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The Rambler :: blog

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hungary to Subsidize Pop, Jazz, Folk Bands 

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Interesting news from Hungary: plans to offer government subsidies to pop, rock, folk and jazz musicians. A lot of the money will go to clubs and broadcasters who support Hungarian music, but some will go towards the international promotion of acts as well as funds to help amateur bands get into the recording studio.

Link spotted at Sequenza21, where there are some interesting comments too. Personally, I don't agree with David Salvage that this is necessarily a bad thing. For one thing, we are deluding ourselves if we think that the pop/rock music industry (via lobbyists like the RIAA) does not receive at least tacit government support in the US and UK. Hell, Blair invites them in for photoshoots at his home. Secondly, as Ian Moss, in his comments, observes, these are Hungarian musicians, "most of whom, last time I checked, weren't exactly tearing up the international scene"; history has shown that often the most successful music (as in, most successful in the US and Western Europe) to come from Eastern Europe has benefitted from massive, state-funded, promotion (witness Poland in the 1960s). The fact that Hungarian music is not tearing up the scene is due to a combination of factors (language being not the least of these), but some proper funding investment can't hurt. Also, let's not forget that it is the artists themselves who have asked for this. I take Salvage's point that "pop music thrives on the transgressive", but the two examples he gives (Britney Spears and Marilyn Manson) are big assets to government-friendly corporations. As, indeed, is Eminem. Those transgressions make shedloads of money, and thus a lot of tax, and thus are government-friendly. Transgression within limits is always government sanctioned - true transgression never is of course, but by definition it's unpreventable. Hungarian music will be fine.


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