AWAL, Kobalt’s recorded music company, has partnered with PRS Foundation — the independent charitable arm of the U.K. collecting society PRS for Music — to offer funding and career support to women, trans and non-binary artists, composers and songwriters.
The year-long partnership will see AWAL/Kobalt provide backing and annual workshops to around 40-50 recipients of PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music fund, which was founded in 2011 and offers grants of up to £5,000 ($6,000) to UK-based music creators and aims to reduce the record industry’s gender gap.
At the time of the scheme’s launch, only 13% of PRS for Music members were professional female songwriters and composers. Those numbers have since increased to 17% with women making up 39% of new PRS members under the age of 20.
A 2016 independent report into the first five years of the Women Make Music fund additionally found that the scheme had a significant impact on female music creators’ careers with 79% of those surveyed saying it increased their confidence.
Artists who have benefitted from the fund include Let’s Eat Grandma, Little Boots, Marika Hackman, Laura Mvula, Emily Portman and Lady Sanity. Grants can be used towards touring, recording, marketing, collaborations and new projects with Oct. 1 the next deadline for applicants.
AWAL/Kobalt has donated £50,000 ($60,000) towards the initiative and says it will take an active role in mentoring several artists over the next 12 months.
“We’re proud to be a part of such an important cause in the industry to support a significant number of outstanding female creators and invest in the future of music,” said the company’s head of U.K. creative, Alison Donald, in a statement.
VP A&R Matt Riley said that AWAL execs would use their expertise to help guide and develop music creators’ careers in a variety of ways “ranging from global marketing and campaign coordination to A&R and sync.” He added: “The team is thrilled to be part of Women Make Music and all that we’ll accomplish together.”
Founded in 2000, PRS Foundation claims to be the U.K.’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development and has given more than £32 million ($38 million) to over 6,800 new music initiatives.
Earlier this year, Rolling Stones manager Glastry’s Joyce Smyth became a patron of the Women Make Music fund offering bespoke mentorship and career support to three artists, songwriters or composers each year.
“We are proud that Women Make Music has had a significant impact on hundreds of women music creators’ careers. A broader range of talent is being empowered and we are championing the U.K.’s most exciting new music,” said Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation.
“However, barriers still need to be broken down – particularly around access to funding, effective mentoring and increased networking opportunities,” he warned. Frankland said AWAL’s support helped the foundation “proactively address those barriers and look forward to continued success.”