£3m in Government grants offered to indies for music exports

Tom Pakinkis

A new music export scheme will see the Government allocate up to £3 million worth of grants to independent music companies to help grow their overseas business.

The Music Export Growth Scheme, announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable today, was agreed at a Downing Street meeting between senior music industry figures chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Representing the music industry at the No.10 meeting were Warner Music’s Christian Tattersfield, Universal’s David Joseph, Sony Music’s Nick Gatfield and Infectious boss Korda Marshall and Dramatico’s Mike Batt as well as the BPI’s Geoff Taylor and Tony Wadsworth, UK Music’s Jo Dipple and Andy Heath and Spotify’s Ken Parks.

The scheme, funded by UKTI, will offer small and medium-sized music companies the chance to apply for grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 to support marketing overseas and promotion of specific artist releases over the next three year period.

Applications will be open to all UK independent record labels and music management companies meeting the application criteria. Decisions on individual awards will be made by a panel of music industry figures from organisations including the Music Managers Forum, indie label reps and the BPI.

Preference within the scheme will be given to companies seeking to promote new artists who are in their first three years of recording. 

The scheme will be run by UK Trade & Investment and the BPI.

“The British music industry is a real success story,” said Vince Cable. “We are world leaders in creative talent and our music has been exported all over the world. It’s not just about enjoying the music. This worldwide success means jobs and economic growth back in the UK, so the Government must do all we can to back our winning sectors and ensure their future success. Today’s money will do just that by helping hundreds of small and medium sized businesses to export more.”

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “Independent labels are an important part of what makes British music so special. With global interest in UK artists at such high levels, we want to ensure that indie artists and labels have the best possible chance to achieve success overseas.  We are delighted that government has listened to calls from BPI and AIM for export support that will help British music do even better around the world.”

Chief Executive for UKTI Nick Baird added: “Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran, One Direction and, of course, Adele are just some of the British artists who dominate music charts around the world, contributing over £100m to the UK annually through sales of their music overseas as well as promoting our arts and culture. The Music Export Growth Scheme will help smaller to medium-sized music labels establish more UK artists internationally and help us meet our target of getting another 100,000 British businesses exporting – an increase which could add £36 billion to the economy.”

Alison Wenham, Chairman of AIM commented: “As the UK’s only trade organisation dedicated exclusively to the UK’s independent music sector, AIM is delighted that the British Government has acknowledged our organization’s repeated calls over many years to support the valuable commercial contribution made to the UK economy by British music’s success overseas. We look forward to working with the BPI in furthering the opportunities this initiative will bring to the UK’s vibrant music industry.”

Korda Marshall, founding chairman of Infectious Music said: “I’m delighted by this announcement, as, I imagine, many other independent music companies will be.  British labels have a fantastic track record when it comes to bringing through great new music, but it can be so frustrating when you know you’ve got a really special band on your hands but don’t always have the means to raise their profile internationally as quickly as you would like.  There’s clearly is a huge appetite for British music overseas, so if this new scheme helps to feed this, it can only be good news for anyone that loves British music and wants it to do well.”

In May this year, the Arts Council announced its Momentum fund which offered independent publishers, managers and labels a chunk of a £500,000 funding injection into the UK music industry.

Last month, PRS for Music Foundation announced 10 acts including Brolin, Dutch Uncles, Esco Williams and Floating Points awarded grants from the pot.


Tags: independent music, Government, funding

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