The Possibility Club

Vanessa Reed // CEO, PRS Foundation


Young teenagers will be having some of their most formative experiences at a big festival in a field somewhere in the UK. And they deserve to be able to see themselves on one of those stages, whichever gender, background or ethnicity they might come from



Since joining the Performing Rights Society’s charitable foundation as Chief Executive in 2008, Vanessa Reed has repositioned the organisation as the UK’s most pioneering and effective funder of new music and talent development, significantly increasing support available to diverse, talented UK songwriters and composers at critical stages in their careers.

She has launched an array of transformational funding programmes including the Momentum Music Fund, Women Make Music and the New Music Biennial which help music creators of all backgrounds to realise their potential.

Vanessa is also founder of the international Keychange initiative which invests in female talent and raises awareness of the gender gap in the UK and across the world.

Vanessa is Chair of Sound UK Arts and on the Board of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic where she Chairs the organisation’s diversity group. Before joining the Foundation, Vanessa worked in various funding, arts and music development roles in Amsterdam, Brussels and London. In 2016 Vanessa won the music category in the Hospital Club’s 100 Awards for UK creative industry influencers.

In 2017 Vanessa was awarded a Fellowship by Leeds College of Music and accepted Music Week’s Outstanding Contribution to Charity Award on behalf of the Foundation’s team and Board. In 2018, Vanessa was recognised on the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List as the 3rd most influential woman in the global music industry after Beyonce and Taylor Swift.

This interview is from a series of events, blogs and discussions exploring both The Future of Work and The Future of Gender – you can find loads more stuff added each week on these themes at

Richard recorded this conversation with Vanessa in February 2019, a few weeks before she announced that from August she will be leaving the UK to run New Music USA – further cementing her world-wide influence on the future of the music industry.

They talk leadership, power, investment, creativity and why gender equality is so core to her mission in music.

Useful links:

Performing Right Society

PRS Foundation

Woman’s Hour Woman In Music Power List 2018

Momentum Music Fund


and the Keychange manifesto (PDF link)

Independent Venue Week (UK venues)

What do you think? Do you agree with Vanessa’s mission for the music industry? Come and join the debate by joining The Possibility Club for free, find a community of thinkers and find out about our monthly events.

You can also find lots of commentary, expertise and other interviews on the theme of The Future Of Work – at


The interviewer was Richard Freeman from always possible. This podcast was presented, produced and edited by CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts.


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