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PPL, music licensing company and global leader in international neighbouring rights collections, Fraser T. Smith, multi-platinum producer and world-renowned songwriter, and the Music Producers Guild have joined forces to support under-represented producers succeed in the music industry.

Legendary producer Fraser T. Smith announced the launch of his new ‘Fraser T. Smith Future Producer Academy’ today, aimed at tackling the pervasive issue of under representation in the music industry. Delivered in association with PPL and the Music Producers Guild, the new Academy will select promising producers to work with Smith and his extensive network to build their success via a combination of financial backing and unique educational opportunities.

PPL, who in 2022 paid over 165,000 performers and recording rights holders across the UK and internationally, will be providing exclusive access to its teams of experts across Legal, Finance, Communications and Industry Engagement, in order to create a bespoke producer support programme.

The budding producers selected for the inaugural cohort of the programme will benefit from individual development sessions focusing on a range of foundational topics for success. These include:

Understanding your rights and negotiating production contracts;
Developing and managing a project budget, including managing risk and understanding the mechanics of fees, advances and royalties;
Using new media to build a brand through organic and paid channels, creating content which resonates with your audience and how to work with journalists; 
And building a personal profile through smart networking, advocacy and maximising speaking opportunities.

Natalie Wade, PPL’s director of Music Industry Engagement, said today:
“Working closely with industry partners to build a better music industry is core to what PPL stands for. Partnering with Fraser to support his vision to bring a bespoke programme to life for deserving producers has been a joy. It is on all of us to make the music industry a more equitable, diverse and inclusive place in which to work and do business. This programme gets to the heart of making that happen, and we are delighted to be the founding contributors, bringing the expertise of our teams out of the office and into the studio.”

Recent statistics released examining representation across the music industry paint a bleak picture for diversity, across artists, songwriters and producers. The February 2023 report from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism revealed just 2.8% of all producers were women across a sample of 800 songs, a ratio of 34:1 men to woman in producing credits. Of the 50 women credited in the sample material, just 13 – or 26% – were women of colour.

This is something Smith is determined to change. Speaking at the Music Producers Guild Awards, where he was winner of the Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award, sponsored by PPL, Smith commented:
“I’ve had an unorthodox career journey, and there have been many times when I’d loved to have a more experienced hand in the business sit down and help me understand how things work. The idea of the Producer Academy is to do just that – to be the trusted friends who can open their networks and provide sound guidance when it matters most. We work in an amazing, but uneven, industry, and I am excited about this venture with PPL and the MPG to play a part in bringing more diversity into production.”

Cameron Craig, Executive Director of the Music Producers Guild, added:
“The MPG is proud to be associated with the Fraser T. Smith Future Producer Academy announced when Fraser received his Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award at the MPG Awards 2023.  We look forward to working with PPL and Fraser to make this a lasting success, to inspire and champion diversity and creativity for those who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity”.

Fraser T Smith/Future Utopia

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