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British government set to grant millions to indie labels

September 12, 2013|By August Brown
  • Adele sings the Oscar-winning original song "Skyfall" at last year's Academy Awards ceremony. While signed to Columbia Records in America, she is on the British indie XL in her home country.
Adele sings the Oscar-winning original song "Skyfall" at last… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

The British government of David Cameron may be on a serious austerity binge, but there's one cause they seem to be happy to fund -- exporting the country's pop music.

The prime minster has announced that he's wrapping up the details of the new Music Export Growth initiative, according to Britain's Telegraph newspaper. It's designed to help replicate the international success of British artists like Adele.

That singer, while signed to Columbia Records in America, is on the British indie XL (which discovered her and nurtured her career) in her home country. Her album "21" was the top-seller of both 2011 and 2012.

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The plan provides for £3 million, about $4.75 million in U.S. currency, of grants over three years to independent British record labels to promote their artists overseas.

Britain's business secretary, Vince Cable, told the Telegraph, "It's not just about enjoying the music. This worldwide success means jobs and economic growth back in the U.K., so the government must do all we can to back our winning sectors and ensure their future success."

It's not the first government program designed to support homegrown independent pop music -- Canada's Factor grants have been a crucial part of that country's indie-label business for years. 

While such an initiative is unlikely to ever happen in the U.S. -- which has some other pressing concerns at home and abroad -- the move is a clear acknowledgment that culture industries are real business and are as deserving of government support as any other line of work. It might not be rolling in the deep, but at least it's a little more cash on hand to support new artists.


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