The latest round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding sees the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) jointly committing an expanded £1.6 million to help music SMEs grow the international profile of their in overseas markets.

Applications for Round 22 MEGS funding will open on 8 November and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 4th December 2023.

Over the next two years, Government funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme has been expanded by a further £3.2 million. This expanded government funding is jointly provided by the DBT and DCMS and was announced as part of the publication of the Creative Industries Sector Vision in August.

The innovative MEGS initiative, which is joint-funded by industry and Government, is managed by the BPI and aims to boost UK music exports by making grants available to small-and medium-sized independent music companies to support artists’ careers in overseas markets. Since its launch in 2014, MEGS has supported more than 300 UK artist export projects across all genres, with artists benefiting including Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective, beabadoobee, Bicep, Dave, Rina Sawayama, Wolf Alice, Young Fathers, and many more across a broad range of backgrounds and genres. It has generated a return on investment of more than £13 for every £1 received from Government.

This latest funding round follows recent BPI data which showed that British music exports surpassed £700 million annually for the first time in 2022. The potential for continued growth in the future is ample too, with Goldman Sachs predicting that the global recorded music industry will expand from $25.9bn in 2021 to $53.2bn by 2030. The BPI estimates that, with the right support, the UK has the opportunity to expand its annual music exports to over £1 billion by 2030.

Despite this success, the UK’s share of the global market is under pressure from competing markets including the US and Europe alongside rapidly growing domestic markets such as in Latin America and South Korea. Continued Government support and funding through schemes such as MEGS is vital if we are going to maintain our status of the second biggest exporter of recorded music globally.

A diverse range of artists and genres have been supported by MEGS funding over the past eight years, including BRITs and Mercury Prize winner Dave, new wave jazz group and Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, grime performer Ghetts and the London Symphony Orchestra.  

Among the previous MEGS success stories, electronic music artists Bicep and HONNE, singer-songwriters Beabadoobee, Bruno Major and Rina Sawayama, and Mercury Prize and BRITs winning rock band Wolf Alice. Leeds rock band Yard Act and pop star Self Esteem are also previous MEGS recipients and were both shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize.

Applications for the next round (22nd) of MEGS funding will open on 8th November and close on 4th December 2023. Successful applicants will be announced in early 2024. 

Dr Jo Twist OBE, Chief Executive of the BPI said: “During a time when British artists face more global competition than ever, we are delighted to continue our successful partnership with government to grow British music exports through the Music Export Growth Scheme funding. With a return on investment of over £13 for every £1 received, we are pleased that government recognises the value of the scheme as a critical resource for the UK’s independent music sector, while also driving economic growth. This expanded government funding will enable us to help even more talented British artists break through to build global fanbases and ensure the UK remains a leader in the global music market.”

Minister for Exports Lord Offord said: 

“We are proud to support our creative industries, so it is excellent news that we have tripled MEGS funding, ensuring UK artists and SMEs can continue to grow British music abroad.

The UK is the second largest exporter of recorded music in the world, with artists here accounting for 1 in 10 tracks streamed globally in 2020, helping to broadcast brand Britain, create jobs and grow the economy.”