Press release

UK music exports hit a high note with government support

British music companies are to receive government funding to support the promotion of the nation’s music around the world.


Fifteen talented British music acts to receive financial support for touring overseas.

British music companies behind some of the UK’s most hotly-tipped artists are to receive government funding to support the promotion of the nation’s music around the world.

Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Imogen Heap, and the support band for AC/DC’s famous Black Ice World Tour, Belfast’s The Answer, are amongst the artists signed to independent labels who will benefit from funding being made available through the Music Export Growth Scheme.

The Music Export Growth Scheme has been established by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) to help small and medium-sized independent music companies increase international sales.

UKTI Chief Executive Dominic Jermey said:

The British music scene is brimming with talent and around the world UK acts are helping to sell out festivals this summer, from London Grammar at South by South West in the United States to Portishead at Melt! in Germany to Tom Jones back home at the British Summer Time festival.

Through the Music Export Growth Scheme we are helping a new generation of upcoming British talent to capitalise on this success and make their mark in countries around the world, bringing jobs and growth to the UK economy.

I am pleased that acts who we have already supported such as Public Service Broadcasting and the Crookes are really benefitting from our support and growing their international fanbase.

The announcement comes as new figures released by the BPI show that independent companies continue to enjoy great success in the recorded music market. In the first half of this year (2014), independent artists accounted for more than a quarter (27.4%) of all album sales, up 2% year-on-year on the 2013 figure (25.4%). This follows on from a strong year for independent repertoire in 2013 where the share of album sales from indie labels tallied 25.1% - the sector’s highest level in many years - thanks to the popularity of acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Passenger and London Grammar.

Chris Tams, BPI Director of Independent Member Services, said:

Landmark albums and popular records from the canon of British music continue to form a strong core of UK music sales around the world. And in recent years we have started to witness more artists from the independent community top the charts and perform sell-out shows on the international circuit. The Music Export Growth Scheme has a role to play in this success and we are already seeing an encouraging return on the investment made by the government, as bands embark on tours with iconic bands like The Rolling Stones and the Manic Street Preachers.

It’s great to see our first 2 Northern Irish acts make the short-list in this round of funding and we are calling on more great talent from across the nations to apply. It’s an invaluable funding opportunity for developed UK acts and one which can help to springboard them from a local name to global fame.

Just over £250,000 will be provided to independent music companies representing artists who span a cross-section of genres including alternative/rock, electropop, dance, hip hop and soul music:

  • Antlered Man (from London), and Black Moth (Leeds) (touring jointly), signed to London-based New Heavy Sounds
  • Dry The River (London), signed to Stephen Budd Management (London)
  • Fearless Vampire Killers (London) signed to Wiseblood Management (London)
  • Fenech-Soler (Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire), signed to Fwinki Music (London)
  • Fink (Brighton), signed to ATC Management (London)
  • GHETTS (London), signed to Disrupt LTD (London)
  • Hadouken (Leeds), signed to ATC Management (London)
  • Imogen Heap (Essex), signed to Megaphonic Ltd (Essex)
  • Max Cooper (originally from Belfast), signed to Agency X Artist Management (London)
  • Smoove & Turrell (Newcastle), signed to Jalapeno Ltd (Brighton)
  • The Answer (Belfast), signed to TAP Music Ltd (London)
  • The Heavy (Bath), signed to Redlight Management (Bristol)
  • The Wombats (Liverpool), signed to SB Management (London)
  • The Wytches (Peterborough), signed to Raygun Music (Brighton)
  • Waylayers (London), signed to Merrington Music Management (London).

One of the successful bands, Waylayers, spoke of the importance of the funding:

We flew back from South by South West on a wave of incredible publicity, but the financial burden was steep. Every cloud has a silver lining, but it is sometimes difficult to get that exchanged at the Mint! This support secures our debut US tour so we can capitalise on our chart success, and reach our American fans. We’re proud to represent UK music abroad and grateful for the belief that the BPI and UKTI have shown in us.

Damo Holmes of Antlered Man further explained what the funding meant to his band:

Even though it’s much easier in this day and age to download libraries of music at the touch of a button, it’s become much harder for musicians and bands to travel and actually take that music directly to the music fans’ faces and ears. But with the help of the organisation BPI, this funding helps us do this and also keeps us inspired to keep on doing what we love more than anything on this tiny planet. Plus you can’t download the feeling of seeing your favourite band 10 feet in front of you, but I’m certain the guys in the white coats are working on it.

The financial assistance has been provided by UKTI and forms part of efforts to get another 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses exporting. The creative industries have been identified as one of the fastest-growing sectors of the UK economy with the music industry contributing £3.5 million to the Exchequer per year.

Earlier rounds of funding from February and May 2014 have seen more than £500,000 distributed to support the careers of Metronomy, Young Fathers, Slow Club, Public Service Broadcasting and Holy Mountain. As a result of the grant, bands have been able to secure touring slots with The Rolling Stones and Manic Street Preachers while others have gone on to agree publishing, sync, and distribution deals around the world.

John Kennedy, Chair of the Music Export Growth Scheme, said:

As we announce the results of our recent round of funding and move to our new invitation for applications we are beginning to see the results of this commitment by the government to our industry. We are seeing the money being successfully used as seed money to launch or build on international careers, whether by way of sales or synchronisation licences, live appearances, expanded profile or strategic promotional activities - indeed the variety of uses that successful applicants are making of the funds is itself a testament to the innovation that these grants can drive, enhance and encourage.

The initiative will make up to £2.5 million of grants available over a 2 and a half year period. It was announced in October 2013 at a Number 10 meeting with music executives chaired by the Prime Minister David Cameron.

The scheme will re-open for applications on Tuesday 12 August 2014.

Notes to Editors

  1. Companies are eligible to apply if they are a UK-based music company with a turnover of less than €50 million and fewer than 250 employees, as per the EU definition of an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise).
  2. The decision to fund a band is made by an industry panel. Applications are reviewed by the BPI and UKTI and those successfully shortlisted based on the eligibility criteria are considered by a panel of music industry experts, chaired by John Kennedy OBE. The panel draws on the marketing expertise of a number of organisations including the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and the Association of Independent Music (AIM) as well as representatives of independent record labels and BPI.
  3. The selection panel considers each application on success of artist/project in UK, traction of artist/project in the target market, the quality of marketing plan or campaign, the cost effectiveness of the funding, the revenue streams identified and the income projections.
  4. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. UKTI also helps overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. UKTI provides companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit
  5. BPI represents the UK’s recorded music industry, which is one of the most exciting and thriving music sectors in the world. British artists account for 1 in 8 albums purchased by fans around the globe. As a trade body, BPI champions the interests of their membership which includes more than 300 independent music companies and the UK’s major record companies. Together, BPI’s members account for 85% of all music sold in the UK. BPI organises the BRIT Awards show and the Classic BRIT Awards show from which substantial proceeds go to the BRIT Trust – the BPI’s charitable arm – which has donated almost £20 million to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation in 1989.

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Published 7 August 2014