Stellar Songs co-founder Danny D (Danny Poku) is currently running for election as a Writer Candidate to the Members’ Council of PRS For Music in the UK.
He enjoyed success an artist, writer, re-mixer and producer and got his first break as an executive as an A&R at Chrysalis Records. In the late nineties, he founded a suite of companies with his business partner, Tim Blacksmith.
Today, amongst other things, they co-manage the Norwegian writing and production duo, Stargate, and run Stellar Songs, one of the most respected independent publishing companies in the business.
Here, he tells MBW why he believes he is the right man for the PRS Council…
What are the biggest issues that need addressing in the PRS world, and how do you plan to tackle them?
A main priority for me is to improve PRS engagement at grass roots level. Our young creatives coming into the business have no idea what PRS is, let alone what services it provides to who.
It may be okay if you go to university, as there seems to be engagement at that level, but what if you don’t? Where do people like me, who come from council estates, who are making music in the bedrooms go? Who is there for them?
PRS should be one the first places they go to for guidance and direction, but that’s not happening and I believe this is an area where I can help initiate change .
“Where do people like me, who come from council estates, who are making music in the bedrooms go? Who is there for them?”
The industry that we are all a part of continues to make strides to ensure greater diversity and inclusion at all levels and I would like to see PRS understand how important it is for its members to see themselves represented within the organisation, for it to become a true reflection of its diverse membership.
At the moment, that isn’t happening, and it’s something that I’m passionate about trying to change
We also need to continue to address the challenges that songwriters face in the 21st century music business. As a songwriter myself, I will always fight to ensure that writers are protected, that they earn a fair and equitable rate for their works, and that PRS continues to fight for the right of them all in this changing landscape
Why you and why now?
Why me? Why not! My wealth of experience in so many different aspects of this business as a black man gives me a great overview on what is needed and demanded from all our creatives but especially from my community.
“It’s time to share my knowledge and experience so that the generations to come can benefit from what I’ve learnt in my many years in the business.”
And as for why now: it feels right; I feel right. It’s time to share my knowledge and experience so that the generations to come can benefit from what I’ve learnt in my many years in the business, as well as showing them a pathway where they too can see the possibility of sitting on a board like PRS.
Diversity is an issue across the industry, but especially at board level, in the corporate world and across trade bodies and collection societies. How big a priority is it to address that?
To effect real change and champion diversity and inclusion, our community can’t make that change if we’re not prepared to stand up, be counted and demand to have our voices heard. It’s time for me to practice what I preach which is to stand up and ensure that we have a seat at the table
It is important to have a diverse range of voices at the top table who can collectively inspire and innovate. That level of diversity will give PRS a larger pool of experience and unique points of view which will ultimately have positive impact .
“I’m hoping that, should I be elected, I can be a conduit for real change.”
My experience as a writer, artist, producer and a publisher gives me a unique voice and position that can help to shift that dial as they are lagging behind.
With a growing base of executives of all colours and genders growing in the different areas of our business, and a clamour for continued diversity and inclusion, I’m hoping that, should I be elected, I can be a conduit for real change and that PRS will continue to embrace the wider changes amongst their membership board.
Eligible PRS members can vote here.Music Business Worldwide