Time for a Keychange

PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative is determined to make the music industry more equal.

PRS Foundation is an independent charitable foundation, funded by PRS for Music, that aims to support new music.

With a wide range of grants and funding, PRS Foundation works tirelessly to support musicians of all genres at important stages of their careers.

Currently, only 16% of PRS members are women, which is why PRS Foundation continue to make a special effort to support the careers of female songwriters, artists and producers.

The Women Make Music grant was introduced in 2011 to support female songwriters and composers and to raise awareness of the gender gap in the industry by increasing the profile of women making music in the UK.

In a similar way, the Lynsey de Paul Prize offers solo female musicians funding and support, in memory of award-winning songwriter and producer Lynsey de Paul, who passed away in 2014.

The launch of the Keychange initiative is PRS Foundation’s most recent step towards an equal music industry.

Keychange is a talent support initiative that invests in women working in music from across Europe. Though 60 female artists and innovators were originally chosen to take part, the initiative has grown to support women across the music industry.

Keychange was founded in partnership with 7 festivals from across Europe and even in Canada, who set themselves a five-year goal of reaching a 50:50 gender balance on their stages. Keychange has continued to encourage festivals from across Europe to sign up to achieve a 50:50 gender balance at their events by 2022.

In just over a year, more than 150 festivals have set themselves this target. PRS Foundation research showed that when the initiative was launched in 2017, female artists made up just 26% of the line-up in a sample of big music festivals in the UK.

Wide Days, XpoNorth, Sonica Festival and Celtic Connections are just some of the festivals in Scotland that have signed up to the Keychange pledge.

The Keychange manifesto was even presented at European Parliament at the end of 2018, outlining the current gender gap in the industry and suggesting ways gender equality can be achieved across the industry.

The important aspect of initiatives like Keychange is that the 50:50 target can be applied to many aspects of the music industry.

Vanessa Reed presented the Keychange manifesto to European Parliament. (Credit: @keychangeeu on Instagram)

PRS Foundation CEO and founder of the initiative Vanessa Reed says, “I think Keychange is a useful example of positive collective action stimulating and inspiring change”.

She adds, “There’s no reason why we couldn’t adapt this kitemark to represent new commitments from across the industry, for example for orchestras, promoters, trade bodies and radio stations. The way they approach the pledge is likely to vary but the principles will remain the same – aiming for a more balanced industry which will be better for everyone.”

For more about Keychange and a full list of festivals that have signed up in time for festival season this year visit keychange.eu.

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