PPL Momentum Music Fund has helped to generate over £22m for the UK music industry

Platform & Stream
8 min readMay 11, 2023

PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, reveals today at The Great Escape music festival in Brighton, the findings of an independent evaluation of the impacts of ten years of its PPL Momentum Music Fund.

Launched in 2013 and announced to the public at The Great Escape, the PPL Momentum Music Fund is run by PRS Foundation in partnership with PPL, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Spotify. The fund provides career-boosting grants of between £5,000-£15,000 to acts at a pivotal time in their creative and business development. In its ten years it has established a strong reputation for funding, supporting and spotlighting emerging talent at crucial tipping points in their careers.

Artists based anywhere in the UK working in any style of contemporary popular music can apply for funding to support activities including recording, touring and marketing.

The report outlines the impact of the PPL Momentum Music Fund on the UK economy, the opportunities provided to more diverse artists and how it can help them sustain successful careers in music. To date, the fund has been transformational with over £5.2 million awarded to artists across the whole of the UK, helping to generate:

  • £22 million for the UK music industry
  • Support 526 UK artists
  • Creation of 275 albums (including Mercury Prize nominated albums and dozens of top twenty chart placements)
  • Support for over 300 UK tours and over 1,600 live dates
  • Over 7,300 applications received over 40 funding rounds with a 7% success rate of funds being granted

Tackling underrepresentation across the sector

The fund has been supporting exceptional talent across the UK, and analysis shows that the PPL Momentum Fund has evolved and diversified over time to support exciting music scenes tackle issues of underrepresentation within the UK music sector.

In the last ten years, the consistency of artists outside of London (51%) and since PRS Foundation monitored ethnicity in PPL Momentum forms artists with Black, Asian or other ethnically diverse heritage (49.5%) remains high. 50.5% of grantees identified as White, 33.5% are Black (25.8%) or have mixed heritage including Black (7.7%); 7.4%, are from other White heritage backgrounds, 4.5% are Asian (1.9%) or have mixed heritage including Asian (2.6%); 0.2% have Arab heritage; 3% identified as Mixed Heritage — ‘other’; and 0.9% belong to another ethnic group.

47.9% of grants have gone to women, gender expansive artists or mixed gender groups and in the last 12 grant rounds from 2020–23 alone, 55.5% of grantees identified as women (39%), gender expansive artists (6.3%) or are in mixed gender groups (10.2%). And since data on sexual orientation has been recorded, nearly a fifth (18.2%) of PPL Momentum Fund grantees identify as LGBTQIA+. The fund’s inclusive and proactive approach demonstrates the Foundation’s relevance and reach among the UK’s diverse independent music scenes. The grant provides equal opportunities for Deaf and disabled artists and those living with long-term health conditions. Over 6% of grantees identify as Deaf or disabled, and since 2020, over 7% report having a long-term health condition or impairment that affects their day-to-day life.

A talent for spotting talent

The latest recipients join an exciting list of PPL Momentum Music Fund beneficiaries, boasting award winning and globally-renowned artists. Acts such as Little Simz, Sam Fender, Nova Twins, Yard Act, Yazmin Lacey, Years and Years, Knucks, Sarathy Korwar, Kae Tempest, K-Trap, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Robocobra Quartet, Ms Banks, Adwaith and Anna Calvi all had support from the fund — establishing the Momentum Fund as incredibly successful in developing artists to progress and achieve sustainable music careers. Recent key award wins for grantees include, Mercury Music Prize (Little Simz) BRIT Award (Sam Fender), MOBO Awards (Little Simz, Knucks, Nova Twins), Welsh Music Prize (Adwaith) and Northern Ireland Music Prize (Robocobra Quartet).

Yazmin Lacey, the Nottingham-based Soul singer who has performed around the world and released her debut album since being awarded the fund, said: “Getting support from the PPL Momentum Fund has been a real game changer for me as an artist. I was able to create music with complete creative freedom — with no external pressures of time, style or confidence. I truly feel like I was able to make music on my own terms, own it and control my vision for how it was made and released. I feel so empowered as an artist and excited for what is next.”

PRS Foundation also announces today the latest names to receive the funding, adding to the fund’s stellar roster with an eclectic mix of emerging artists and genres including Jazz FM Award-winning solo artist Mica Millar, the multi-genre-faceted Deijuvhs, neo-soul singer Shae Universe and rising DJ star Shy One. The latest round of grantees demonstrates the fund’s continued reach to all regions across the UK — with Glaswegian rockers Dead Pony, Belfast’s Jealous of the Birds and Cardiff’s Mace the Great securing funding to support them in the next stage of their careers. Other grantees in the latest round include the bands Divorce, Vexed, Wyldest and Yakul.

Broad based support from partners

Over 10 years, PRS Foundation has partnered with Arts Councils and organisations across the UK to ensure this vital support reaches talented music creators no matter where they are based. Current partners PPL, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Spotify enable more artists to have access to the instrumental career-changing fund. Following becoming a core partner for the Fund in 2017, PPL became the headline sponsor in 2020. Since then, 150 artists at tipping points in their careers have received the funding including more artists outside of London than ever before.

Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, said, “The PPL Momentum Music Fund plays an important role in opening the door to a myriad of exciting, diverse talent from all over the UK. Giving artists of all backgrounds and genres the opportunity to develop is crucial to the development of our national talent pipeline. As the Fund continues to grow its legacy over the coming years, I look forward to seeing the impact of investing in even more hard-working and talented artists at crucial career tipping points causing a positive ripple effect through the wider music ecosystem.”

Vital and timely support

The report survey findings demonstrate how crucial the funding is for artists in reaching the next step in their careers, from helping them grow their audience, increase their confidence and developing as a live act:

  • 94% of grantees said the grant came at the right time for them
  • 80% of artists said the funding had helped them develop creatively
  • 83% of grantees said they were more able to sustain a career in music as a result of the funding
  • 77% said the funding had helped them develop as a live act

The report also highlights the importance of co-investment from the music industry. PPL Momentum funding supported three quarters of artists to secure follow-on investment from a variety of sources unlocking and adding value to the grant.

The PPL Momentum Music Fund is changing the funding game, creating a more sustainable, inclusive and collaborative approach to talent development.

Crucially, the wider implications of the fund can be seen throughout the UK music industry, with grantees themselves seeing the wider benefits;

  • 81% said the fund was making a real difference in supporting artists from ethnically diverse backgrounds to develop
  • 87% said PPL Momentum Fund was making a real difference in supporting women artists to develop
  • 67% said the fund supported gender expansive artists

Investment through the PPL Momentum Music Fund has helped to generate over £22 million for the UK music industry. However, PRS Foundation and partners must reflect on the ways in which recent challenges — from the Covid-19 pandemic to the cost-of-living and cost-of-touring crisis, and within a climate of a rapidly changing music industry — have impacted emerging artists’ ability to sustain careers.

As a result, the average increase in annual income has been lower for grantees in recent years. Partners should expect a return to grantees earning significantly higher income within 2–3 years of receiving support, and the report shows that the PPL Momentum Fund has played a crucial role in helping the majority of grantees to sustain careers through uncertain times. Additional support is needed more than ever to help artists and teams to tackle serious financial, social and cultural inequities and barriers that exist in today’s music sector.

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation said, “The PPL Momentum Music Fund reaching ten years is a fantastic milestone and it’s clear to see the impact it continues to have on the UK music industry. It’s been a vital stepping-stone for so many incredible artists who have gone on to top the charts, sell out shows around the world and scoop multiple music awards. I’m proud that this work has changed the funding game — helping artists and songwriters to create and perform outstanding new music while developing sustainable careers which has a knock-on impact for their teams and for the wider music industry. I’d like to thank PPL, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Spotify, PRS for Music as well as Arts Council England and all the partners through the years whose support has enabled this ground-breaking fund to be as impactful as possible.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to partner with PRS Foundation on PPL Momentum Music Fund, a vital initiative which enables our artists to take that all important next step in the development of their professional music careers. We are committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for our artists develop and reach their full potential, and this funding programme offers artists not only the opportunity to connect with the UK-wide industry, but also to showcase the tremendous talent that is inherent to Northern Ireland on an international stage. Congratulations to all the artists taking part in this current round and to Belfast act, Jealous of the Birds, who will benefit greatly from this opportunity.”

Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director, Creative Wales said:The PPL Momentum Music Fund has been a launchpad for a range of Welsh talent over the past decade. Over £220,000 of Creative Wales funding has been awarded to support Welsh artists via the fund, including Adwaith, who’ve since gone on to win the Welsh Music Prize; Those Damn Crows, who’ve had three UK top 40 albums; rapper Mace The Great, who was part of FA’s Wales at the World Cup campaign and jazz, indie and funk fusion artist N’Famady Kouyaté who has won a coveted slot at Worthy Farm this June after winning Glastonbury‘s Emerging Talent Competition 2023.

You can read the full report online here.