Wolf Alice and BPI urge government to seize £1billion export opportunity for UK music

A new report has said UK music exports could rise – if the government helps promote artists overseas

Wolf Alice and the BPI have called on the government to take advantage of a £1billion exports opportunity for UK music.

The latest figures for British music exports show that all sectors of music exports made £2.9billion between January 2019 and December 2019. Of that sum, recorded music brought in £518million.

According to a new report, All Around The World, revenues from recorded music could grow up to more than £1billion a year by 2030.

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The report, which was published by the BPI, has forecast those global takings to “rise to almost $40billion (£30b) in the next nine years.

“Alongside long-established markets in Europe, North America and Australasia, where our music has traditionally been hugely popular, exports opportunities are now also growing in rapidly-expanding new markets across Asia and South America, while rising demand in Africa and in the Middle East adds new prospects for British artists and music,” a press release read.

“However the expansion of the global streaming market also means stiffer competition, with smaller countries such as the UK having to work harder to gain a share of listening on streaming platforms worldwide.”

However the report added that to reach that figure the government would need to work with the music industry to help promote British artists overseas.

Wolf Alice Reading
Wolf Alice in 2018 CREDIT: Jenn Five/NME

The BPI is now calling for the government to renew the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS), which is funded by the Department for International Trade (DIT). It launched in 2014 and has helped artists tour outside of the UK and increased exports by £46.5million. Earlier this month, the likes of Beabadoobee and Bicep were recipients of funds from the scheme.

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In a statement, Wolf Alice backed the BPI’s comments. “The global reach of British music gives us the ability to connect with fans all around the world, and the support that we had from the Music Export Growth Scheme early in our career was critical in us breaking through in key markets such as the USA,” they said, as Music Week reports.

“With streaming now growing fast even in emerging markets, we hope that other new British artists will receive similar support so that British music can make even more of an international impact.”

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor added: “We are at a pivotal moment for British music on the global stage. As the UK works to build back from COVID-19 and forge its future as an independent trading nation, music can play a vitally important cultural and economic role. Because of streaming, our country has a huge opportunity to connect artists with fans in ways never before possible.

Beabadoobee
Beabadoobee CREDIT: Tamiym Cader for NME

“There is a £1billion prize to be gained for the UK, which would benefit artists, fans and the UK economy alike. We are today putting forward a plan to work with government to support touring and showcasing by more UK artists and deliver substantial growth in music exports. SME and indie music companies will directly benefit and amplify the extensive work record labels do to develop and promote British music globally.”

The organisation is also asking the government to introduce a music production tax credit, strengthen the UK’s copyright system, and raise the standards of copyright protection and enforcement. They also want Downing Street to prioritise coming to a deal with the EU that will allow artists and their crews to tour outside of the UK, as well as making the UK accessible to talent from around the world.

British artists’ ability to tour the EU without the need for visas is in jeopardy after the government failed to agree on a deal that would include musicians and their crews in the list of workers who qualify for visa-free business travel post-Brexit.

MPs questioned Culture Minister Caroline Dineage this week over the government’s handling of Brexit, with regards to the position artists are now left in by the deal. Many within the UK music industry were left reeling in anger at Dinenage’s response to a debate in Parliament last week when she again rejected the idea of a visa-free “musicians passport” for artists and crew, and repeated claims that the EU was at fault despite calling for an end to “the blame game”.

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