Independent & major labels trade association the BPI today announces details of its 20th round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding, with a total of £300,000 awarded in support of 20 independent UK artists as they look to grow their international profile in music markets around the world.
The scheme is a partnership between industry and Government which exists to boost British music exports by supporting small to medium sized music companies as they build on the commercial potential and profile of their artists in overseas markets.
This latest round of the Scheme, which is BPI run, is co-funded through the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) alongside industry investment, which on average contributes just under two-thirds (64%) of total spend.
Coinciding with International Trade Week, the 20 artists who are benefitting from this latest round of artist investment are drawn from around the UK and reflect the broad diversity of British music across different genres. Without MEGS, independent labels and artists are often not in a position to fully fund the type of marketing and promotional work needed to connect artists and fans globally, and in turn maximise the opportunity to grow their export revenues.
The successful applicants include companies representing Mercury Prize-shortlisted rock bands IDLES from Bristol and Black Country, New Road from London; Belfast-born electronic & techno producer Max Cooper; Margate electro-pop artist, BABii; R’n’B performer Eloise; London R&B/Soul singer-songwriter Poppy Ajudha; Devon folk-guitarist John Smith; Welsh-born multi-instrumentalist and songwriter The Anchoress; London tuba player, composer and member of jazz band Sons of Kemet, Theon Cross; and Scottish goth-glam band Walt Disco.
This funding comes at pivotal time for the UK music industry, as it continues to push to maintain its position as the second biggest exporter of recorded music, as global competition intensifies. While the UK’s recorded music sector has succeeded in growing export revenues in recent years, with 1 in 10 songs streamed globally by a British artist, the UK’s share of the global market has slipped from 17% in 2015 to 10% today. Continued funding provided by Government through MEGS has the potential to strengthen our ability to compete and help the industry grow annual music exports to £1billion a year by the end of the decade.
Mike Freer MP, Minister for Exports at the Department for International Trade, said:
“Our music industry is one of the UK’s strongest cultural and economic assets. Every year countless songs are written in the UK and performed around the world. We want to continue to make the most of the global opportunity to grow British music and DIT is proud to co-fund MEGS with industry to support independent labels and artists.”
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said:
“British music faces more intense competition than ever before in a rapidly globalising streaming business. MEGS funding allows a broad range of brilliant independent artists – from rap to rock and electro to jazz – to boost their fanbases overseas and grow their global streaming income. MEGS is a great investment for Government, returning 12x its cost to the economy. The time is right for Government to work with industry to expand it, so that more small British businesses and artists, from all round the country, can capitalise on the surge in streaming.”
MEGS recipient artist, fast-rising rapper from Leicester, Sainté, said:
"This award will be super-beneficial for an artist like myself, aiming to reach ears globally. It will help me to expand my reach, getting my music out to new audiences looking for a new artist like myself to provide the sounds they're hunting for!"
Matt Jacob of Memphis Management representing recipient artist – Leeds based Yard Act said:
“The MEGS award will massively help Yard Act make headway in the USA, helping facilitate key Stateside shows including high profile festivals and a string of headline dates. It will also help pay for independent publicity and radio teams who’ll be working the release of Yard Act’s debut album “The Overload” and help bring Yard Act to a wider audience. The award will assist Yard Act to build a dedicated fan base in the USA.”
Jeff Bell, GM International, artisan Records, speaking of the MEGS grant to IDLES, said:
“MEGS funding provides a crucial avenue for UK artists to invest early and develop audiences in markets that are traditionally expensive to break. For years IDLES' renowned live show has been in demand across LATAM, and this support helps us meet that demand with genuine marketing and promotional activity and continue to grow their profile (and business) in one of the most exciting developing music markets in the world.”