One of the West Midlands’ leading media entrepreneurs has filmed a documentary about his work in the USA – and it features UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) advisers who have helped him gain success. Barry Tomes, founder of Barry Tomes Media Group, says overseas trade at the Gotham Records arm of his business has increased by 60% over the past ten years, since he first engaged with UKTI through the Director of International Trade Jonathan Webber.

Thanks to UKTI’s expert help, he is now aiming to increase that figure to 90% after a series of successful UK Trade & Investment supported market visits to the USA, including to SxSW, the annual music, film and interactive conference in Austin, Texas, and the Sync Festival, a music, film and video festival that takes place in Los Angeles.

Barry has been so impressed with the help that he has received from UKTI over the past few years that he asked to interview Carlo Cavagna and Tim Crouch – trade experts based in the UK Trade & Investment team at the British Consulate in Los Angeles – as part of a short documentary he made earlier this year about the work that the organisation is doing there and the artists it is working with.

The film, titled  Behind The Scenes With Gotham Records, also features musical artists, business professionals and Sync Mission licensing, and gives the viewer an insight into how money is now made from music.

Barry said:

“UKTI has been an invaluable help to us as we look to grow our business in the USA and other countries, including Japan. We’ve also gained access to the British Consulate, which has been very helpful.

“Having funding for industry-leading events such as SxSW and Sync Festival is always very helpful but actually, it’s not just about eligibility for money. The most important thing is having that infrastructure in place so I can get the back up and expertise I need to help my business grow.

“I’ve launched a PR subsidiary in the USA to help with the publicity for the artists I work with and what’s also great is that when the artists come to the UK to tour, they always use local people to help stage their gigs. We’re helping to create a real network of talent and the word is spreading, which is exactly what we hoped would happen.”

Barry, who has owned Gotham Records for 27 years, works with US artists of all musical genres, from Americana to rap. Among those on his books are Amanda Thorpe, Stacia Watkins and Lucy Silvas. He is also helping UK musicians such as country artist Luke Guy Reed and Blues singer-songwriter Trevor Sewell gain exposure in the USA.

Mark Sankey, Head of the UK Trade & Investment Team in at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Gotham Records has gone from strength to strength since Barry started working with UKTI and it is really heartening to see how he is not just helping US artists gain greater exposure in their home country and the UK, but also how he’s helping UK musicians to make their names known on the global stage.

“UKTI works with a huge range of West Midlands businesses in many different sectors and also provides a variety of support and expertise to ensure that companies get the right kind of help they need to start exporting and succeed.”