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Business News (more headlines) 08-10-2014

UK Music Exports Hit A High Note With Government Support

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The British music companies behind some of the UK's most hotly-tipped artists are to receive Government funding to support the promotion of the nation's music around the world, announced the record industry's trade body, BPI.

Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Imogen Heap, and the support band for AC/DC's famous Black Ice World Tour, Belfast's The Answer, are amongst the artists signed to independent labels who will benefit from funding being made available through the Music Export Growth Scheme.

The Music Export Growth Scheme has been established by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) to help small and medium-sized independent music companies increase international sales.

UKTI Chief Executive, Dominic Jermey said: "The British music scene is brimming with talent and around the world UK acts are helping to sell out festivals this summer, from London Grammar at South by South West in the United States to Portishead at Melt! in Germany to Tom Jones back home at the British Summer Time festival.

"Through the Music Export Growth Scheme we are helping a new generation of upcoming British talent to capitalise on this success and make their mark in countries around the world, bringing jobs and growth to the UK economy.

"I am pleased that acts who we have already supported such as Public Service Broadcasting and the Crookes are really benefitting from our support and growing their international fanbase."

The announcement comes as new figures released by the BPI show that independent companies continue to enjoy great success in the recorded music market. In the first half of this year, independent artists accounted for more than a quarter (27.4%) of all album sales, up 2% year-on-year on the 2013 figure (25.4%). This follows on from a strong year for independent repertoire in 2013 where the share of album sales from indie labels tallied 25.1% - the sector's highest level in many years - thanks to the popularity of acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Passenger and London Grammar.

Chris Tams, BPI Director of Independent Member Services, said: "Landmark albums and popular records from the canon of British music continue to form a strong core of UK music sales around the world. And in recent years we have started to witness more artists from the independent community top the charts and perform sell-out shows on the international circuit. The Music Export Growth Scheme has a role to play in this success and we are already seeing an encouraging return on the investment made by the Government, as bands embark on tours with iconic bands like The Rolling Stones and the Manic Street Preachers.

"It's great to see our first two Northern Irish acts make the short-list in this round of funding and we are calling on more great talent from across the nations to apply. It's an invaluable funding opportunity for developed UK acts and one which can help to springboard them from a local name to global fame."

Just over £250,000 will be provided to independent music companies representing artists who span a cross-section of genres including alternative/rock, electropop, dance, hip hop and soul music:

• Antlered Man (from London), and Black Moth (Leeds) (touring jointly), signed to London-based New Heavy Sounds.
• Dry The River (London), signed to Stephen Budd Management (London).
• Fearless Vampire Killers (London) signed to Wiseblood Management (London).
• Fenech-Soler (from Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire), signed to Fwinki Music (London).
• Fink (Brighton), signed to ATC Management (London).
• GHETTS (London), signed to Disrupt LTD (London).
• Hadouken (Leeds), signed to ATC Management (London).
• Imogen Heap (Essex), signed to Megaphonic Ltd (Essex).
• Max Cooper (originally from Belfast), signed to Agency X Artist Management (London).
• Smoove & Turrell (Newcastle), signed to Jalapeno Ltd (Brighton).
• The Answer (Belfast), signed to TAP Music Ltd (London).
• The Heavy (Bath), signed to Redlight Management (Bristol).
• The Wombats (Liverpool), signed to SB Management (London).
• The Wytches (Peterborough), signed to Raygun Music (Brighton).
• Waylayers (London), signed to Merrington Music Management (London).

One of the successful bands, Waylayers, spoke of the importance of the funding: "We flew back from SXSW on a wave of incredible publicity, but the financial burden was steep. Every cloud has a silver lining, but it is sometimes difficult to get that exchanged at the Mint! This support secures our debut US tour so we can capitalise on our chart success, and reach our American fans. We're proud to represent UK music abroad and grateful for the belief that the BPI and UKTI have shown in us."

Damo Holmes of Antlered Man further explained what the funding meant to his band: "Even though it's much easier in this day and age to download libraries of music at the touch of a button, it's become much harder for musicians and bands to travel and actually take that music directly to the music fans' faces and ears. But with the help of the organisation BPI, this funding helps us do this and also keeps us inspired to keep on doing what we love more than anything on this tiny planet. Plus you can't download the feeling of seeing your favourite band 10 feet in front of you, but I'm certain the guys in the white coats are working on it."

The financial assistance has been provided by UKTI and forms part of efforts to get another 100,000 businesses small and medium-sized businesses exporting. The creative industries have been identified as one of the fastest-growing sectors of the UK economy with the music industry contributing £3.5 billion to the Exchequer per year.

Earlier rounds of funding from February and May 2014 have seen more than £500,000 distributed to support the careers of Metronomy, Young Fathers, Slow Club, Public Service Broadcasting and Holy Mountain. As a result of the grant, bands have been able to secure touring slots with The Rolling Stones and Manic Street Preachers while others have gone on to agree publishing, sync, and distribution deals around the world.

The initiative will make up to £2.5 million of grants available over a two and a half year period. It was announced in October 2013 at a Number 10 meeting with music executives chaired by the Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Scheme will re-open for applications on Tuesday 12th August 2014.

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