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‘Every country should have a music export office’

Music market development agency Sound Diplomacy has called for every country in the world to establish a music export initiative, arguing those without export offices are missing out on “economic and cultural opportunities every day” and “limiting the opportunity to create skills, jobs and a better quality of life for their creatives”.

The call to action forms part of Sound Diplomacy’s Global Music Export Pledge, to be presented this Friday at The Export Conference at The Great Escape in Brighton.

The pledge highlights the benefits of music export to governments and councils around the world, outlining how a music export office should operate, its benefits to the economy and how to develop new talent and provide support to the local music industry.

It comprises eight key recommendations:

“We want every country in the world to have a thriving, active music export initiative,” reads a statement from Sound Diplomacy, which describes itself as the “leading global advisor in increasing the value of music and night culture in cities, places and developments” and whose clients include export initiatives in Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Africa.

“It doesn’t matter how it is set up. It matters how its functions impact the artists it serves. Talent is everywhere, and great talent deserves the best support. Only some countries and regions have music export initiatives; those that do are very lucky, because the business leaders running them are providing opportunities for artists across the sector every day.

“So let’s learn from each other, work together and make music export an integral aspect of national, regional and local cultural policy.”

 


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Canada increases export funding

The Canadian government has increased the public money available to ‘export-ready’ artists for 2017.

The increase in funding, delivered through the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (Factor), follows a report by the Canadian Independent Music Association (Cima), Music in Motion, which recommended more money for exports after finding 60% of Canadian music businesses consider international markets to be critical to their survival.

No details are available of exactly how much extra funding will be available, although FYI Music News noted in November an estimated C$8–10 million was then available for export activities. Cima president Stuart Johnston told the site it isn’t enough: “There is tremendous pressure on existing public programmes. […] The growth of the industry – the global demand and the global approach – has all made the existing programs oversubscribed.”

As in 2015, a maximum of $10,000 will be available per inbound and outbound trip for touring artists, for a maximum of $20,000 per year.

 


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£250k awarded to UK acts for international launch

A number of British acts have been awarded funding from the BPI’s Music Exports Growth Scheme to help with touring and marketing costs overseas.

The MEGS fund, originally launched in 2014 with £1.6 million, has been bolstered by £2.8m from the British Government after its relaunch last year. Just under £250,000 of that has now been given to independent labels and management companies to help break 21 acts internationally.

Recipients include punk duo Slaves (pictured), MOBO winning jazz saxophonist YolanDa Brown, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, folk performer Luke Sital-Singh, synthwave act GUNSHIP, and alt rock group Phoria. 

BRIT School graduate Jamie Isaac is also among the new talents being funded alongside r’n’b artist Moelogo, electro-dance pop four-piece Boxed In, London songwriter and performer Charlie Cunningham, indie rock act Clock Opera, and bands Deaf Havana and Don Broco.

Completing the list are Manchester band Everything Everything, multi-instrumental outfit Flamingods, hardcore four-piece Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes, Kent band Moose Blood, trio Mt. Wolf, Brighton alt-rockers Phoria, rock trio Tigerclub, singer/songwriter Vanessa White and post-punk band White Lies.

The previous MEGS fund, which ran from January 2014 to March 2016, helped a number of now-household names, including Brits 2016 winners Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Mercury Prize-winning Young Fathers and London grime MCs Afrikan Boy and Ghetts.

Over the next three years, £2.8 million will be made available in grants to help British acts and independent labels export their music to overseas markets. Small and medium sized companies are eligible to apply for MEGS grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000.

“The Music Exports Growth Scheme promotes an incredibly diverse range of music that isn’t typically part of the mainstream but deserves to reach a much wider international audience.”

BPI Director of International, Chris Tams, said: “The Music Exports Growth Scheme promotes an incredibly diverse range of music that isn’t typically part of the mainstream but deserves to reach a much wider international audience. Smaller labels don’t always have the means to market their talented artists overseas, which is where the Scheme can make a vital difference, helping to boost not only their profiles and fan-bases, but the UK’s music exports in the process.

“We had an excellent response to this latest round of funding – with nearly a 100 applications submitted.  Narrowing this down wasn’t easy, but we’re delighted to award nearly a quarter of a million pounds to 21 acts – close to matching the largest amount we’ve given to date.”      

International Trade Minister, Mark Garnier, added: “The UK music industry is hugely influential and continues to inspire millions across the world. Britain has an incredible pool of raw talent and, through our GREAT campaign, we will continue to help budding artists take the next step towards global success.”

 


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PRS Foundation supports new music at Eurosonic

PRS Foundation is funding 13 artists to play at Eurosonic Noorderslag this week in Groningen via its International Showcase Fund.

It’s the highest number of artists that the Foundation has funded to play at the annual conference and live show that takes places from January 11th to 14th.

Names to have received funding include London band Teleman (pictured), composer Anna Meredith, singer/songwriter Azekel, pop artist Be Charlotte and Bedfordshire band CC Smugglers.

PRS has also helped pop singer Elle Exxe, five-piece Haus, young vocalist Holly Macve, duo Let’s Eat Grandma, synth band Moonlandingz (who are made up of two Fat White Family members), duo Otzeki, electronic musician Salute and rock band Shame.

In 2015, Europe accounted for £118.9m (61%) of PRS for Music’s international royalty collections. In the same year, international revenue generated the organisation’s largest source of income, making up 36% of all collections in 2015.

“Today’s announcement shows that our commitment to growing that market remains as strong as ever despite any changes to the political climate. Eurosonic is of particular importance because it provides an opportunity to showcase before thousands of delegates, as well as bookers from more than 400 international festivals.”

Vanessa Reed, Chief Executive of PRS Foundation said: “The UK is one of only three net exporters of musical repertoire in the world, and Europe remains far and away our biggest market – accounting for over 60% of PRS for Music’s international collections.  Today’s announcement shows that our commitment to growing that market remains as strong as ever despite any changes to the political climate. Eurosonic is of particular importance because it provides an opportunity to showcase before thousands of delegates, as well as bookers from more than 400 international festivals.”

The International Showcase Fund is run by PRS Foundation, in partnership with the Department for International Trade, Arts Council England, British Underground, Musicians’ Union, PPL, Wales Arts International, Creative Scotland and PledgeMusic. It offers support for UK artists to take their first steps into international territories by enabling them to perform at showcasing festivals and conferences such as Canadian Music Week, SXSW, CMJ, Womex, Eurosonic and Jazzahead  which attract thousands of people working in the music industry from every corner of the globe.

In the International Showcase Fund’s most recent report spanning 2013-16, 89% of supported artists returned with tangible business outcomes (such as record, publishing or touring deals) and every £1 invested by the fund generated an additional £8.90 in revenues for the supported artist.  Supported artists have included Kate Tempest, Little Simz, Everything Everything, The Square, and East India Youth.

 


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No export office? No problem: Why Portugal launches

Ahead of its starring role as focus country for Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) 2017, Portugal’s music-industry bodies have collaborated to launch Why Portugal, a comprehensive database of the country’s booking agencies, management companies, venues, festivals, promoters, labels, studios and more for an international audience.

“AMAEI [the Associação de Músicos Artistas e Editoras Independentes, or Portuguese Independent Music Association] identified a while back that the absence of an export office or any kind of music-exchange platform was a serious handicap for labels wanting to reach international markets,” explains its vice-president, Nuno Saraiva, speaking to IQ. “So when the Eurosonic country focus was announced for Portugal, AMAEI’s international development work group got together with APORFEST [Associação Portuguesa Festivais Música/Association of Portuguese Music Festivals] and MMF Portugal and launched the platform, with some early support from the Phonogram Producers’ Society.

“[Why Portugal] isn’t just for independent music, it is for the entire music ecosystem in Portugal – a cluster gathering all players interested in reaching international markets or working with international artists in Portugal.”

Saraiva says Why Portugal, which was inspired by other national initiatives such as Brasil Music Exchange and Don’t Panic! We’re From Poland, will continue post-ESNS. “In the absence of an export office, Why Portugal will be certain to fulfil that mission,” he comments. “And even if one does come along they will lack the know-how and contacts, so Why Portugal will continue to play a much-needed role in the internationalisation of the Portuguese music cluster.”

“Why Portugal is for the entire Portuguese music ecosystem – a cluster gathering all players interested in reaching international markets or working with international artists in Portugal”

AMAEI will be promoting the Why Portugal brand abroad throughout the year, including at SPOT Festival in Denmark, Canadian Music Week, Primavera Pro and Reeperbahn (it has already done SxSW) for maximum impact at ESNS.

What does Saraiva think makes Portugal stand out from other previous Eurosonic Noorderslag focus countries? (They include France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Austria and Iceland.) “Every country is unique, of course, but Portugal has some pretty impressive numbers per capita: taking into account the population of 10 million, an estimated audience of three million festival- and concert-goers means we truly are a country of music lovers and music fans,” he says. “It is a great place to tour, not just for the 300-plus summer festivals but also our extensive public venue circuit.

“Many cultural centres sat empty during the economic crisis years, but we expect the situation to improve – and the infrastructure is there for artists that have fans and want to tour.”

While Saraiva says that for now Why Portugal is focused solely on ESNS 2016, he has high hopes for the Why concept, explaining that “it is our hope that the project might also be scalable on an international level, so who knows, we might end up with a Why Spain or Why Italy or Why Belgium or even a Why Europe – pooling together all the European players into a massive B2B directory to export European music around the world. But those are just some possible future scenarios. We will take it one step at a time, and the first step is preparing as well as we can for the ESNS 2017 country focus.”