Fat White Family question Slaves being given government music grant

Band call it 'shameful' that the duo will receive around £12k to promote themselves overseas

Fat White Family have questioned why Slaves have been given part of a £250,000 government music grant.

UK music industry trade association, the BPI has announced the recipients of this year’s Music Exports Growth Scheme grant. The annual grant is awarded to British artists to allow them to tour and promote their music overseas.

Although most acts that apply are on indie labels, the BPI has clarified to NME that the grant isn’t solely open to independent acts. It has been noted that it’s not the first year that major label artists have received the grant.


The £250,000 grant is split between 21 acts, which this year includes artists like Slaves, White Lies, Frank Carter, Everything Everything, Boxed In, Don Broco, Deaf Havana, Clock Opera and Cate Le Bon. Find more information here.

Responding to the news that Slaves will receive around £12k from the grant, Fat White Family took to Facebook to write: “Why does a band that has been on a major label (Virgin/EMI) for three years need a grant explicitly designed to support artists trying to break through on independent labels?”

Jordan Curtis Hughes/NME

“Say what you like about the ‘artist’ in question, but to me this reeks of back room agreements and golden hand shakes. Everybody knows the music industry is a cess pool, but anyone remotely involved in music should be up in arms about this; how many people that genuinely NEED that money are getting shat on so a bunch of faceless suits can keep their gravy train rolling?”

“So Slaves, a band that probably takes about 10-20K a pop on the festival circuit can go and do SXSW? Shameful.”

See the Fat White Family’s message in full below.

Why does a band that has been on a major label (virgin/EMI) for three years need a grant explicitly designed to support…

Posted by Fat White Family on Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Slaves have since replied to Fat White Family on Twitter, writing: “love you boys, never stop being you”.

The BPI has told NME that the band’s label didn’t apply for the grant, but that their management company did, which they were entitled to do.

Gennaro Castaldo, BPI spokesperson, has released a statement that reads: “The application for Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding to support Slaves’ US tour and promotional activities States-side was made by their management company, Seven 7 Artist Management – who, as a small music company, are fully eligible to apply. The band’s label had absolutely nothing to do with the application. In making the announcement I used the term ‘independent’ generically – in part to describe the ‘indie’ nature of the acts who stand to benefit, but also because the vast majority of the music companies and labels that apply and benefit are from the independent community. Anyone taking a look at the 21 recipients of this round of funding would clearly see that, and, while, perhaps, I should have been a little more precise in my wording (sorry!), it seems a pity that we’re not focussing on the much bigger picture here – that British music is being promoted overseas.”

“We’d also respectfully point out that Fat White Family have never applied for MEGS funding themselves – they and their representatives are welcome to if they are planning overseas activity that meets the criteria.  They have, however, received Government support to play various showcase gigs around the world, and recently also benefitted from some indirect BPI support to put on a showcase for them at last year’s Canadian Music Week.”

Slaves released their second album ‘Take Control’ last September. It followed on from 2015’s debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’, which peaked at Number Eight in the charts and earned the duo a Mercury Prize nomination.

Meanwhile, Fat White Family recently signed a record deal with Domino. The label is home to Arctic Monkeys, Hot Chip and Franz Ferdinand.