Be big in Japan

February 1996: Oasis accepting an award during the Brit Awards where frontman Liam Gallagher (centre right) berated INXS singer Michael Hutchence (right) saying 'has-beens shouldn't be giving awards to gonna-bes' ' making last night's show a byword for the perils of live television

February 1996: Oasis accepting an award during the Brit Awards where frontman Liam Gallagher (centre right) berated INXS singer Michael Hutchence (right) saying 'has-beens shouldn't be giving awards to gonna-bes' ' making last night's show a byword for the perils of live television

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Lancashire’s indie stars were today encouraged to apply for Government grants to help them be ‘big in Japan’.

A grime act from south London and a group of Glaswegian psychedelic rockers were today named among 14 acts sharing thousands of pounds in Government grants to help market themselves overseas.

They have been chosen to take part in the Music Export Growth Scheme – worth between £5,000 and £50,000 for independent music companies.

Trade minister Lord Livingston announced the first acts that will take part in the scheme set up by UK Trade and Investment and music business body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

He said: “Last night’s Brit Awards showed the depth of music talent in the UK and why we sell more records around the world than almost any other country.

“Fifty years on from the Beatles arriving in America, the Music Export Growth Scheme will give more talented young British artists the chance to be successful on the international stage.

“This scheme is just one of a number of ways UK Trade and Investment helps music businesses to get into the rhythm of exporting.”

The music companies and acts receiving the grants span the genres of rock/alternative, pop, dance/electronic, urban, classical, jazz and world music and are from London, Glasgow, Bath, Sheffield, Wiltshire, Leeds, Nottingham and Monmouth.

Among the acts benefiting from the scheme are Afrikan Boy, a grime MC, and singer-songwriter Beth Jeans Houghton.

It also includes Scottish band Holy Mountain and composer and pianist George Benjamin, who started writing music aged seven and was a pupil at the prestigious Paris Conservatoire at 16.

Also among the 14 acts are Drenge, who previously benefited from political backing when they got a mention in Labour politician Tom Watson’s resignation letter when he quit as the party’s general election co-ordinator.

Mr Watson told party leader Ed Miliband that the duo, made up of drummer Rory Loveless and his guitarist brother Eoin, from Castleton in the Peak District, were “awesome”.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “The very strong response we’ve had to the Music Export Growth Scheme clearly demonstrates the demand from independent labels for support in boosting their exports. “The quality of the applications was encouraging and I’m delighted that BPI can play a role in helping UK indie labels to grow their businesses overseas.”

John Kennedy, Music Export Growth Scheme Board Chairman, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for emerging artists and growing independently-owned music businesses.

“The number and variety of the applications for the first round of funding was very impressive and it is now important that the successful applicants maximise the return from the funding they receive in order to justify the belief shown in their project and the commitment made.”

Up to £2.5m will be made available over a two-and-a-half year period with further successful applications announced later.

Lynne McDowel, BPI Senior Communications Manager, said: “Further application rounds will take place periodically over the next two and a half years, with the next round now open for submissions until March 17 2014.

“Applications are open to all UK music companies meeting the application criteria.

“Full details can be found at http://www.bpi.co.uk/export-scheme.aspx.”