PublishedWed, 14 Apr 2021, 15:15
- We break down the application process and how the £750,000 was spent.
In October 2020, we were incredibly grateful to be awarded a grant of £750,000 from Arts Council England's Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF). Like many others in the music industry, Resident Advisor's business has been devastated by the ongoing pandemic, with a 95 percent drop in revenue across all areas of the business since March 2020. Since this initial award, we have been pleased to see that other organisations within our industry have also benefited from the CRF, with around £751 million awarded, so far in total, to over 5,000 recipients.
This vitally needed financial support ensured the survival of the company through the most difficult time in its history. We were able to support the livelihoods of dozens of people, fund multiple freelance film projects and continue a range of charity initiatives. At the same time, it also provoked some understandable questions and concerns from the wider community as to how these funds would be allocated. This update seeks to answer some of those questions.
What was the grant awarded for?
Resident Advisor Limited applied for the Cultural Recovery Fund as a cultural institution that had been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and was in need of financial support. The Fund was set up to preserve aspects of the cultural ecosystem through the pandemic when many, like RA, wouldn't survive without financial assistance. The eligibility criteria are provided in detail here. RA was eligible as it's an organisation that works in music, which is one of the Art Council's "supported artform[s] or discipline[s]." We were able to demonstrate our value and contribution to the wider community and were therefore awarded the grant.
RA Tickets, a separate entity, did not apply for CRF support. This company accessed significant financial support in the form of bank loans to ensure it maintained financial viability through the pandemic.
What did we pay for with the ACE grant?
Jobs and business costs
The majority, over 85 percent, of the grant went on staff salaries and freelancers. It allowed us to retain 56 jobs, across our Content, Community, Commercial and Operations teams.
The remainder was spent on essential business expenditure, including technology, rent, insurance and maintenance of existing infrastructure.
The continued work of our Community Team in order to better serve our audience through supporting a range of grassroots projects, including:
• RA x Black Minds Matter: An editorial partnership launched in January in collaboration with Black Minds Matter showcasing Black creatives working in electronic music and raising awareness on issues surrounding mental health. RA has committed £24,000 in 2021 as part of this partnership.
• RA x Sable Radio: Leeds radio station Sable Radio launched a three-month mentorship and training programme called Resound. RA will provide masterclasses and has financially contributed to this partnership.
• Organising workshops with a number of partners across the community such as: Bridges For Music, PRODUCERGIRLS and Good Night Out.
• Launched a series of audience focus groups to ensure marginalised voices are heard and are prioritised in how RA evolves to service the electronic music community.
Here's a list of our community projects.
Our editorial team continue to work with a wide range of freelance writers, photographers and filmmakers whose income has been largely wiped out during the pandemic. Since April 2020, we have published 109 features, 21 films, 790 reviews, 108 podcasts and 2166 news stories.
Other examples include:
• Funding VOID, a film that focuses on the impact of nightclub closure on mental health. The film raised £2,558 for suicide prevention charity CALM.
• Funding a freelance film series with an external filmmaker, telling the stories of Black artists' musical histories and influences.
• Funded several other ongoing video projects that will help us to continue to support and showcase a variety of emerging and established artists from a diverse range of backgrounds (eg. RA Sessions).
• Purchase of new camera and gimbal to be used in kit-loan scheme for Black creatives, which will include optional hands-on training from the RA Films team.
Who audits how you spend this money?
We, like everyone else awarded a CRF grant, are tracked by Arts Council England to ensure the funds are appropriately allocated. This tracking has taken the form of formal reporting against pre-agreed targets.
Why did RA make redundancies if you were awarded the grant?
Unfortunately, as was outlined in our grant application, we were forced to reduce our team size to fit our new reality and so had to make some redundancies during the year, nine of which took place after the awarding of the grant.
Why does RA deserve this money when grassroots venues and artists have received little support?
RA does not deserve support more than anyone else. The pandemic is an ongoing global tragedy and our industry has been hit particularly hard. Since being awarded the CRF grant, we have focussed our efforts on resource sharing and educating others about the routes to financial support available to them.
The Culture Recovery Fund has a few streams of funding. The one that we applied for was for cultural organisations, therefore individuals, artists, grassroots venues and promoters were not eligible to apply. There were separate CRF funding pots available for these groups.
We continue to work with Arts Council England, Help Musicians and PRS Foundation to support artists, producers, creatives and promoters in understanding what public funding is available and how to apply. You can watch our Introduction To UK Public Funding workshop. We will continue to highlight opportunities such as this in the future. Anyone can join.
RA has been whitewashing electronic music for years, why should it get any support?
RA stands against racism, homophobia, misogyny and any other forms of discrimination in the electronic music community and wider society. We are also aware and regretful that we have played a part in perpetuating a white-washed and male-dominated industry.
We have apologised for these failures and many efforts have been and are being undertaken to right historical wrongs. These continue to be a priority.
At the staffing level, we have put our employees through critical training programmes and are also working with organisations including Stonewall, Hustle Crew and Black Young Professionals on other educational initiatives.
We have continued the ongoing work of diversifying our team and creating a more equitable workplace for people of all backgrounds, genders, races and sexual orientations. See our commitments.
We have made, begun and reported on a list of editorial commitments aimed at addressing the historic imbalance of our coverage on the electronic music community. Track our progress, with a further update to follow in the coming weeks.
We have committed £50,000 a year to support grassroots projects and charities in our industry. One of the first partnerships in this field has been with Black Minds Matter. Learn more about that here. We hope to expand on this program as the industry and our business recover.
RA's focus for 2021 is to help support the recovery of local scenes through our content, services, commitments and community initiatives. If you have any suggestions as to how we could better support your local scene, please email us at [email protected]
Read more about RA's commitment to community projects.