Free money for indie labels as UK Government pledges £2.8m grant

The British Government has pledged to hand over up to £2.8m ($3.5m) in grants to independent UK music companies over the next three years.

Those qualifying for the cash – which will be paid out until 2020 in singular grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 – include labels, management companies, distributors and entrepreneurial artists.

The news marks a big result for lobbying efforts by the UK recorded music industry, led by trade body the BPI.

The £2.8m is being made available through the re-launch of the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS), which paid out over £1.6m to the UK music biz between January 2014 and March this year.

Artists successfully supported to date include 2016 BRIT Awards winners, Catfish and the Bottlemen (pictured), 2014 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers and Mercury Prize shortlisted act Eska.

Application forms for the money are now available from the BPI’s website.

Independent companies will have to make the case for how the cash will aid the expansion of their artists’ commercial prospects around the world.

The deadline for the first wave of applications is 7 November 2016, and the first announcements will be made in December 2016.

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.”

Geoff Taylor, BPI

“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.”

This time round, the MEGS money is being stumped up by the UK’s Department for International Trade and the government’s Exporting is GREAT campaign.

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 six 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.”

The UK music industry contributed over £4 billion to the UK economy in 2015 – a year in which British acts produced five of the global top 10 best-selling albums.

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.”Music Business Worldwide

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