£1.6m global fame boost for aspiring UK musicians

Nearly 70 British musicians looking to break through on the global stage will benefit from grants of £1.6 million in the biggest round of a national funding scheme to date.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch will announce the fresh Government backing via the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) to boost UK music exports.

The scheme, run in partnership between industry and the Government, supports small to medium-sized music companies looking to grow their artists’ profiles internationally.

South Korean President state visit to the UK
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch will announce grants of £1.6 million via the Music Export Growth Scheme (Aaron Chown/PA)

Over the last decade, the MEGS has helped more than 300 artists, including rapper Dave, dance act Jungle, singer Rina Sawayama, hip-hop poet Kae Tempest and 2023 Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective.

More than £6 million has been invested in British music through the scheme, generating more than £55 million for the UK economy, according to the Department for Business and Trade.

The 22nd funding round will go to 67 artists from across the UK.

The recipients include companies representing Manchester’s indie-rock band Blossoms and R&B singer-songwriter Pip Millett, Liverpool dance music artist HAYLA, Cambridge rock band Black Country, Leeds afro-jazz band Nubiyan Twist, Belfast electronic producer Max Cooper and Mercury Prize-shortlisted rock duo Nova Twins from London.

Ms Badenoch, who will host businesses for a Board of Trade meeting on Thursday, 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.

Rina Sawayama
The scheme has helped more than 300 artists, including singer Rina Sawayama (Ian West/PA)

“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.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Thanks to this latest round of funding – the biggest in MEGS’s 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.”

Jo Twist, chief executive of the BPI record labels’ association, said: “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.”

The UK’s share of the global market has slipped from 17% in 2015 to around 10% today as emerging artists compete for fans with those from fast-growing markets such as South Korea and Latin America, according to the BPI.

Independent UK artists are often unable to fund all the marketing work needed to connect with fans globally amid soaring touring costs.