The Patron model: United Kingdom

The Patron model resembles more traditional arts models in the provision of government funding at arm's length to recipient bodies and activities. Within the contexts of national export funding, this has primarily entailed increased funding to national export agencies or schemes. While Australia and the United Kingdom remain good examples of the Patron model, both countries have sought to work more with their music industries, arguably moving closer to the Canadian model of increasing collaboration with companies and industry sectors.

Much of the governmental machinery might still resemble “arm’s-length” processes, yet the Patron model is also increasingly delivered with more acute policy goals. While the United Kingdom enjoys a mature local infrastructure, with the nation a net exporter of popular music, successive Conservative UK governments have emphasised increasing cultural export targets. The UK Creative Industries Strategy! (2014) and the Trade and Investment Ministry (UKTI) announced an ambitious set of goals for the cultural industries: “to more than double exports to £1 trillion by 2020”; “to double creative industries services exports by 2020 to £31 billion”; and “to increase the UK's share of the global market for inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) in creative industries by 50 percent by 2020” (UKTI, 2014). The UK model comprises an interesting mix of Patron (Arts Council, UKTI) and industry (PRS, BPI) funding that aligns activities to specific expertise and knowledge, with the state as primary funder, but working with industry agencies in allocation.

Via overlapping responsibilities and funding, this mixed model potentially sees a British act obtain funding from the Momentum scheme (funded by the PRS Foundation) for domestic development, achieve PRS funding for an international showcase and then receive Music Export Growth Export Scheme (MEGS) funding for more intensive, global activity based upon prior financial returns. This “business plan application” model is based upon how “a little bit of money” allows acts to scale up their ambitions as a “natural progression” toward international market success (Interview 23, 2016). Catfish and the Bottlemen provide a good example in first obtaining international showcase funding for performances at South by Southwest before obtaining MEGS funding to exploit label and management interest in the United States.

Music export funding

Figure 6.1 Music export funding: United Kingdom.

Funded by the UK Trade and Investment Board (UKTI) and managed by the British Phonogram Industry (BPI), the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) was launched in 2014 with £250,000 to fund international touring and promotion. In 2018, £319,244 funded similar activities. From 2014 to 2018, MEGS (in partnership with BPI) has distributed over £3,000,000, supporting 201 music export projects/acts (BPI, 2018). Artists are eligible for up to £50,000 funding, which can cover no more than 70% of activities:

With the trade shows, we estimate that for our Los Angeles one, we do between £2m to £4m in deals, and that can be for up to 12 months later ... we're building relationships that can provide dividends through the next few years ... but how you put a value on that is very difficult.

(Interview 24, 2017)

The MEGS scheme is designed for artists “that have had their first success in the UK and are ready to try and break into an overseas market”; companies “are eligible to apply if you are a UK-based music company with a turnover of less than €50 million and fewer than 250 employees, as per the EU definition of an SME” (BPI, 2019). Applications are assessed by BPI, UKTI and a music industry panel that evaluates inter alia domestic track records, existing support and marketing/touring plans (BPI, 2019). UK musicians also have access to the

PRS International Showcase Fund for promotion at international showcase festivals and events. Other export-focused funding exists across the International Showcasing Fund and Artists' International Development Fund (Arts Council/ British Council), Beyond Borders programme (A-ts Council/PRS) and British Underground.

An interesting aspect of the British model is the formation of British Underground, a creative production company that provides agency functions aligning with other sector investments. Jointly funded by PRS and Arts Council England, the company assists artists “outside the mainstream” across an assortment of global showcase, artist development and networking events:

What the Arts Council’s role is as a public funder, is to almost correct market imbalance or encourage research and development or kickstart something happening, which may not be happening ... It’s another way of investing. They are moving towards a focus on diversity and niche genres, rather than just “indie band X”.

(Interview 25, 2017)

Through its Horizons programme, British Underground have also been useful in coordinating and branding various national activities within a “British music” banner at events such as WOMEX. UKTI also provides support for trade mission activities related to key showcase events (e.g. Jazzahead, The Great Escape, India Music Mission) (Harris, Hart and Payne, 2016). International song-writing camps are also funded and organised by UKTI, the Music Publishers Association (MPA) and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) (ibid.). To address the lack of representation and access to funded opportunities, the PRS Foundation established the Women Make Music grant in 2011 which includes funded projects that increase the profile of female artists. While this tweaked Patron model is regarded as a successful platform of collaboration, those interviewed believed more could be done. In particular, some argued that quick-release hinds could be increased for emerging acts, labels and managers to enable access to micro-finance regional/national activity, and that the state should increasingly view music like the him and television industries, where funding of R&D (especially tax breaks for national production) can provide larger returns. Many, in effect, argued a transition to Facilitator/Architect models.

How the existing model will fare with the predicted regulatory and trade problems related to Britain’s proposed withdrawal from the European Union is much discussed. UK music sectors have warned that “Brexit” has dire implications, primarily for passport/visa arrangements for touring musicians, changed copyright structures, the possibility of new trade tariffs and increased costs and bureaucratic systems for music tourists and musicians both entering and leaving countries (e.g. UK Music, 2018b; Hami, 2019). A 2018 UK Music report assessed further blockages to the domestic “talent pipeline”: A decline in music education, particularly at state schools; a decline in music venues; and lack of hnance options for emerging artists at the start of their careers (UK Music, 2018b, pp. 3-15).

146 National case studies, export schemes

 
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