BPI

20 British Indie Artists Share £300,000 Music Exports Boost

Latest round of Music Export Growth Scheme funding announced. £4.3 million invested in supporting up to 300 diverse, independent artists since the scheme's launch in 2014; generating over £51 million in music exports for the UK and a return of £12 for every £1 invested.

London, 18th November 2021

Independent & major labels trade association the BPI today announces details of its 20th round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding, with a total of £300,000 awarded in support of 20 independent UK artists as they look to grow their international profile in music markets around the world.

The scheme is a partnership between industry and Government which exists to boost British music exports by supporting small to medium sized music companies as they build on the commercial potential and profile of their artists in overseas markets. The MEGS grant is provided by the UK Government, co-funded by industry investment, which on average contributes just under two-thirds (64%) of total spend.

Coinciding with International Trade Week, the 20 artists who are benefitting from this latest round of artist investment are drawn from around the UK and reflect the broad diversity of British music across different genres.  Without MEGS, independent labels and artists are often not in a position to fully fund the type of marketing and promotional work needed to connect artists and fans globally, and in turn maximise the opportunity to grow their export revenues.

The successful applicants include companies representing Mercury Prize-shortlisted rock bands IDLES from Bristol and Black Country, New Road from London; Belfast-born electronic & techno producer Max Cooper; Margate electro-pop artist, BABii; R’n’B performer Eloise; Jazz-influenced London singer-songwriter Poppy Ajudha; Devon folk-guitarist John Smith; Welsh-born multi-instrumentalist and songwriter The Anchoress; London tuba player, composer and member of jazz band Sons of Kemet, Theon Cross; and Scottish goth-glam band Walt Disco.

This funding comes at pivotal time for the UK music industry, as it continues to push to maintain its position as the second biggest exporter of recorded music, as global competition intensifies. While the UK’s recorded music sector has succeeded in growing export revenues in recent years, with 1 in 10 songs streamed globally by a British artist, the UK’s share of the global market has slipped from 17% in 2015 to 10% today. Continued funding provided by Government through MEGS has the potential to strengthen our ability to compete and help the industry grow annual music exports to £1billion a year by the end of the decade.

Mike Freer MP, Minister for Exports at the Department for International Trade, said:

Our music industry is one of the UK’s strongest cultural and economic assets. Every year countless songs are written in the UK and performed around the world. We want to continue to make the most of the global opportunity to grow British music and DIT is proud to co-fund MEGS with industry to support independent labels and artists.”

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said:

“British music faces more intense competition than ever before in a rapidly globalising streaming business. MEGS funding allows a broad range of brilliant independent artists – from rap to rock and electro to jazz – to boost their fanbases overseas and grow their global streaming income. MEGS is a great investment for Government, returning 12x its cost to the economy. The time is right for Government to work with industry to expand it, so that more small British businesses and artists, from all round the country, can capitalise on the surge in streaming.”

MEGS recipient artist, fast-rising rapper from Leicester, Sainté, said:

“This award will be super-beneficial for an artist like myself, aiming to reach ears globally. It will help me to expand my reach, getting my music out to new audiences looking for a new artist like myself to provide the sounds they’re hunting for!”

Matt Jacob of Memphis Management representing recipient artist – Leeds based Yard Act said:

“The MEGS award will massively help Yard Act make headway in the USA, helping facilitate key Stateside shows including high profile festivals and a string of headline dates. It will also help pay for independent publicity and radio teams who’ll be working the release of Yard Act’s debut album “The Overload” and help bring Yard Act to a wider audience. The award will assist Yard Act to build a dedicated fan base in the USA.”

Jeff Bell, GM International, artisan Records, speaking of the MEGS grant to IDLES, said:

“MEGS funding provides a crucial avenue for UK artists to invest early and develop audiences in markets that are traditionally expensive to break. For years IDLES’ renowned live show has been in demand across LATAM, and this support helps us meet that demand with genuine marketing and promotional activity and continue to grow their profile (and business) in one of the most exciting developing music markets in the world.” 

 

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Funding Recipients

  • Alfie Templeman
  • BABii
  • Black Country, New Road
  • Eloise
  • Employed To Serve
  • Far Caspian
  • GUNSHIP
  • IDLES
  • John Smith
  • Max Cooper
  • Poppy Ajudha
  • Puma Blue
  • Sainté
  • Snapped Ankles
  • Strawberry Guy
  • The Anchoress
  • Theon Cross
  • Violet Skies
  • Walt Disco
  • Yard Act

 

Quotes from the MEGS recipient artists (and companies making the application) in the 20th round of funding can be found below, and links to bios and images can be found here

ARTIST & COMPANY QUOTES IN FULL

Recipient Artist Alfie Templeman said: “Thank you so much BPI and DIT for awarding me with this funding, which will go towards my first ever Mexico and USA tour later this year and is going to go such a long way.”

Recipient Artist Catherine Anne Davies aka The Anchoress said: “I am thrilled to have been awarded MEGS funding that will enable me to take my first steps into overseas territories and build on the domestic success and attention that The Art of Losing has had this year in the UK. Support from the MEGS fund is invaluable to artists like me who release via independent labels who might otherwise not have the finances to take risks venturing into global markets. I am enormously grateful to have been given this opportunity to build an international fan base and be able to take The Anchoress’ music to Europe and beyond.”

Sean Adams, CCCLX Artist Management, representing The Anchoress, said: “In a year where shops were shut when the album was released, exporting album stock was somewhat thwarted by trading challenges, and touring near impossible due to the ongoing pandemic, MEGS is a lifeline to The Anchoress’ second album campaign. This support will help us amplify the acclaim that spans from Elton John to author Caitlin Moran alongside albums of the day / week / month / year nods everywhere from 6 Music and Sunday Times to PROG and a nomination for the Welsh Music Prize. Thank you to the BPI and the panel who saw in our pitch the export-ready potential for The Anchoress’ career to continue to bloom.”

Recipient Artist BABii said: I have a lot of fans in the US and this fund will allow me to reach out to them in ways I can’t over the internet. By being present in the US and going on tour with Iglooghost, I will be able to expand my fanbase by performing my music in front of new audiences. I will also be able to connect with North American labels, agents, songwriters and music supervisors which is important as I would like to continue building on my presence in the US beyond this first tour.

Speaking for Black Country, New Road, label Ninja Tune said: “We would like to thank the BPI for awarding Black Country, New Road this funding. With the band starting to make great inroads into the US market this grant will help us achieve our ambitions there.”

Recipient Artist Eloise said: I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been awarded the MEGS grant. Amongst the million reasons why this is so helpful, the biggest factor for me is that being awarded the grant will allow me to remain independent and build my audience internationally. This is so incredibly important to me at this point in my career. I couldn’t be more thankful for the grant or for the belief that I’m deserving of it.”

 

Recipient Artist Employed To Serve said: “We are over the moon to be awarded funding from the Music Export Growth Scheme. This will help our band tour overseas and make it financially viable for us, particularly after the financially difficult two years post-covid!”

 

Sam Robson, Director, Futuresound Group speaking for Futuresound Artist Management and recipient artist  Far Caspian, said: “The DIT funding through BPI will make a huge difference to Far Caspian, who as an artist has historically had a large and growing international fanbase from streaming, but faced barriers in terms of touring across Europe due to cost. The DIT/BPI funding will facilitate EU touring in 2022 following a deluxe release of the debut album and we’re delighted to be included in this round of MEGS!”

Recipient Artist Gunship said: ‘With live touring and travel restricted by lockdowns and other Covid-19 related measures, the Music Export Growth Scheme has provided us with invaluable and timely support. The prior year has certainly offered musicians many significant obstacles, but these funds will undoubtedly help us to redress the balance. As British artists with a tatty notebook filled with typically crazy Gunship promo ideas, and our eyes locked squarely on our fantastic fanbase in the United States, we are deeply grateful to the BPI and DIT for all their assistance.”

Jeff Bell, GM International, artisan Records, speaking of the MEGS grant to IDLES, said: “MEGS funding provides a crucial avenue for UK artists to invest early and develop audiences in markets that are traditionally expensive to break. For years IDLES’ renowned live show has been in demand across LATAM, and this support helps us meet that demand with genuine marketing and promotional activity and continue to grow their profile (and business) in one of the most exciting developing music markets in the world.” 

 

Recipient Artist John Smith said: “I am very grateful to the BPI, DIT and the MEGS fund for this support; entering back into the US market after the 2-year ‘pause’ was always going to be tricky, and I wanted to go back in an ambitious and meaningful way to really grow my audience in key markets. This support allows me to do it with the best venues, on the ground support, and with a real strategy to develop the market for the long term.  Thank you.”

Recipient Artist Max Cooper said: “I’m extremely grateful to the Music Export Growth Scheme for this help to grow our Mesh projects. Especially after the last couple of years it’s all the more appreciated, and will go towards rebuilding and developing new models of art and business which will yield a more robust system going forward.”

Speaking for artist Max Cooper, James Palmer-Bullock of The Wild Seeds management, said: “The UK’s grassroots independent music industry needs strategic support from the Government to empower us to increase growth and develop our position as world-leaders in the creative industries. We’re thrilled to receive MEGS funding from the DTI that will enable Max Cooper and our team to push creative and technological boundaries and build new and deeper relationships with fans in key international markets.”

 

Recipient Artist Sainté said: “This award would be super beneficial for an artist like myself, aiming to reach ears globally. With this award would be able to expand my reach, getting my music out to new audiences looking for a new artist like myself to provide the sounds they’re hunting for!”

Recipient Artist Alex Stephens of Strawberry Guy said: “So pleased and grateful that the BPI have picked Strawberry Guy to be on the Music For Export Growth scheme. This will help us massively in spreading the (strawberry) love/jam throughout the world.’

David Cooper of Melodic, representing Alex Stephen
, said: “We’re so pleased and proud that the BPI have selected Strawberry Guy on the Music for Export Growth scheme. Our aim internationally was always to reach as far and wide as we could with Strawberry Guy’s music and we see this as a significant step in Strawberry Guy’s musical career.”

Recipient Artist Theon Cross said: “I am really happy and grateful to have received MEGs funding which represents a meaningful and vital investment into developing and growing my career to the next level. In particular it will help me consolidate the interest my music is generating in the USA by providing me with the funds to get over there to play live for American audiences and to collaborate with musicians stateside as I start to create my next album.”

Recipient Artist Violet Skies said: “This is a life changing grant, thank you BPI and DIT! After two years without being able to tour and work as I’d wanted to, this grant will allow me to give everything to my debut album campaign and focus on continued growth internationally. I want to remain independent and grants like this allow me to keep control of my masters and still have the budget to be ambitious in our plans.” 

Recipient Artist Walt Disco said: Artist quote: We are extremely grateful to be recipients of a Music Export Growth Scheme grant, it will provide us with the opportunity to take our live show into Europe and share our message with people that we previously may not have had the chance to connect with. Schemes like this are incredibly important in the growth of new music and we are very thankful to DIT and the BPI.” 

Matt Jacob of Memphis Management representing recipient artist Yard Act said: “The MEGS award will massively help Yard Act make headway in the USA, helping facilitate key Stateside shows including high profile festivals and a string of headline dates. It will also help pay for independent publicity and radio teams who’ll be working the release of Yard Act’s debut album “The Overload” and help bring Yard Act to a wider audience. The award will assist Yard Act to build a dedicated fan base in the USA.”

 

The Department for International Trade (DIT)

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. It is tasked with developing, coordinating and delivering a new trade and investment policy to promote UK businesses 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. @tradegovuk | great.gov.uk

 

Music Export Growth Scheme

Many smaller to medium-sized music labels, distributors and management companies, which are often independently owned, achieve remarkable success when launching their artists in the UK.  However, their limited resources and the sheer cost of marketing overseas means it can be a real challenge for them to replicate this success internationally.  This, in turn, creates the risk that significant commercial opportunities may be missed, not just for these companies and their artists, but ultimately for the wider UK economy through lost exports.  The Music Export Growth Scheme has been created to help address this issue, offering small and medium-sized music companies with the potential to achieve increased international success the opportunity to apply for grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 that will support their marketing overseas and the promotion of specific artist releases.

Now in its seventh year since its launch in 2014, MEGS has awarded over £4 million in support of around 300 British music projects across a variety of genres including pop, rock, grime, jazz, folk, electronic, and classical. Some of the acts who have received MEGS funding include Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice and Young Fathers, BRIT Award winners and Welsh indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen, jazz saxophonist YolanDa Brown, grime artist Ghetts, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Forty per cent of the funding awarded by MEGS has gone to female music acts or acts featuring female artists in their line-up, while nearly a quarter (24%) went to artists who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. This funding has helped artists from across the UK to travel to countries in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. To date there has been a return of £51m for UK music exports – £12 for every £1 invested through the Music Export Growth Scheme.

  • 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.

 

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry)

The BPI champions the UK’s recorded music community, safeguarding the rights of its members and of the artists, performers and label members of collecting body PPL.  The BPI’s membership consists of well over 500 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘majors’ – Universal Music UK, Sony Music Entertainment UK and Warner Music UK.  Its total membership taken together accounts for around  85 per cent of legitimate domestic music consumption and 1 in 10 streams around the world.

The BPI promotes British music at home and overseas through its trade missions, the Music Exports Growth Scheme and The BRIT Awards, which it owns and organises. It administers The BRIT Certified Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards Programme, co-owns the Official Charts Company with ERA, and is home to The Mercury Prize.  The BPI encourages and supports innovation and technology through its Music & Tech Springboard Programme, and additionally provides insights, training and networking with its extensive free masterclasses, networking events, Insight Sessions and reports alongside its communications and public affairs work.

BPI

BPI represents the UK’s recorded music industry. We champion the interests of our membership which includes more than 400 independent music companies. Together, BPI’s members account for 85% of all music sold in the United Kingdom.