Collection society PRS for Music has launched its Back to Live Music Venue Prize in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The competition will offer independent live music venues the chance to win one of six regional prizes of up to £10,000.

The competition will run throughout the year and is open to independent live music venues that are not part of a national brand. Venues can be bespoke music venues or be part of another business such as a pub or bar, as long as they had an established standalone live music offering before the Covid-19 pandemic.

PRS for Music said it saw an 84% decline in the number of live performance setlists reported to the organisation between 2019 and 2021, falling from 124,000 in 2019, to 19,300 in 2021.

PRS for Music CEO Andrea Czapary Martin said, “Venues play such an important part in the music industry ecosystem, with many featuring live performances by emerging talented songwriters and composers.

“Last year, we launched our ‘On with the Show’ campaign to support our members returning to performing live, this initiative builds on that to ensure we can joy that live music.”

PRS for Music senior relationship manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Stuart Fleming said, “These venues not only offer an essential space for songwriters and composers to develop as performers, but provide an opportunity to showcase new music and build strong fan bases. We are excited to see music fans enjoying live music in a safe environment once more.”

Back to Live Music Venue Prize 2022 ambassador for Northern Ireland, Ryan McMullan (pictured) said, “All the best gigs I’ve been to, have been in independent venues. They hold a different energy and invite ‘up-and-coming’ acts to test their limits.”

To enter the competition, applicants must detail how the prize money would be spent, and what it would mean for their business to win. The judging panel will be made up of figures and representatives from across the music, arts, and hospitality sectors.