The BPI has unveiled details of the latest round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding.
A total of £1.6 million, the largest annual amount since the scheme launched in 2014, has been distributed to support 67 UK artists from a range of genres and backgrounds, as they grow their international profile and exports in global markets.
The successful applicants include British companies representing artists from across the UK, including Manchester’s indie-rock band Blossoms and R&B singer-songwriter Pip Millett, Liverpool dance music artist Hayla, Cambridge rock band Black Country, New Road, Leeds’ afro-jazz band Nubiyan Twist, and Belfast electronic producer Max Cooper. There are also several artists hailing from London including Mercury Prize shortlisted rock duo Nova Twins, post-punk band Warmduscher, R&B singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey, jazz artist and producer Laura Misch, and classical music’s London Symphony Orchestra.
Developed and administered by the BPI, the scheme boosts British music exports by supporting small-to-medium-sized independent UK companies as they build the commercial profile of their artists in key markets overseas. It is a partnership between industry and government with joint funding coming from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) alongside investment from the UK recorded music industry, which on average contributes 64% of total spend.
This is the latest round of MEGS since the expanded government funding for the scheme was announced as part of the Creative Industries Sector Vision in June 2023. A further £3.2 million was pledged to support the scheme over the next two years, meaning that higher grants can be provided to a greater number of artists, in turn generating more revenue from music exports back to the UK creative economy.
This expanded government funding comes as British music faces intensifying competition in the global market. Despite record annual growth of UK recorded music exports to £709 million in 2022, overall, the UK’s share of the global market has slipped from 17% in 2015 to around 10% today.
The MEGS scheme is seen as essential, particularly for the independent sector, to keep breaking new talent on the global stage, and for annual music exports to remain on target to reach £1 billion by 2030.
I’m delighted we’re able to back more artists than ever before
2024 marks 10 years of MEGS, and in that time, it has supported the international careers of more than 300 British artists including Dave, Rina Sawayama, Self Esteem, Jungle, Young Fathers, Kae Tempest and 2023 Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective. Through 22 rounds over the last ten years, the scheme has invested over £6 million in British music, leading to an estimated £55.5 million financial return to the UK economy and a return on investment of nearly £14 for every £1 received from government.
According to BPI analysis of Luminate data, more than 100 previous MEGS recipient artists each generated over 10 million audio streams of their music globally during 2023. Combined, these artists accumulated over 10 billion audio streams around the world in 2023 – up by 13% year-on-year. Nearly two dozen of these artists each surpassed 100 million audio streams globally across the year, including Beadadoobee, Bruno Major, Novo Amor, Bicep, Honne, Maribou State, Knucks, Amber Run, The Heavy, The Japanese House, Oh Wonder, Strawberry Guy and Wolf Alice.
Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for DBT, said: “SMEs are the cornerstones of our communities and the lifeblood of our economy – their success is Britain’s success and we are backing them all the way. Whether it’s removing burdensome regulations, tackling access to finance or helping them to export overseas, my department is working around the clock to help them grow their business. I’m delighted we’re able to back more artists than ever before. I congratulate the successful acts and look forward to seeing them bang the drum for Britain across the globe.”
Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to announce the biggest round of MEGS funding to date, supporting close to 70 talented and diverse UK artists to take their careers to the next level - building new fanbases globally while boosting British exports. At a time when UK artists face more competition than ever, we’re grateful to government for its recognition of the scheme as an essential resource in enabling new British talent to break through on the global stage, while seeing excellent financial returns for music exports. We only need to look at the success of artists that MEGS has supported over the last 10 years to showcase its cultural and financial importance. Therefore, it's vital that government continues its support to ensure the UK remains a global music power.”
Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for DCMS, said: “The Music Export Growth Scheme has been launching careers internationally for a decade, supporting more than 300 artists, including some of Britain's most successful acts like Dave, Rina Sawayama and Ezra Collective, while generating more than £55 million for the economy. Thanks to this latest round of funding – the biggest in MEGS history – the scheme will maximise the potential of a new generation of home-grown talent, as part of our ambitious plans to grow the creative industries by £50 billion and support one million more jobs by 2030.”
The full list of artists receiving funding in the 22nd round of MEGS is below:
Air Drawn Dagger
Black Country, New Road
Camilla George/Blue Lab Beats
Ferris & Sylvester
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Gen and the Degenerates
London Symphony Orchestra
Pale Blue Eyes
Red Rum Club
Sonic Boom Six
The Lovely Eggs
The Pineapple Thief
Those Damn Crows