Former PRS Foundation Head Vanessa Reed Joins New Music USA as President/CEO

Vanessa Reed
Jordan Curtis Hughes

Vanessa Reed

After 11 years as CEO of UK music funding body PRS Foundation, Vanessa Reed has a new gig. The exec has been appointed president and CEO of New Music USA, another organization that provides grants to music projects.

Based at New Music USA's New York City offices, Reed replaces former CEO Ed Harsh, who left the organization after 17 years to serve as a senior staff member at the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and pursue an independent book project. Interim CEO Deborah Steinglass will continue to serve in that role ahead of Reed’s arrival.

During her time at PRS Foundation, Reed tripled its resources for genre-spanning artists, songwriters and more through initiatives like the Momentum Music Fund, created in partnership with Arts Council England in 2013, the New Music Biennial and Women Make Music, an effort to narrow the gender gap in the music industry. She also brought on major partners including Spotify and BBC Music Introducing. Over her tenure, the foundation awarded more than £26 million (or $33.6 million) to roughly 4,100 new music projects.

"The Board of New Music USA feels profoundly grateful that our search has sourced such an extraordinary woman to lead our organization into the future," said New Music USA chairman Frederick Peters. "Vanessa’s deep knowledge of the field, her boundless energy and fountain of transformative ideas, and her collegial approach make her the perfect leader for New Music USA’s next phase.”

Outside of PRS, Reed is known as the founder of Keychange, a gender balance campaign in music that she established in 2017. In the UK, she has also served as Board member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Chair of Sound UK Arts.

"I believe that music, like every art form, deserves specialist resources and advocates that offer support, build new connections and create a better future for its creators, practitioners and audiences," said Reed. "That’s why I’ve loved every minute of my time at PRS Foundation in the UK and why I’m excited to be taking up this post at New Music USA which plays a crucial role in supporting and connecting America’s many talented and diverse new music communities. I look forward to joining the New Music USA Board and team in New York later this summer.”

Adds PRS Foundation chair Simon Platz: “Vanessa has been the power house behind the force that has transformed the Foundation in recent years. Her passion and energy has been infectious and the strategic partnerships she has struck up between the Foundation and all kinds of major funders, music organizations and national bodies like the BBC will be her enduring legacy. We wish her all the best with her exciting new appointment in New York.”


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