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View Full Version : An article about gov't subsidies for dance music.



MatthewH
20-03-2012, 09:32 PM
Here's an article I did for the MUTEK magazine. I'm pretty happy with it - hopefully some of you will get something out of it:

http://www.mutek.org/en/magazine/364-pennies-from-heaven

Enjoy!

SecondLine
21-03-2012, 01:12 AM
thanks for this, interesting read.

I am instinctively disturbed by the idea of dance music expecting or relying on cash injections from the outside - whether that's from government or business.

It's probably irrational really and I've not really interrogated it but my half-formed view is that a music's potential to be dynamic/exciting/throw up unexpected things is pretty much inversely proportional to its reliance on funding structures outside of its control.

You point out the failings in the funding system in canada which come from a certain deeply ingrained preconception of what 'real'/'legitimate' music is - i.e. not a DJ set - but how can a large scale system ever be satisfactory? It's a) run by bureaucrats and b) trying to please everybody all at once (or, alternatively, trying to please a particular interest group - which is obviously unfair on everyone else).

No sure why I think market forces are somehow better suited to the job of deciding who should have a career and who shouldn't, but I do. Music-making and media technologies are such these days that people can devise ways of being self-sufficient without too much hassle (it may involve having to work another job of course). I honestly think, if I saw the logo for some funding body on the flyer for a clubnight, I would react with suspicion - 'why do they need funding?' or 'what bullshit "cross-disciplinary"/"community outreach" hoops did they have to jump through to get that money?'

rant over, sorry. Interested to know your thoughts anyway.

MatthewH
21-03-2012, 02:56 AM
Def some valid points there Secondline. I agree about the first two paragraphs.

In terms of the third, the majority of programs I deal with are peer evaluated. That's actually how I got into grantwriting in the first place - from being on juries.

So you're sitting there with a couple of artists, one label guy and one girl from a distributor or publisher - it changes all the time but it's always people working in the industry - and you debate whether you'd invest your own money. No doubt there's a bit of "well it's not my money so who cares" but in general the decisions reflect market reality. For better or worse.

For context: Canada is pretty distinct in that everything we do costs more than the equivalent in that cultural colossus to the south. So, touring, recording, distribution - it's all just harder in a spread-out and small market. The aim of these programs is to level the playing field, which to a certain extent they do... but just not for dance music.

There are a lot of agencies - and there are a few that are about the type of staunchy anti-commercial wank (and the odd really innovative/socially progressive bit) you complain of. Those aren't the majority tho, thank god.