Applications for the next round of funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) are now being received. Eligible music companies and individuals1 – have until 4th January 2021 to apply here, and will be notified in late January 2021 if they have been successful.
The BPI-administered scheme, which is returning following a hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic2, is funded by the Department for International Trade working in partnership with the Exporting is GREAT campaign. It is designed to boost British music exports by supporting small to medium sized music companies as they look to build on the potential of their artists in overseas markets.
BPI is keen to help kick-start the re-promotion of music in overseas markets, so, with live touring and travel restricted by lockdowns and other Covid-19 related measures, BPI will focus this round of funding on digital marketing and other forms of overseas promotion. Applications are invited to help fund activities such as radio, TV & press promotion; social media engagement; retail marketing with DSPs and stores; advertising across all platforms; and other marketing, promotion and asset creation for overseas use. Any funds secured by successful applicants must be spent and claimed by March 31st 2021.
UK acts and their labels currently account for 1 in 9 albums sold around the world and 1 in every 10 streams – a level of success underlined by the recent Spotify announcement that recordings by British artists Harry Styles (Fine Line) and Dua Lipa (Future Nostalgia) are among the top-5 most globally-streamed albums of the year on that platform3. This highlights the vital importance of music exports and the pressing need to help British artists of all profiles and backgrounds to help find and build their audiences at home and around the world. It demonstrates the leading role labels play in a creative process that matters not just to the music industry but to the wider UK Economy and to future growth strategies aimed at boosting international trade.
Since its launch in 2014, the Music Export Growth Scheme has enabled over £4 million – a significant measure of it match-funded by music companies – to be distributed to 272 British-based acts drawn largely from the independent music community. It has generated £46.5 million in export revenues for the UK economy, and an average return of £12 for every £1 invested4.
A diverse range of artists and genres have been supported in the past six years including Hyundai Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice and Young Fathers, and BRITs Mastercard British Album of The Year and Hyundai Mercury Prize winner Dave. Other acts backed with investment range from Welsh rockers Catfish & The Bottlemen, new wave jazz group Ezra Collective, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, and BRIT School rock outfit Black Midi, to saxophonist YolanDa Brown, grime performer Ghetts, singer-songwriter Tom Speight, Anglo-Indian-American percussionist Sarathy Korwar, and the London Symphony Orchestra4.
Chris Tams, BPI Director of International overseeing the MEGS programme, said:
“It’s great news that we are able to re-open applications to the Music Export Growth Scheme, which has become an amazing success story for British music overseas and for indie acts in particular. This investment provides invaluable and timely support that can make that critical difference to artists on the verge of an international breakthrough, helping them to build impetus and grow their global audience. With all the severe disruption and financial challenges of the past year, the Scheme is now needed more than ever.“
1 Music Export Growth Scheme details and eligibility:
- Companies will be eligible to apply for the scheme if they meet the Government’s criteria on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Annual turnover of €50m or less and no more than 249 employees.
- Eligible companies can apply for grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 by presenting detailed campaign proposals to a specially appointed Selection Board. The presentations would need to detail how any grant would be invested in effective marketing and other promotional activity oversees, such as through artist showcases, tour support, social media and publicity. Before agreeing to a grant, the Board members would need to feel persuaded that the plans have a strong chance of succeeding in meeting their objectives.
- Companies must part-fund from their own resources, demonstrating their own commitment to the proposed activity. A company will not be able to receive more than two grants per year, while the total sum that it receives over the duration of the scheme may not exceed the state aid limits that apply at the time.
- The Selection Board, which is independently chaired, meets three times a year to consider applications. It is made up of a diverse range of over 20 industry experts and representatives drawn from a number of music organisations as well as from the BPI and DIT and includes a professional/business advisor.
- The scheme is managed by BPI as the Accredited Trade Organisation. This includes marketing the fund and its benefits to the music sector; advising on applications before they are submitted; administering the award of grants; and monitoring the impact of approved campaigns against agreed performance criteria.
- The scheme supports Government’s promotion of exports including under the GREAT campaign.
2 The last round of funding (18) was awarded in February 2020 here.
3 Spotify #2020 Wrapped report here.
4 Music Export Growth Scheme Impact Report here.