Monday, 30 May 2016

The Future Of UK Underground Music: A Solution

The history of the UK underground music scene has been well publicised. You can go back to bands such as Black Sabbath and The Sex Pistols, as catalysts for both heavy metal and punk as we know it today. While the underground musical landscape in the UK has changed beyond those early years thanks to the Internet, Social Media and Crowd funding; it is still DIY in the majority. Bands record and release music with their own money, labels (often just one person) invest their time and money in bands they like, promoters use their own money to put on shows and festivals across the country.

The catalyst for this blog post was a series of tweets I read last night between a prominent musician and (up to now) a fairly new and successful UK music festival. Reading those tweets made me realise that private investment and crowd funding will only go so far, as for the majority of people involved in underground music, money is a finite resource. This is where the solutionising comes into it.

Should the UK Government and Arts Council adopt a similar funding regime to that of Norway or Canada, to help maintain such an important part of UK musical culture?

Norway's Ministry For Culture founded Music Norway and the Fund For Performing Artists, provides support for recording artists as well helping to build the wider music scene in the country. Read more here - http://musicnorway.no and here - http://www.ffuk.no/about-the-fund-for-performing-artists. In 2011 for example, 90 grants of 20,000 NOK were awarded to artists while smaller grants of 6,000 NOK were given to artists and bands for short-term trips, allowing them to tour and reach new audiences.

The Canadian Council For The Arts also offers grants to artists/bands and provide financial support for touring. Bands and artists can receive between $12,000 and $24,000 Canadian Dollars. Read more here - http://canadacouncil.ca/music/find-a-grant/grants/grants-to-professional-musicians-individuals.

I'm sure there will be some people reading this who will say that what makes the underground scene in the UK so unique is that financial independence, which is a valid argument; however, if financial assistance was available to people, do you think it would relieve the burden on individuals, help festivals (both large ones like Sonisphere and small DIY ones like 'Kin Hell Fest) to survive and prosper and allow bands, labels and promoters to become more financially self-sufficient? 

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