More than 200 members of U.K. songwriters' collecting society PRS for Music will be performing at SXSW this year, with some British acts benefiting directly from the support of the society.

Overall, the U.K. is the second biggest represented country after the U.S. at SXSW, with a total of 172 acts, up from 112 last year.

The indie music festival begins today (March 18) in Austin, Texas and runs until March 22, with 1,900 acts across 88 stages.

Myles Keller, PRS for Music membership development director, says that the support the society offers cannot be purely funded by its own revenue.

"We need to look at partnerships to make a lot of these things happen," he tells Billboard.biz. This year the society has worked with magazine publisher Bauer, "Guitar Hero" publisher Activision and marketing company Xaster.

"Guitar Hero" is the main sponsor for the Kerrang! magazine party at the Wave on March 19, featuring acts including Enter Shikari, Frank Turner and Welsh rock newcomers Attack! Attack!

The band won a competition to have a track included with the fifth instalment of "Guitar Hero," which prompted PRS for Music to seek to extend the band's partnership with Activision at SXSW.

"We've been able to get Attack! Attack! out there and they are playing the 'Guitar Hero' show," says Keller. "Our association with the two events has helped them to get out there."

The other show, also with "Guitar Hero" as the main sponsor, is the official Q magazine party at the Parish featuring You Me At Six, Pete & the Pirates and Graham Coxon. Both concerts have a capacity up to around 400.

The PRS Foundation, the charitable body funded by PRS for Music, is also helping 18 British acts to attend SXSW as part of the British Music Abroad scheme along with U.K. Trade & Investment and British Underground on behalf of Arts Council England

"In the years to come it's not going to get any easier," says Keller of the economic challenges facing emerging acts. "We need to partner with people."

He adds that deals such as that with Activision mean that PRS for Music is "even more vital" to songwriters in terms of the support it can offer.

After Mexico, Canada is the fourth most represented country among the artists, followed by Spain and Australia who are joint fifth. With 30 acts, Australia has its highest representation ever at SXSW.

See the current issue of Billboard for more on SXSW.

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