PPL, the UK music industry’s collective management organization, has teamed up with multi-platinum producer and songwriter Fraser T. Smith and the Music Producers Guild to launch the “Fraser T Smith Future Producer Academy”.
The project aims to address the issue of underrepresentation in the music industry by providing financial support and educational opportunities, according to a press release issued Thursday (April 27).
A report from USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism earlier this year revealed that only 2.8% of all producers were women on a sample of 800 songs. This represents a ratio of 34 men to 1 women in credit production.
And of the 50 credited women in the sample, only 13 — or 26 percent — were women of color.
Smith recently told the Music Producers Guild Awards – where he won the Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award – that he was determined to change under-representation in the music industry.
“I’ve had an unorthodox career path, and there have been many times where I wish I had a more experienced hand in the business to sit down and help me figure out how things work,” said Smith.
“The idea of Producer Academy is to do just that – to be trusted friends who can open their networks and provide sound advice when it matters most. We work in an amazing, yet unequal industry, and I’m excited about this venture with PPL and the MPG to play a part in bringing more diversity to the production.
Up-and-coming producers in the program will work with Smith and his network to build their success.
A multi-award winning and internationally acclaimed artist, producer, songwriter and musician, Smith has co-written, mixed and produced 7 UK No. 1 singles, 2 US Billboard Number One singles and contributed to 18 number 1 albums.
Throughout his career, Smith has worked with some of the biggest artists in the world including Adele, Stormzy, Sam Smith, Florence and the Machine, Drake, Gorillaz, Kano, Dave and many more.
Through the Future Producer Academy, participants will benefit from one-on-one development sessions focused on a range of topics fundamental to succeeding in the music industry, such as understanding producer rights and negotiating production contracts, as well as developing and managing a project budget.
Participants will be able to learn the mechanics of fees, advances and royalties and use new media to build a brand through organic and paid channels.
They will also have the chance to create content that resonates with their audience, as well as how to work with journalists.
Part of the Academy’s programs is building a personal profile through smart networking, advocacy, and maximizing speaking opportunities.
For PPL, its partnership with Smith comes as the licensing company seeks to “build a better music industry”, said Natalie Wade, director of music industry engagement at PPL.
In the first quarter of 2023, PPL paid over 26,000 artists and rightsholders a total of £17.4 million (approximately US$21.5 million) in international neighboring rights, which equates to almost 240 000 dollars a day.
In 2022, PPL paid neighboring rights to over 165,000 performers and recording rights holders in the UK and around the world.
Through the Future Producer Academy, PPL said it will provide exclusive access to its team of legal, financial, communications and industry engagement experts, to create a support program to bespoke producers.
“Working closely with industry partners to build a better music industry is at the heart of what PPL stands for. Partnering with Fraser to support his vision of bringing a bespoke program to life for deserving producers has been a joy,” Wade said.
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to make the music industry a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive place in which to work and do business. This program goes to the heart of achieving that goal, and we’re thrilled to be founding contributors, bringing the expertise of our desk-to-studio teams,” Wade continued.
Cameron Craig, Executive Director of the Music Producers Guild, added: “MPG is proud to be associated with the Fraser T. Smith Future Producer Academy, announced when Fraser received their award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music at MPGs. 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 would not normally have the opportunity.”
Smith released his own debut album, 12 Questions, in October 2020 under the name “Future Utopia”. Future Utopia returns in 2023 with We were we still are, the lead single from his forthcoming EP of the same name, featuring spoken word artist, Kae Tempest.
In 2021, Smith named Three Six Zero as its global leadership team.
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