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£2.8 million global fame boost for aspiring musicians


Soul singer Eska benefited from the Megs scheme

Soul singer Eska benefited from the Megs scheme

Soul singer Eska benefited from the Megs scheme

Up to £2.8 million is to be made available to aspiring British musicians to boost their global reputation.

Grants worth thousands of pounds will be up for grabs for young artists who have been able to find success on modest budgets at home, but struggle to replicate it internationally because of limited resources.

Between January 2014 and March 2016 more than £1.6 million was awarded in grants through t he Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS), helping artists such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers and Afrikan Boy, a grime MC from Woolwich, south London.

The Department for International Trade has relaunched the scheme in partnership with the BPI - the UK record labels' association that promotes British music.

It comes a month after a report warned that Britain's status as one of the world's biggest exporters of new music must be protected once the UK has left the EU.

The global success of artists such as Adele, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran helped music exports rise by almost 10% in 2015, while contributing £4.1 billion to the UK economy.

But for growth to continue, the Government must put in place policies that safeguard Britain's access to other markets, warned UK Music, the body that represents everyone in the music industry from songwriters to record labels.

Under the rebooted Megs scheme, grants ranging from £5000 to £50,000 will be available for small and medium sized record labels, distributors and management companies in order to build on UK success and break into overseas markets.

The scheme will spread across four years until 2020 with applications opening on October 10 2016.

London-based soul singer Eska benefited from the scheme between 2014 and 2016.

She said: "Megs funding has enabled me to start a relationship with my music across Europe not only in terms of marketing and distribution but touring. This supported key live showcases which have further opened up performance opportunities for me in Europe. It's been invaluable help for my project as an independent artist."

International trade minister Mark Garnier said: "UK music has a long history of inspiring millions across the world and influencing generations of artists. We are the second biggest exporter of music in the world and one in every six albums sold globally belongs to a British act.

"From the Beatles to Skepta, British music is part of the very fabric of our nation and heritage. Our Music Export Growth Scheme 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."

Chief executive of the BPI Geoff Taylor said: "The Music Export Growth Scheme has proved a big hit with independent UK 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.

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