Fraser T. Smith, PPL launch ‘Future Producer Academy’ for under-represented producers

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 backing and educational opportunities, according to a press release on Thursday (April 27).

A report from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism earlier this year revealed that just 2.8% of all producers were women across a sample of 800 songs. This represents a ratio of 34:1 men to women in producing credits.

And of the 50 women credited in the sample material, only 13 — or 26% — were women of color.

Smith recently told the Music Producers Guild Awards — where he was winner of the Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award — that he is determined to change the under-representation in the music industry.

“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,” said Smith.

“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.”

Promising producers under the program will work with Smith and his network in building their success. 

A multi-award winning, internationally acclaimed artist, producer, songwriter and musician, Smith has co-written, mixed and produced 7 No.1 singles in the UK, 2 Billboard Number One singles in the US, 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 more.

Through the Future Producer Academy, participants will benefit from individual development sessions that focus on an array of foundational topics for success in the music industry such as understanding producers’ rights and negotiating production contracts, and 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 via organic and paid channels.

They will also have the chance to create content, which resonates with their audience, as well as how to work with journalists.

Part of the programs in the Academy is how to build 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 PPL’s director of Music Industry Engagement, Natalie Wade.

In the first quarter of 2023, PPL paid over 26,000 artists and rightsholders a combined £17.4 million (approx. USD $21.5 million) in international neighbouring rights, which is equivalent to nearly $240,000 a day.

In 2022, PPL paid neighbouring rights to more than 165,000 performers and recording rightsholders across the UK and internationally.

Through the Future Producer Academy, PPL said it will provide exclusive access to its team of experts across Legal, Finance, Communications and Industry Engagement, to create a bespoke producer support program.

“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 program to life for deserving producers has been a joy,” Wade said.

“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 program 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,” Wade continued.

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.”

Smith released his own debut album, 12 Questions, in October 2020 under the moniker ‘Future Utopia.’ Future Utopia returned in 2023 with We Were We Still Are, the lead single from his forthcoming EP of the same name, featuring the spoken word artist, Kae Tempest.

In 2021, Smith appointed Three Six Zero as his global management team.

Music Business Worldwide