The BPI, the trade association for the UK’s record companies and labels, and the representative voice of British recorded music, today announces details of the latest (22nd) round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding.
A total of £1.6 million, the largest annual amount since the scheme launched in 2014, has been distributed to support 67 UK artists from a range of genres and backgrounds, as they grow their international profile and exports in global markets.
The recipient artists from this latest round of funding are drawn from the UK’s nations and regions, reflecting the vibrant diversity of British music across different genres. The successful applicants include British companies representing Manchester’s indie-rock band Blossoms and R&B singer-songwriter Pip Millett, Liverpool dance music artist HAYLA, Cambridge rock band Black Country, New Road, Leeds afro-jazz band Nubiyan Twist, who formed at the Leeds College of Music, and Belfast electronic producer Max Cooper. There are also several artists hailing from London including Mercury Prize shortlisted rock duo Nova Twins, post-punk band Warmduscher, R&B singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey, jazz artist and producer Laura Misch and classical music’s London Symphony Orchestra.
See NOTES below for the full recipient artist list.
Developed and administered by the BPI, the scheme boosts British music exports by supporting small-to-medium-sized independent UK companies as they build the commercial profile of their artists in key markets overseas. It is a successful partnership between industry and Government with joint funding coming from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) alongside investment from the UK recorded music industry, which on average contributes 64% of total spend.
This is the latest round of MEGS since the expanded Government funding for the scheme was announced as part of the Creative Industries Sector Vision in June 2023. A further £3.2 million was pledged to support the scheme over the next two years, meaning that higher grants can be provided to a greater number of artists, in turn generating more revenue from music exports back to the UK creative economy.
This expanded Government funding comes at a pivotal time for British music as it faces increasingly intensifying competition in the global market. Emerging British artists are vying for fans alongside the deep catalogue of music available on streaming services and artists from almost every corner of the world, including long-time music powerhouses such as the US and Canada and rapidly expanding markets including South Korea and Latin America. Despite record annual growth of UK recorded music exports to £709 million in 2022, overall, the UK’s share of the global market has slipped from 17% in 2015 to around 10% today. Continued Government backing for MEGS is therefore essential for the UK, and its independent sector in particular, to keep breaking new talent on the global stage, and for annual music exports to remain on target to reach £1 billion by 2030.
Furthermore, with rapidly rising international touring costs, without MEGS independent artists and UK SMEs are often unable to fully fund all the marketing and promotional work needed to connect with fans globally. As a result, opportunities to maximise export revenues and boost overseas profiles amongst increasing international competition can be missed without such funding.
2024 marks ten years of MEGS, and in that time, it has supported the international careers of more than 300 British artists including Dave, Rina Sawayama, Self Esteem, Jungle, Young Fathers, Kae Tempest and 2023 Mercury Prize winners, Ezra Collective. Through 22 rounds over the last ten years, the scheme has invested over £6 million in British music, leading to an estimated £55.5 million financial return to the UK economy and a return on investment of nearly £14 for every £1 received from Government.
According to BPI analysis of Luminate data, more than 100 previous MEGS recipient artists each generated over 10 million audio streams of their music globally during 2023. Combined, these artists accumulated over 10 billion audio streams around the world in 2023 - up by 13% year-on-year. Nearly two dozen of these artists each surpassed 100 million audio streams globally across the year, including singer-songwriters beadadoobee, Bruno Major and Novo Amor, electronic music artists Bicep, Honne and Maribou State, rapper Knucks, rock bands Amber Run and The Heavy, indie pop artists The Japanese House, Oh Wonder and Strawberry Guy, and Mercury Prize and BRITS winners Wolf Alice.
Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for DBT said: “SMEs are the cornerstones of our communities and the lifeblood of our economy – their success is Britain’s success and we are backing them all the way. Whether it’s removing burdensome regulations, tackling access to finance or helping them to export overseas, my Department is working around the clock to help them grow their business. I’m delighted we’re able to back more artists than ever before. I congratulate the successful acts and look forward to seeing them bang the drum for Britain across the globe.”
Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI Chief Executive said:
“We’re delighted to announce the biggest round of MEGS funding to date, supporting close to 70 talented and diverse UK artists to take their careers to the next level - building new fanbases globally while boosting British exports. At a time when UK artists face more competition than ever, we’re grateful to Government for its recognition of the scheme as an essential resource in enabling new British talent to break through on the global stage, while seeing excellent financial returns for music exports. We only need to look at the success of artists that MEGS has supported over the last ten years to showcase its cultural and financial importance. Therefore, it's vital that Government continues its support to ensure the UK remains a global music power.”
Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for DCMS said:
“The Music Export Growth Scheme has been launching careers internationally for a decade, supporting more than 300 artists, including some of Britain's most successful acts like Dave, Rina Sawayama and Ezra Collective, while generating more than £55 million for the economy. Thanks to this latest round of funding - the biggest in MEGS history - the scheme will maximise the potential of a new generation of home-grown talent, as part of our ambitious plans to grow the creative industries by £50 billion and support one million more jobs by 2030."
Notes to Editors
Please see below for quotes from some of the MEGS recipient artists and/or their representatives.
Azekel: “I’m so very fortunate to benefit from the BPI’s Music Export Growth Scheme. Immediately, it will allow me to spend time in Nigeria (where my music has its roots) collaborating with leading local artists which will help to drive support for me across Africa. This is a key market where I would like to grow my presence, which will in turn influence the international marketplace. Without this funding, this wouldn’t be possible and I’m hugely grateful.”
Beren Olivia: “I'm so grateful to be receiving the MEGS grant which, as an independent artist, will go such a long way in helping to market and promote my upcoming EP in (until now) territories that have been out of reach such as Asia, Australia/ NZ, and South America. It’s so exciting to see my fanbase grow, support, and interact with my project and music that I’ve been working so hard on - and I can’t wait to see what this next year brings!”
Black Country, New Road: Speaking on behalf of Black Country, New Road, Ninja Tune said: “Ninja Tune and Black Country, New Road are thankful to BPI for providing us with this funding. The band have previously received MEGS funding which was extremely useful in enabling a successful North American tour, propelling them to new heights in that market. This grant will help BC,NR to tour South Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand, all territories which they’ll be performing in for the first time!”
Blossoms: “Big thanks to the BPI and MEGS for funding our next tour of the US. We can’t wait to get back there to do some dates.”
BOJ: Speaking on behalf of BOJ, Kofi Kyei Head of Marketing at MOVES Recordings said: “The MEGS funding from the BPI will empower us to amplify BOJ’s music to wider audiences in the USA as we build on the strong foundation for his success already established over the past year. This further investment comes at the perfect time leading into BOJ’s much anticipated upcoming album release, where we are now ideally positioned to increase the reach and impact of his artistry stateside.”
Ferris & Sylvester: “We are so thrilled to have the support from Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) for our upcoming tour this spring. Thanks to the MEGS funding, we are playing our first headline shows in Europe surrounding our album campaign. We are so grateful. Thank you MEGS!”
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes: “MEGS financial support marks a pivotal moment for us, empowering a global approach to our campaign. The funds will be instrumental in realising our vision, particularly in securing upcoming tours in the United States and Australia. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to expand our music internationally.”
Halina Rice: "I'm absolutely thrilled to receive the MEGS funding. This will enable my team and I to build international audiences and a presence with a series of headline shows across Europe and Scandinavia, replicating the successful digital marketing techniques used to sell out shows across the UK."
Hayla: “I am thrilled to be a recipient of this year’s MEGS funding and so thankful to the BPI for their generous support. This grant will allow me to take my music further afield internationally, discovering new listeners and opportunities outside of the UK, and I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you so much!”
HotWax: "We’re so happy to have received MEGS funding, thank you to everyone involved. We are so excited to tour again in America, we had the best time and really felt our music fit well there. It’ll be amazing to expand our music’s reach stateside, connect with new fans and grow our audience for the future.”
Lime Garden: “We're pleased to announce that we've been awarded funding by the BPI’s Music Export Scheme. The grant will help fund our debut headline tour of the U.S. and allows us to take our live show to new places!”
London Symphony Orchestra: “In September 2024, the London Symphony Orchestra will embark on a major Asia tour encompassing Japan, South Korea and China led by the LSO's new Chief Conductor, Sir Antonio Pappano. This tour provides us with the catalyst for developing audiences in the concert hall and digitally. The LSO’s Asia performances will reach a capacity live audience of 24,000, and yet there is potential to engage millions more through substantial online engagement. With the support from the BPI Music Export Scheme, we can invest in capitalising on this moment. We are hugely grateful for this endorsement of the ambition for UK music.”
Master Peace: “I am so grateful to MEGS for funding my huge aspirations for year ahead - a support tour in America followed by a European headline tour. I love nothing more than connecting with my fans so a big part of my international tour plans will involve real life meet-ups and events!”
Mica Miller: "International touring for UK artists is extremely challenging both logistically and financially but it is absolutely crucial for building new audiences. With the support of this funding, I have been able to invest in touring across France, Germany and The Netherlands, perhaps most importantly, financing supplementary marketing and promotional activities alongside my live shows. Additional marketing will have a positive impact on ticket sales and help me build the trust of promoters in new territories which will positively impact my ability to continue touring outside of the UK. Investing heavily in marketing in multiple territories is something which would not be practical or viable for me as a UK independent artist/label without financial support".
Nova Twins: “Big love to the BPI's Music Export Growth Scheme. This funding has made it possible for us to go on a North American tour supporting the mighty Foo Fighters, sharing our music overseas! It means we can bring our trusted touring crew with us, so our shows run smoothly. Having a reliable team by our side is not only essential for the quality of each performance but also for our sanity on the road. This support has allowed us to focus on what we love – delivering a show that we can be proud of while connecting with our fans stateside!”
Porij: “Being a British band, the idea of touring America is a massive dream! So many of our favourite bands have done the same and thanks to the MEGS funding we’re going to be able to do the same. We’re really excited to be playing at SXSW and doing our first headline tour across America. Seeing so many amazing cities is definitely a massive bucket list moment, none of us have been to America before so it’s a bit of a dream come true to be able to tour there.”
Steam Down: - Steam Down’s Founder and Creative Director Ahnansé said: “We are beyond excited to begin building our community overseas! The power of music, community and intentionally bringing people together is a universal language, and exactly what Steam Down was created to do!”
Warmduscher: “It’s nearly impossible for emerging independent UK bands to break through foreign markets given today's climate and costs with Brexit, Visas, and marketing expenses. This grant is crucial to continue building on our growing demands in markets like North America and Europe and take us to the next level of success and growth as a band. We cannot thank MEGS enough for the opportunity.”
The 67 recipient artists from the 22nd MEGS funding:
Air Drawn Dagger, Andrew Cushin, Azekel, bar italia, Beren Olivia, Black Country, New Road, Blossoms, Boj, Camilla George/Blue Lab Beats, Casey, Cassia, Cherym, CVC, DITZ, Don't Sleep, Ferris & Sylvester, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Gen and the Degenerates, Gengahr, gglum, Gina Birch, girli, Goat Girl, Gretel Hänlyn, Gruff Rhys, Halina Rice, HAYLA, HotWax, Jalen Ngonda, Jeshi, Jo Harrop, Kid Kapichi, Lake Malice, Laura Misch, Lime Garden, London Symphony Orchestra, Lynks, Marika Hackman, Master Peace, Max Cooper, Mica Millar, Nova Twins, Nubiyan Twist, Pale Blue Eyes, Pip Millett, Porij, Potter Payper, Puma Blue, Red Rum Club, Richard Farlie, Sea Girls, Shao Dow, Sonic Boom Six, Soul Kitchen, St. Lundi, Steam Down, Surusinghe, TesseracT, The Lovely Eggs, The Pineapple Thief, The Snuts, Those Damn Crows, Vexed, Viji, Walt Disco, Warmduscher, Yazmin Lacey.