Press release

Government to help UK musicians expand global audience through music exports

DIT re-launches Music Export Growth Scheme in partnership with the BPI to help UK acts achieve global recognition.

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  • Department for International Trade (DIT) re-launches scheme in partnership with the BPI to help acts from across the UK achieve global recognition
  • through Exporting is GREAT up to £2.8 million will be made available in grants to help British acts and independent labels export their music to overseas markets
  • over 100 artists helped to date, including previous recipients Catfish and the Bottlemen, Eska, Young Fathers, Ghetts, Afrikan Boy and Public Service Broadcasting

Britain’s aspiring musicians are set to benefit from a £2.8 million boost to build their global brand, the Department for International Trade and the BPI – the UK record labels’ association that promotes British music – announced today.

The re-launch of the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) will make available up to £2.8 million in support for independent music companies, music labels, distributors and management companies, as they look to build on their UK success and break into overseas markets.

Delivered through the Exporting is GREAT campaign and operated through the BPI, small and medium sized music companies will be eligible for grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 to help promote British artists around the world, giving them the opportunity to go global with their talents.

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 last year alone British acts produced 5 of the global top 10 best-selling albums.

International Trade Minister Mark Garnier said:

UK music has a long history of inspiring millions across the world and influencing generations of artists. We are the second biggest exporter of music in the world and one in every 6 albums sold globally belongs to a British act.

From the Beatles to Skepta, British music is part of the very fabric of our nation and heritage. Our Music Export Growth Scheme will champion the incredible raw talent that we have to offer by giving the support and financial backing many artists need to take that next step.

Chief Executive of the BPI Geoff Taylor said:

The Music Export Growth Scheme has proved a big hit with independent UK artists and their labels, supporting their promotional plans with crucial investment as they look to break into new markets and helping to boost British music sales overseas.

The strength of Britain’s music and creative industries are a strategic asset for this country and can act as a powerful international calling card in a world in which new international trading relationships need to be forged.

London-based soul singer Eska said:

MEGS funding has enabled me to start a relationship with my music across Europe not only in terms of marketing and distribution but touring. This supported key live showcases which have further opened up performance opportunities for me in Europe. It’s been invaluable help for my project as an independent artist.

MEGS funding will be made available until 2020 with the first round of nominations opening on 10 October 2016. Continuing the previous partnership, the BPI will operate the scheme and will help with the selection of ambitious UK music companies and projects that will receive grants. Application forms are now available from the BPI’s website. The deadline for the first wave of applications is 7 November 2016. The first announcements will be made in December 2016.

Over £1.6 million was awarded in grants from the MEGS scheme between January 2014 and March 2016. Artists successfully supported to date include 2016 BRIT Awards winners, Catfish and the Bottlemen, from Wales, 2014 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers from Scotland, London Grime MCs Ghetts and Afrikan Boy, Alternative Rock band Fearless Vampire Killers and Mercury Prize shortlisted solo artist Eska.

Over 117,000 people are employed by the UK music industry and half of the top 10 most popular recording artists in the world hailed from the UK in 2015.

Notes to editors

  1. The Department for International Trade is responsible for promoting British trade across the world and ensuring the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us

  2. It is tasked with developing, coordinating and delivering a new trade and investment policy to promote UK business across the globe; developing and negotiating free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries; negotiating plurilateral trade deals (focused on specific sectors or products) and providing operational support for exports and facilitating inward and outward investment

  3. The BPI was formed in 1973 as a representative voice of the UK recorded music business. Its membership is made up of over 370 independent music labels and the UK’s 3 major record companies

  4. The BPI administers the Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards Programme and co-owns the Official Charts with the Entertainment Retailers Association. It also owns and organises the annual BRIT Awards and the Mercury Prize

  5. Contact BPI or DIT for additional artist quotes and information

  6. Artist images can be found here

  7. London grime artist Afrikan Boy is available for interviews

Media contacts

Department for International Trade: Sarah Kerr, sarah.kerr@beis.gov.uk; 020 7215 5973

BPI: Gennaro Castaldo, gennaro.castaldo@bpi.co.uk; +44 (0)20 7803 1326 / +44 (0)7801 194 139

Published 8 October 2016