The GREAT Britain campaign-funded Music Exports Growth Scheme, run by the BPI, which has already awarded £1.6 million of Government investment to promote over 100 UK artists internationally since its launch in January 2014, has now made a further quarter of a million pounds available to the UK’s independent music sector.
The £249,385 awarded to labels and management companies in this eighth round of MEGS funding will contribute to the marketing and promotional costs of 21 British acts as they look to build their profiles and fan-bases and promote their releases overseas through live tours, digital engagement and other activities.
The recipient artists range from MOBO winning jazz saxophonist YolanDa Brown and Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, to eclectic folk performer Luke Sital-Singh, synthwave act GUNSHIP, and alt rock group Phoria. BRIT School graduate Jamie Isaac is also among the new talents being funded alongside r’n’b artist Moelogo and electro-dance pop 4-piece Boxed In. See below for full list, incl. links to quotes, images & bios.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) re-launched the scheme, through the GREAT Britain campaign, in partnership with the BPI in October 2016, making up to a further £2.8 million available in grants through to 2020 to help British acts and independent labels export their music to overseas markets. With the UK music industry contributing over £4 billion to the UK economy in 2015, it plays a key role in showcasing the best of British talent across the world. After the US, the UK is the largest exporter of music in the world and in 2015 alone British acts produced five of the global top 10 best-selling albums.
Small and medium sized companies are eligible to apply for MEGS grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 to help promote their UK acts around the world, giving them the opportunity to go global with their talents.
BPI Director of International, Chris Tams, said: “The Music Exports Growth Scheme promotes an incredibly diverse range of music that isn’t typically part of the mainstream but deserves to reach a much wider international audience. Smaller labels don’t always have the means to market their talented artists overseas, which is where the Scheme can make a vital difference, helping to boost not only their profiles and fan-bases, but the UK’s music exports in the process.
“We had an excellent response to this latest round of funding – with nearly a 100 applications submitted. Narrowing this down wasn’t easy, but we’re delighted to award nearly a quarter of a million pounds to 21 acts – close to matching the largest amount we’ve given to date.”
International Trade Minister, Mark Garnier, said: “The UK music industry is hugely influential and continues to inspire millions across the world. In 2015, music contributed over £4 billion to the UK economy and five of the world’s top ten selling artists were British.
“In the three months since the re-launch of the Music Exports Growth Scheme in October, we have awarded almost a quarter of a million pounds of funding to UK acts looking to break into international markets. Britain has an incredible pool of raw talent and, through our GREAT campaign, we will continue to help budding artists take the next step towards global success.”
MOBO-winning singer-saxophonist, YolanDa Brown, said of her MEGS grant: "Music has the power to spread love, inspire and unite people. I want my music to travel without limits and reach new audiences. As an independent artist, everything from recording the music to touring, marketing and press is self-funded. I am grateful to be awarded a Music Export Growth Scheme and excited to cross borders with my music.”
A spokesperson for Marathon Artists speaking on behalf of BRIT School graduate Jamie Isaac, said: “2016 was Jamie Isaac’s breakout year. We’re fortunate in the digital age to know exactly where our audience sits, and there’s a huge proportion of it in America. Now, with the help of MEGS funding, we’re finally able to reach them – and further still, to expand that audience. In the era of streaming, nothing can solidify the relationship with fans like a great show. The tour will allow us to promote Jamie throughout the key regions of the States, opening up new revenue streams through record sales and merchandise, as well as solidifying licensee relationships for future releases. A great tour, accompanied by a great run of promo from our US team, will firmly establish Jamie Isaac as an international artist with a certified fan-base to engage with, and, most importantly, it will set up international revenue streams coming back to the UK.”
Julian Deane, Raygun Records, said of recipient Luke Sital-Singh: “We’re beyond delighted to be awarded funding for Luke. We’ve already made great headway in terms of licensing Luke’s music for TV in the US, and this award will go a long way to us having the ability to promote Luke beyond his current position in creating a real on-the-ground fan-base. These are tough times, and this will make a huge difference as we look to break Luke as an international artist.”
MEGS recipients GUNSHIP said: “The Scheme presents a fantastic opportunity for artists like GUNSHIP. A limited marketing budget for our debut album campaign forced us to learn how to make the most of every penny and to grasp every opportunity to innovate with our strategy. With the award of this funding we will be able to take that same mentality and be exponentially more effective in growing our already-passionate US fan-base. This time our neo 80's retro futuristic assault has just been turbo charged!”
MEGS recipients Mt. Wolf said: "It truly is a great privilege to be awarded the funding for the Music Exports Growth Scheme, thank you very much for believing in us and our music! We're really excited as this funding will give us an opportunity to tour Europe next year, and hopefully to build a fan-base in many territories we've never explored before."
The 21 acts to benefit from this latest round of MEGS funding are:
- Boxed In (Moshi Moshi Music) – British singer, songwriter & producer Oli Bayston leads English Electro Dance-Pop 4-piece. With two album releases to date – Boxed In (2015) and Melt (2016). Planned activity: Build profile in US with live & promo tour in April 2017. Support for Melt LP and digital releases & vinyl LP for US RecordStoreDay. Instore events & possible NYC MOMA visual event.
- Cate Le Bon (Turnstile Music Partners) – Welsh singer/songwriter who has released 4 solo albums, including recently Crab Day, and has worked with Manic Street Preachers, Neon Neon and Funeral for a Friend’s Matt Davies. Planned activity: Funding for US live touring & festival appearances, supported by ongoing marketing & promo for ‘Crab Day’. Promo for unreleased tracks EP in US.
- Charlie Cunningham (Mute Management) – London songwriter and performer widely regarded for his musicianship and signature flamenco guitar style honed in Seville. With 3 EPs and a debut album Lines to his credit. Planned activity: Promote his debut LP via tours in Germany, Benelux & Spain, with funding for increased stage show and other fan engagement.
- Clock Opera (Venn Productions) – London-based British indie rock act fronted by founder Guy Connelly. The 4-piece have a debut LP Ways to Forget to their name, with plans to release a second album Venn in 2017. Planned activity: Fund logistics of extended headline European tour so more cities can be added, plus increased marketing & press support to amplify engagement around gigs.
- Deaf Havana (Silva Screen Records/So Recordings) – English alt rock group from Norfolk formed in 2005 after the band met at college. With 3 studio LPs to their name and a new album, All These Countless Nights, due for release in 2017. Planned activity: Full US media and retail servicing, including radio promotion, to support release of band’s 4th album.
- Don Broco (Raw Power Management) – English rock act originally formed at school in Bedford, but with their craft honed at university. The group’s debut LP Priorities was released in 2012, followed up by Automatic in 2015. Planned activity: Help fund 1st ever US tour, supporting The State Champs, also laying foundation for 2018 US live activity. Digital marketing to promote ‘Automatic’ LP
- Everything Everything (Red Light Management) – Manchester indie act spanning art pop and electronica, the 4-piece with 3 Ivor Novello nominations have released 3 LPs including 2011 Mercury Prize shortlisted Man Alive. Planned activity: Fund a return US tour (incl. session musicians) & promotional activity to coincide with band’s 4th album, and continue building fan-base/raise profile.
- Flamingods (Liquid Management) – Multi-instrumental 5-piece formed in Bahrain in 2009 by Kamal Rasool, with an experimental sound reflecting diverse global influences. 4 LPs released including Majesty in 2016. Planned activity: Marketing, Press & PR & promo engagement in US, France, Germany, Holland & Italy to support touring and new product releases.
- Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes (ATC Management) – North England hardcore 4-piece formed in 2015 by former Gallows frontman Frank Carter. Album Blossom & EP Rotten (2015) but second LP Modern Ruin due. Planned activity: North America tour & festival dates, plus enable increased fan engagement via in-store events and promotional activity, including an exclusive indie vinyl release.
- GUNSHIP (Horsie in the Hedge) – British synthwave band formed by Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway & Alex Gingell, “influenced by the soundtracks of 80s film, TV shows, video games & cartoons”. Self-titled debut LP in 2015. Planned activity: Support towards US marketing, press & PR, including promo trip to build on sync opportunities, and release of 360 degree Virtual Reality video of new single.
- Jamie Isaac (Marathon Artists) – BRIT School classically trained vocalist & pianist from Croydon, whose work spans jazz, R&B, soul, hip hop & electronica. His acclaimed debut LP Couch Baby was released in July 2016. Planned activity: Support major assault on US market – 2017 tour, including SXSW, and launch of promo mixtape with re-mixed album tracks, with digital marketing support.
- Luke Sital-Singh (Raygun Records) – London singer & songwriter with a folk sensibility. Featured on the BBC Sounds Poll of 2014 and exciting interest. Followed up his 2014 debut The Fire Inside with Time is a Riddle. Planned activity: North America tour to capitalise on growing interest in his music, including syncs, and establish him as an artist there. Film promo videos while on tour.
- Moelogo (Since98) – Originally from Nigeria, London-based artist influenced by R.Kelly and Usher. His R&B, Reggae-infused style is finding its audience, with break-through single Pangolo going viral online. Planned activity: Servicing of 2 new singles and an EP to European & world media
- Moose Blood (Raw Power Management) – Kent-based emo rockers, who are building a devoted following through their sell out tours & festival appearances. With 2 LPs under their belt, including the acclaimed top-10 hit Blush. Planned activity: Build on successful 2016 tours in US, Australia & Europe by funding further 2017 touring, freeing label investment in digital marketing & promo.
- Mt. Wolf (CRC Music) – 3-piece regarded for their layered sound splicing electronic & acoustic elements, as well as a growing live reputation. Their long-awaited debut album is due in early 2017. Planned activity: Tour, radio & PR support in France/Germany to promote 2017 debut album.
- Phoria (X Novo Records) – Brighton-based alt rock band who stand out with their “visually evocative soundscapes”. Fronted by composer Trewin Howard, the 5-piece released their debut LP Volition in June 2016. Planned activity: Support a US tour of key cities to build the band’s fan-base and promote Volition LP. Build sync and publishing partnerships in North America, and release EP to engage fans.
- Slaves (Seven 7 Artist Management) – Kent duo whose music has been described as “British punk with harsh bluesy riffs”. Their 2 LPs both made top-10, with their 2015 debut Are You Satisfied also shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Planned activity: Fund US tour of key cities & SXSW to build on live reputation and add to word of mouth fan engagement.
- TIGERCUB (Alcopop! Records) – Brighton “grungy” rock trio James, Jamie & Jimi came together in 2010, heavily influenced by Nirvana, Sonic Youth and other 90s rock acts. Their debut full LP Abstract Figures in the Dark came out in 2016. Planned activity: Grow fan-base in Europe via touring, press & PR and social media – videographer.
- Vanessa White (Salute the Sun Records) – British singer-songwriter and musical actress also known for being a member of the successful girl group The Saturdays, now striking out with a solo career. Planned activity: Looking to tap into major interest in The Philippines, with promo visits, radio, and digital & social marketing.
- White Lies (White Lies) – West London “post-punk” 3-piece formed in 2007, who have drawn comparisons with the likes of Joy Division & Editors. With 3 albums released to date incl. the No.1 To Lose My Life, and new album Friends due for release. Planned activity: Contribute to shortfall cost for 13-date North American tour to promote ‘Friends’.
- YolanDa Brown (Black Grape Global) – MOBO winning singer/saxophonist praised for her “singular mix of jazz, soul and reggae”. Her debut LP April Showers May Flowers hit No.1 on iTunes & Amazon jazz charts, and she will support Billy Ocean’s 2017 UK tour. Planned activity: Contribution to fund cost of live concert appearances in Australia, Nigeria & US, and related promotional activity.