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UK government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision includes further funding for music industry schemes

By | Published on Wednesday 14 June 2023

The UK government yesterday bigged up a number of funding and educational initiatives that aim to support the continued growth of the creative industries, including the good old music industry. Which is pretty damn creative. Sometimes.

It’s all part of a scheme that has the snappy name of the Creative Industries Sector Vision. Which is all about “driving innovation, attracting investment and building on the clusters of creativity across the country”.

And if you don’t believe me, well, that’s how Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer describes it. And I’m assuming she’d know. “From first days at school to last days of work”, she goes on, “we will nurture the skills needed to build a larger creative workforce to harness the talent needed for continued success”.

But why would the government splash the cash on supporting the creative industries? “Why use taxpayer money for this kind of stuff?” the tedious moaners of Britain might ask. Well, it’s one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “priority sectors for economic growth”. That’s why. Surely that’s reason enough?

But just in case it isn’t, the government also points out that “the creative industries are a global British success story growing at more than 1.5 times the rate of the wider economy over the past decade and contributing £108 billion in gross value added annually”. And not only that, but “employment in these industries has grown at five times the rate of the rest of the economy since 2011”. So shut up, you tedious moaners.

“The creative industries are a true British success story”, reckons Sunak, “from global music stars like Adele and Ed Sheeran to world-class cultural institutions like the National Theatre. These industries have a special place in our national life and make a unique contribution to how we feel about ourselves as a country. We want to build on this incredible success to drive growth in our economy – one of my key priorities – and to ensure that UK creative industries continue to lead the world long into the future”.

But what kind of support will come with this Creative Industries Sector Vision? Well, “four new state-of-the-art research and development facilities will be set up to drive the next generation of screen technology and on-set virtual production”. And there’ll be a further cash boost for the UK Games Fund to help start-ups in the gaming sector “grow their businesses and attract even more private investment into our booming video games industry”.

The government will also “invest at least £50 million in the next wave of UK Research & Innovation’s Creative Industries Clusters programme” which seeks to support entrepreneurs and businesses in specific regions or creative sub-sectors. Which sounds like fun.

And what about the music industry? That’s all you care about, isn’t it? Well, further funding is guaranteed for the Music Expert Growth Scheme, the BPI-managed programme that helps independent artists and labels pursue opportunities in new markets.

Plus the government’s culture department will “expand Arts Council England’s highly successful Supporting Grassroots Music Venues Fund, providing an additional £5 million over two years to support around 400 grassroots music venues projects, as the lifeblood of our world-leading music sector and cornerstones of communities”.

On the extended MEGS funding, BPI Interim Chief Executive Sophie Jones says: “At a time when UK artists face greater competition than ever before in a now truly global music market, the Music Export Growth Scheme is an invaluable resource for those independent artists and music companies looking to export their music around the world”.

“The scheme is already well over-subscribed, and with this additional investment, the scheme will be able to help even more deserving artists achieve global success”, she adds. “We are delighted that the government has recognised the excellent return on investment that MEGS presents and has moved to support independent artists and music in this way”.

And on the extra funding for grassroots music venues, Rebecca Walker, Live Projects Coordinator at the Music Venue Trust, says: “There is a well-documented and evidenced crisis at grassroots level. We have new and emerging artists who want to tour, venues who are desperate to host them, audiences that want to see them, but the financial obstacles have simply become too great”.

“With this additional £5 million”, she continues, “we are going to be able to work with the sector to get artists back out across the country, producing thousands of shows that simply wouldn’t be able to take place without this funding”.

Beyond the funding initiatives, there are some commitments around education and training too. Which, you know, will also involve some funding, hopefully, so that the bold ambitions around creative and music education in schools and beyond can actually be achieved.

In that domain, the government will publish a Cultural Education Plan later this year, while also remembering to get about implementing the National Plan For Music Education it published last year. It will also “work with industry to ensure post-sixteen technical skills routes work effectively for the creative industries” and “support lifelong learning in the creative industries and enable the sector to retain and retrain the existing workforce”.

So, that’s the vision for you. The Creative Industries Sector Vision. Let’s see how it all works out, shall we?