U.K. Labels Receive $3.5M Government Funding to Boost Global Sales


British labels and musicians are set to benefit from £2.8 million ($3.5 million) in government funding to help them break into international markets.

Delivered by the Department for International Trade in partnership with labels trade body BPI, grants of between £5,000 ($6,000) and £50,000 ($62,000) will be available to independent labels, distributors and management companies to help promote British artists around the world.

Funding will be made available until 2020 with the first round of nominations opening on Oct. 10 via BPI’s website. The deadline for applications is Nov. 7 with successful applicants due to be announced in December.

From 2014 to 2016, the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) awarded £1.6 million ($2 million) in grants to over 100 homegrown artists, including Brit Award winners Catfish and the Bottlemen, Public Service Broadcasting, London Grime MCs Ghetts and Afrikan Boy and 2014 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers.

They helped contribute to the U.K.’s success as the world’s second largest music exporter behind the U.S., with British artists accounting for almost one in almost every six artist albums sold worldwide in 2015, representing a record 17.1 percent share of the global market.

Five of 2015’s top-selling artist albums also came from U.K. acts, thanks to successful records by Coldplay, One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and, of course, Adele’s 25. Last year additionally saw British artists claim their highest-ever share of the U.S. artist albums market, when homegrown acts gained a record 17.6 percent share -- up from 12.2 percent in 2014, according to BPI figures.

“U.K. music has a long history of inspiring millions across the world and influencing generations of artists,” said International Trade Minister Mark Garnier. He went on to say that government funding “will champion the incredible raw talent that we have to offer by giving the support and financial backing many artists need to take that next step.”

“The Music Export Growth Scheme has proved a big hit with independent U.K. artists and their labels, supporting their promotional plans with crucial investment as they look to break into new markets and helping to boost British music sales overseas,” added BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor.

“The strength of Britain’s music and creative industries are a strategic asset for this country," he continued, "and can act as a powerful international calling card in a world in which new international trading relationships need to be forged.”