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Government Funding for Creative Sector

Four UK Government Shakeups Independent Artists Should Note (Surprisingly, They’re All Positive)

Government Shakeups

It will take a lot for the sitting government to improve their reputation in the run-up to the next general election. Nevertheless, in the past two weeks, there have been four major government shakeups that independent artists should note and celebrate. Make that five if you want to celebrate the victory of Boris Johnson’s resignation and the subsequent resignation of his #1 simp, Nadine Dorries.

There may still be a lot to lament in the current economic and cultural climate and while the points outlined below certainly don’t absolve recent political sins or will be of any immediate comfort to those hit hardest by the recession, they do prove there is light at the end of the tunnel and optimism for a fairer future for artists and creators isn’t futile.

Four UK Government Shakeups Independent Artists Should Note

  1. The UK Government Announced £77 Million of New Funding for the Creative Sector

On the 13th of June, a press release was circulated into the public domain to share the ambitious plans of growing the UK economy by boosting creative industries and building a pipeline of talent and skills. After setting aside £77 million in new funding, the government is aiming to create 1 million more creative jobs by 2030; in just seven years, the creative sector is expected to be worth £50 billion in the UK.

Rishi Sunak somehow found the time to stop appeasing the Little Englander racists with his incessantly dehumanising ‘stop the boats’ rhetoric to identify bolstering the creative industries as one of his top priorities. Whether he stays true to that intent and pledge is another thing entirely, but at least it makes a refreshing change from him donating $3 million to a US college to build a computer lab.

The additional £50 million is expected to be poured into ‘regional creative clusters’, and there will be extra funding for music venues and allowing the next generation of new music talent. Video game studios and London Fashion Week are also expecting a sizeable cash injection in the coming years.

Read the full report, including statements from Rishi Sunak, the Culture Secretary, Lucy Frazer, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, here.

  1. The UK Government Increased Funding for the Music Exports Growth Scheme

In more positive funding news, the Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding will increase over the next two years to £3.2 million. Thanks to this funding, British artists attempting to build an audience overseas will gain additional support.

While it would probably be more beneficial to cut the red tape that is restricting UK artists from touring, working, and shipping their records and merch throughout Europe, it is a welcome move, especially for the record label body, British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which has been crying out for more funding in the past few years after the financial struggle brought on by the pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis.

The interim CEO of MEGS was delighted with the UK Government’s recognition of the excellent ROI that MEGS offers and believes that the funds will efficaciously go towards supporting independent artists.

  1. The Universal Basic Income Trials Are Underway

If you read Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, you will know how promising the trials of Universal Basic Income (UBI) are in the UK. The trials may be small, with a modest number of 30 participants, but if successful, they could shape the landscape of the creative industry in the years to come.

All participants in the trial will receive a ‘basic’ income of £1,600 a month for the next two years. The trial will monitor if a UBI scheme could simplify the welfare system, reduce poverty, boost overall well-being and provide security in the labour market.

This new Government Shakeup may not directly impact musicians in the imminent future, but now that it is harder than ever to create a comfortable income via music and AI is arriving to add even more uncertainty to the creative industries, the potential changes in the labour market could be exponential.

Artists and creators would be given the freedom to make moves in their music careers without worrying about how they will correlate with commercial potential and profit. It could amplify the importance of the catharsis and satisfaction within the creative process while the pressure is taken off trying to capitalise on creativity.

Of course, ego-driven artists would still like to count their worth in the £s they have brought in via their music, and there will always be those who want to keep music as an elite club while the working class breaks their backs doing menial work and has no extra capacity for creativity, but fuck those guys.

  1. MPs are Advocating for Fairer Streaming Royalties for Artists and Songwriters

Earlier this month, it was announced that the UK Government, along with music industry experts, will be launching a plan to investigate fair pay for musicians. The imitative was spurred by the recommendations from the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee after hearing the frustrations of musicians.

The working group will look into how musicians and songwriters are unfairly paid by the streaming giants, Tidal, Apple Music and Spotify. The chair of the CMS committee, Dame Caroline Dineange MP, believes that there is extensive work to be done to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for playing a central role in the success of the streaming industry.

Although, independent artists won’t want to hold their breath on this government shakeup either, in 2021, a UK parliamentary inquiry decreed that the royalty system needs a complete reset. Notably, they are yet to find the reset button!

Article by Amelia Vandergast