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Selling Out or Buying In? Indie Bands Funded

Published: 21 Jun 13, 03:30pm  |  Author: DG Music

The Arts Council is known for supporting theatres, museums and galleries but has recently announced a move in a more musical direction. The Momentum fund will distribute £500,000 to 75 dance musicians and indie bands in what it’s calling a “landmark moment for music in England”. 

Will this really be a boost to the aspiring rock stars of the future? How are these nascent starlets to be identified and who will be dishing out the cash? The news is unexpected as the Arts Council is suffering from huge funding cuts itself and withdrawing funding it supplies to galleries and creative ventures across the country. The Culture Secretary Maria Miller has recently called for the economic return from arts related projects and bodies to increase and the Momentum fund seems aimed at bringing this about. By scouting out promising new, yet developed (applicants for funding must have released a single and have accrued the mandatory social media followers!) musicians it is hoped that new ubër stars will created.

The Culture Secretary said “pop music and original composition is something we’re really good at. British music is worth £188 million to the UK economy through international royalties”. A financial boost for bands at the start of the career, often the most precarious time for unsigned artists, will help pay for touring, marketing and album production.

Alan Davey, Arts Council England Chief Executive, when asked how he could justify the £500,000 Momentum fund when museums, galleries and theatres face cuts, said: “If we retrench we would jeopardise the future of culture in this country…We owe it to our young people to invest in them so the X Factor is not the only way to break through.” It is true that great music does not make itself; recording equipment, producers, space and the luxury of time and creative freedom are all tricky things to balance with the 9 to 5 that pay the bills.

Brian Message, Radiohead co-manager and Chairman of the Music Managers Forum, said: “Momentum’s investment in commercially compelling artist businesses is a welcome move and fulfils a clear need. This initiative will help drive both cultural and economic growth and is the future of arts funding.” 

Finding a counter argument to these points is hard – why wouldn’t we want to make it easier for music to be made? We get so much of it for free with YouTube, Spotify and the ability to record onto our phones at live gigs. It seems unreasonable to expect groundbreaking acts to emerge without a little financial support. Although many successful and iconic artists have had to struggle at the beginning of their careers and often cite these tricky, poorer times as the gritty reality that much of their best material grew from.

Perhaps Ray Charles should have the last word? “Music's been around a long time, and there's going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to make my mark, leave something musically good behind. If it's a big record, that's the frosting on the cake, but music's the main meal.”

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About DG Music

DG Music is a professional Music Agency providing bands and musicians for private events and public performances.

The business has been operating since 2004 and is proud of the professional and friendly service it provides.

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