Welcome to #shoutout where we find and interview members of the music industry, entrepreneurs and tastemakers – all bringing you a glimpse of their expertise to inform, inspire, educate and help.
Introducing Joe Frankland, CEO of the PRS Foundation which as an organisation are the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres. The PRS Foundation are “Here to help bring new music to life”.
Who are you? (name and role please)
Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation
Where are you based?
PRS Foundation is based in London
How did you get into the music industry?
I’ve worked in and around music for a number of years. I started working in record shops at the age of 16, was in a band for a long time, moved to Newcastle and got my first break on the industry side working at Generator – a talent development agency based in Newcastle.
Tell us about what it is you do? (elevator pitch)
PRS Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. We help music creators working in all genres, at any career level and anywhere in the UK through direct grant support. And we fund organisations that offer vital development support.
We support outstanding talent from all backgrounds, covering the whole of the UK and all genres. Grantee’s success stories include Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Dave, Sam Fender, Years & Years, AJ Tracey, Anna Meredith, Yola, Glass Animals, Ghetts, Shiva Feshareki, Sarathy Korwar, Nadine Shah, The Fanatix, Imogen Heap, IDLES, Kae Tempest, Kojey Radical and Emily Burns. In 2021, 8 out of 12 Mercury Music Prize nominees were artists who received PRS Foundation support at various career levels. Perhaps more than anything, this demonstrates that timely investment in exciting, diverse and innovative talent works to produce critically acclaimed new music and to sustain music creator careers in the UK and internationally.
Who does this help and how?
Our funding support helps music creators (songwriters, composers, artists, bands and producers who write music) to develop their creativity and progress their careers. For many programmes, we offer holistic support alongside funding and we run several programmes which tackle barriers and support underrepresented creatives, including Women Make Music, Keychange and Power Up.
What advice would you give someone starting in the music industry?
I feel fortunate to have worked in roles where no two days were the same. This allowed me to dip my toes in many different areas – from programming and promoting live music to organising conferences and working on creative development and release campaigns. As great as it is to have a specialism and to master one area, I would advise anyone starting in the music industry to get involved in as many areas as possible – attend those conferences, expand your networks and this will put you in a great position when you want to progress or pivot.
Who would be your most played artist of all time?
Aside from being pretty obsessed with new music which comes with the job, those who know me best know that I return most to Motown, Stax, Atlantic and Curtom classics from that golden era of Soul music. I’m a sucker for Dylan’s lyrical genius and it’s probably safe to say that I’ve listened to Radiohead more than any other artist. I think that’s to do with the fact they’ve pushed boundaries and have evolved so much.
What’s next for you?
We’re just about to announce a new cohort of Keychange participants from 12 different countries, and we’re accepting applications for Year 2 of our Power Up Participant Programme. These programmes are very inspiring, and I can’t wait to see what those participants achieve this year. Of course, Omicron means so many of the creators we are here to serve still require flexible funding and we’ll be offering plenty of opportunities to use that funding to adapt, sustain careers, release amazing music and play what I’m sure will be incredible live shows later in the year.