The Music Export Growth Scheme will allocate millions of pounds of grants to independent music companies and will be run by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the government organisation that supports UK business overseas, and BPI, the trade body that represents British recorded music businesses.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“The British music industry is a real success story. 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.”
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 by UKTI and BPI 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. The grants will support their marketing overseas and the promotion of specific artist releases.
BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor commented:
“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.”
The scheme, which will be funded by UKTI, will make up to £3m of grants available over the next three-year period – with the potential for further funding following the scheme’s first annual review. 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 experts with marketing expertise from organisations including the Music Managers Forum (MMF), representatives of independent record labels and BPI. The scheme will be administered by BPI.
Chief Executive for UKTI Nick Baird said:
“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.”
As well as encouraging labels to promote their artists in emerging and established international markets, the scheme also aims to increase the number of music labels and music managers with successful international experience, while further raising the visibility of British music in overseas markets.
Alison Wenham, Chairman of AIM commented:
“As the UK’s only trade organization 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, who has a played a key role in developing the early career of many artists, including the likes of Muse and more recently Mercury Prize winners Alt-J, is the Founding Chairman of leading indie label, 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.”
Preference within the scheme will be given to companies seeking to promote new artists who are in their first three years of recording.
London-based duo Public Service Broadcasting, who are signed to their own label, Test Card Recordings, commented:
“This seems a really practical way of helping artists at a time they most need it. British music gets lots of headlines around the world, but if you’re a newly-signed artist with a smaller label on tight budgets, it can be hard to connect with the audiences that are potentially out there for you.
“This scheme will hopefully help – a few thousand pounds or more may not transform your prospects overnight, but it could help pay for a tour slot or a media showcase that could make a real difference when you are trying to break through.”
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Notes to Editors
1. How the Music Export Growth Fund will work
• Companies will be eligible to apply for the Scheme if they meet the UKTI’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 every chance of succeeding in meeting their campaign 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 will be independently chaired through a UKTI appointment, will meet four times a year to consider applications. It will be made up of a 10-15-strong panel of industry experts and representatives from a number of music organisations as well as BPI and UKTI. It will also include a professional/business advisor.
• The Scheme will be managed by BPI as the Accredited Trade Organisation. This will include marketing the fund and its benefits to the music sector; advising on applications before they are submitted to the Board; administering the disbursement of grants; and monitoring the impact of approved campaigns against agreed performance criteria.
• The first round of applications will be invited later this month and the first grants are expected to be awarded by December 2013.
• The Scheme will be closely monitored and evaluated against strict performance targets and success measures that will seek to determine its impact on overseas exports.
• The Scheme will support government’s promotion of exports including under the GREAT campaign.
2. About BPI
BPI is the representative voice of the UK recorded music business. BPI is a trade organisation funded by its members, which include hundreds of independent music companies and the UK’s major record labels.
BPI’s members account for approximately 90% of all recorded music sold in the UK, and globally the UK's recorded music market is the third biggest. In the last twelve months the UK took a record share of the global recorded music market accounting for almost 1 in 8 albums sold around the world. Five of the top 10 best-selling albums around the globe were by British artists. Independent labels accounted for more than one fifth of the albums market in the UK in the last 12 months.
BPI also organises the annual BRIT Awards show, the BRIT Icon Award as well as the Classic BRIT Awards show. The organising company BRIT Awards Limited, is a fully owned subsidiary of BPI. Substantial proceeds from both shows go to the BRIT Trust, the charitable arm of the BPI that has donated almost £15m to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation in 1989.
3. About AIM. About AIM
The Association of Independent Music (AIM) is a non-profit-making trade organisation for independent music companies in the UK. AIM represents 25% of the UK market, with over 850 members from small start-ups to the largest and most respected independents in the world.
4. About UKTI
UKTI supports the music industry with its exports working closely with a number of organisations across the sector. UKTI has professional advisors both within the UK and across more than 100 international markets. UKTI has a customer commitment to helping its UK and international customers by providing a range of services, to a high standard and improve customer service by listening to customer feedback. It also has a co-ordination role across government to establish a more systematic approach to relationships with companies which are the most economically significant investors and exporters.
5. In the 2012 Autumn Statement, UKTI was awarded an additional £70m for each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the recruitment of more international trade advisers around the country, expansion of existing services including the Trade Access Programme (TAP) and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and support to expand the range of assistance available to UK companies through overseas British chambers of commerce.
6. The government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
- to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
6. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help 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. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit www.ukti.gov.uk or visit the online newsroom at www.ukti.gov.uk/media.