this national programme and 40 artists have taken part since its launch in 2004.

16. The rationale for the course stemmed from the problem that, beyond the formal training offered through some higher education institutions, there can sometimes be a need to offer further help artists with their professional development once they have embarked on their careers (notwithstanding the fact that publishing companies already provide significant nurturing) . The pressures of earning a living mean that it can become difficult for people to take time out to focus on the direction in which they want to be heading and the skills they need to receive to get there.

17. The results have been impressive with Serious receiving many requests to replicate or develop more Take Five models (including Scottish Arts Council, Dutch Jazz Connection and Norwegian Rikskonsertene). Artists who have participated in the scheme are now making a substantial impact on the national and international jazz scene and note significant step change in creative and business development including new commissions, media coverage, publishing, management or distribution deals.

August 2010


[1] PRS for Music Foundation conducted an independent survey which considered where PRS for Music Foundation grantees received their funding from. This highlighted that ‘other sources’ of income listed (primarily support from Arts Council England and local authorities) constituted 41% of the partnership funding on average . ( based on 2004-07 data). A similar survey in 2008 suggested this figure reduced to 33%.

[2] www.prsformusicfoundation.com/britishmusicabroad

[3] www.prsformusicfoundation.com/newmusicplus

[4] See: www.prsformusicfoundation.co m and www.serious.org.uk