UK Trade & Investment
Printable version

Government funding boost is music to the ears of UK independent labels

More than £1 million in export funding has now been distributed to 60 acts in the UK including Mercury Prize winners, Young Fathers.

British music companies behind some of the UK’s most up and coming artists are to receive government funding to support the promotion of the nation’s music around the world and increase the industry’s contribution to the economy.

The announcement was made by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the music organisation BPI during Export Week which runs until 14 November 2014.

The 16 successful acts will join more than 40 previous recipients including Mercury Prize winners, Young Fathers, and the MOBO award-winning jazz artist, Zara McFarlane, in receiving funding from the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS). This fourth round of the Music Export Growth Scheme brings the total amount of grants given to 60 independent labels, artists and management companies across the UK to more than £1 million this year (2014).

The £2.5 million Music Export Growth Scheme was announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in October 2013 and is a partnership between theBPI and UK Trade and Investment to boost sales of British music overseas.

Commenting on the Music Export Growth Scheme, Phil Patterson, UKTIMusic Sector Specialist said:

The UK has a strong musical heritage that dates back through many decades. UKTI is proud to support this thriving sector which strengthens the reputation of our country as a world leader in creativity whilst helping to grow the UK economy.

Now in its fourth round, the Music Export Growth Scheme has already helped independent label acts such as Imogen Heap, Public Service Broadcasting and Metronomy get much deserved global recognition and go on to support acts at sell-out international tours.

Announced during Export Week this round’s successful 16 demonstrate the depth of our home-grown talent with acts from reggae to pop and rock. We look forward to them taking their sound around the world and gaining more international fans.

Still in its first year, the funding is already bearing fruits for successful applicants with acts securing support slots on tours with the Rolling Stones, Manic Street Preachers, Kaiser Chiefs, Black Sabbath, Kasabian and Keziah Jones. Behind the scenes, a number of distribution, sync, live and publishing deals have been agreed on behalf of the artists – all of which are a direct result of the business facilitated by the scheme’s funding.

BPI Director of International, Chris Tams, said:

The Music Export Growth Scheme has delivered an exceptional class of 2014 with acts like Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers and MOBOaward winner Zara McFarlane joining The Temperance Movement, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Public Service Broadcasting in winning awards, securing high profile tour support slots, and releasing high-charting albums.

Such achievements demonstrate that we are on the path to success with this scheme and that the funding provides practical and vital support to artists at a tipping point in their careers.

If you have an act that has successfully toured the UK and is ready for an international audience, now is the time to explore the scheme. With £1 million already distributed and more funding to follow, we would call upon musicians and independent music companies across the whole of the UK to get in touch to see how they can take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

The 16 acts that will benefit from funding are from Scotland and England and span the genres of rock, soul, RnB, hip hop, reggae, electronic and folk music. They are:

  • Andy Burrows (London)
  • Esben and the Witch (Brighton)
  • FEMME (Rugby)
  • Happyness (London)
  • Hollie Cook (London)
  • Jo Hamilton (Scotland)
  • Jo Harman (Sussex)
  • Kindness (London)
  • Kyla La Grange (London)
  • Lewis Watson (Oxford)
  • Mamas Gun (Brighton)
  • Pulled Apart by Horses (Leeds)
  • Steve Wilson (Hemel Hempstead)
  • Tom Vek (London)
  • Wild Beasts (Kendal)
  • Wolf Alice (London)

Earlier rounds of funding have supported the careers of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Drenge, Public Service Broadcasting, Metronomy, Imogen Heap, Hadouken, Slow Club and Dry the River.

Rising pop star FEMME, who recently supported “Boom Clap” singer Charli XCX on tour, said:

Without the support of the MEGS fund I would not have been able to accept Charli XCX’s personal invitation to go on tour with her in the USA this year. The promotion and exposure the 20 date tour brought me has made such a huge impact on furthering my career. I gained masses of new fans, press coverage and absolutely invaluable touring experience on the road. As an independent artist it’s support from schemes like MEGS that enable me to survive in an ever-changing and challenging music industry.

The financial assistance forms part of the government’s efforts to get 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses exporting. Independent music companies can apply for amounts between £5,000 and £50,000 to support touring, international marketing and other overseas activities.

Companies receiving the funding thanked the organisations for the financial support:

Carly Martin-Gammon, Candelion, said:

The BPI has always been a great helping hand for indie companies such as ours who deal with the world territory by territory. They have helped us connect with relevant parties internationally and now, with this funding, we will be able to really consolidate some of the great opportunities on offer abroad.

Jon Cotton, Director of Poseidon, said

We are thrilled the BPI has chosen to support Jo ahead of the release of her second album in 2015. It’s great to see this kind of industry support for independents working with uncompromising artists like Jo Hamilton. Although we have amazing tools for market reach nowadays, partners are still vital, so this sort of help potentially accelerates everything. We’re aiming to make the most of the opportunity.

The scheme will re-open for applications on Monday 17 November 2014 and more information can be found on the BPI’s website at

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 a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME).

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.In January 2014, the creative industries were identified as an important growth sector for the country and with music described by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport - Sajid Javid - as “not just a core part of the economy, but of what it means to be British”.

5.Export Week runs from 10 to 14 November 2014. It is the sixth time UKTIhas organised the week-long event to encourage more small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to take advantage of the growth opportunities international markets can offer, and the support UKTI provides.

Earlier this week, UKTI announced it has doubled the number of medium-sized companies it has helped from 1,000 to 2,000 in the last 7 months after Lord Livingston wrote to all medium-sized businesses in the country offering tailored trade advice and an intensive programme of UKTI support.

UKTI also launched a new guide – From Local to Global – fronted by Kelly Hoppen to encourage more women-led businesses to export. Women-ledSMEs are often less likely to export compared to the national average. To close the gap, UKTI has been running female-focussed events across the UK to help these companies take their business overseas.

6.UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. It 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. It provides companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.

7.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, they champion the interests of their members 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. BPIorganises 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.

Enquiries about the Music Export Growth Scheme:

Media enquiries:


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
UK Trade & Investment

The Golden Thread: A study of the contribution of the project profession to the UK’s economy