Joel Stoker of the Rifles, whose manager successfully used the enterprise finance guarantee scheme after nine attempts. Photograph: C Brandon/Redferns
A £2bn government-backed scheme partly aimed at helping musicians and promoters launch new bands and other music ventures has approved just two music-sector loans in more than two years. One of the successful applicants received money only after making nine attempts.
Brian Message, co-manager of Radiohead and Kate Nash, tried repeatedly to obtain money under the enterprise finance guarantee (EFG) scheme to finance an album and tour for rock band the Rifles. After trying for two-and-a-half years, he was loaned a quarter of the cash he had originally sought.
The poor performance of the scheme – which was broadened in March 2009 to include “music composers and own-account artists” (those not already signed to a record label) – has led to deep frustration in the industry at a perceived lack of government support in an area where British acts lead the world.
Research by UK Music, the body that represents the music industry, showed that of the £1.4bn already lent out under the scheme, almost nothing had gone into music. There was only one other successful application under the terms of the scheme, which relies on a bank offering credit first and then taking advantage of the EFG to guarantee 75% of the loan.
So, where does the money go?