The BPI – the voice of independent and major record labels across the UK – today announces details of the 21st round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding.
A total of £500,000 has been awarded to support 28 UK artists as they look to grow their international profile and exports in global music markets.
The scheme, which is managed by the BPI, 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 key overseas markets. It is a successful partnership between industry and Government with joint-funding coming from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) alongside investment from the UK recorded music industry, which on average contributes just under two-thirds (64 per cent) of total spend.
Coinciding with International Trade Week, the artists who are benefitting from this latest round of artist investment are
drawn from the UK’s nations and regions and reflect the vibrant diversity of British music across different genres.
Without MEGS, small-to-medium-sized companies and artists are often not in a position to fully fund all the marketing and promotional work needed to connect artists and fans globally, and in turn to maximise the opportunity to grow their export revenues and boost the profiles overseas amongst increasing international competition. They also face tour and other costs that are rising rapidly.
Assets for the recipient artists in this 21st round of MEGS funding can be found
here – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1_r5lfpzhzY592igH0DSjz1zzgjN41Kwp?usp=share_link.
The successful applicants include companies representing, among others, Nigeria-born, London-based musician, Obongjayar; Glasgow band, Mason Hill; Belfast alternative rock group, New Pagans; Welsh singer-songwriter, Elkka; Liverpool acts Red Rum Club – described as ‘Mariachi Merseybeat’ – and rock group The Mysterines; Leeds singer, DJ and producer, Emma-Jean Thackray; Manchester electronic group, W.H. Lung; Bristol singer-songwriter Katy J Pearson; and Kent-based indie-pop solo artist Will Joseph Cook. There are also a number of acts from London,
including electro-pop duo Jockstrap; rapper Knucks; art rock band Dry Cleaning; and girli, whose music explores issues around feminism, sexuality and queer culture.
This funding comes at a pivotal time for the UK music industry as it seeks to maintain its position as the world’s second largest exporter of recorded music in the face of increasing global competition. While the UK’s recorded sector has in
recent years succeeded in growing export revenues, accounting for one in ten global streams, the UK’s share of the global market has slipped from 17 per cent in 2015 to ten per cent today.
Continued funding by government through MEGS remains essential given its potential to strengthen the UK’s ability to compete internationally and to support annual music exports rising to over £1billion by the end of the decade.
More than 60 UK artists whose music was streamed at least 20 million times worldwide in 2021 are among the 300-plus artists who have received funding through the Music Export Growth Scheme since 2014.
Among the MEGS streaming success stories last year were electronic music artists Bicep and HONNE, singer-songwriters Beabadoobee, Bruno Major and Rina Sawayama, and Mercury Prize and BRITs-winning rock band Wolf Alice, who each accumulated more than 100 million audio streams.
Also supported by MEGS, indie pop artist The Japanese House, singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, indie pop group
Kero Kero Bonito and metalcore band While She Sleeps all surpassed 50 million audio streams across the year.
Trade Minister, Andrew Bowie, said: “The UK is the second largest exporter of recorded music in the world, with artists
here accounting for one in ten tracks streamed globally in 2020. British artists have a global reputation for creating, writing and producing amazing music, and thanks to the Music Export Growth Scheme we are proud to support UK-owned independent music SMEs and artists grow British music abroad.”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI, BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize, said: “UK artists know just how valuable the Music Export Growth Scheme has been in helping to build their global fanbases and boost exports. We are grateful to government for their consistent support of the Scheme over the past decade, but with an impressive 13–1
return on investment, we should be more ambitious.
“The scheme should be expanded further as the global streaming market continues to grow, or we risk missing out on
even more potential big wins for the UK. It’s time to invest to ensure the UK remains a leading global music nation.”
Creative Industries Minister, Julia Lopez, said: “The UK has a fantastic track record of producing trailblazing musicians who achieve international success. While our music industry remains incredibly strong, emerging stars do not always get the financial backing they need to take their careers to the next level.
“This funding will help give them the leg up they need to showcase their skills and British culture to the world, while also driving economic growth at home.”
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