US Government Dole For "Indie" Rock Bands Looking To Gain Fans Overseas
Hannah Karp writes in the WSJ that the US government is helping fund the exportation of indie rock to foreign countries. (Someone should tell them about YouTube -- as well as the concept of people funding their own business expansion rather than doing it through handouts of other people's tax dollars.)
For the first time, the U.S. government's trade arm is stepping in to help the music business, funding trade missions to Brazil and Asia in recent months for the heads of a dozen independent music labels, which make up one-third of the U.S. music market and represent acts such as the Black Keys and Sonic Youth.
It is a departure for the International Trade Administration, which has been spending $2 million annually to boost exports for the past two decades under its Market Development Cooperator Program but has never before given one of its $300,000 grants to the music industry, instead favoring sectors like machinery, technology and engineering services.
How lovely that we're spreading the handouts.
Many of the independent label heads that visited Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong this fall as part of the ITA grant program have since signed foreign distribution and licensing deals that will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, Mr. Bengloff said. The deals could represent as much as a quarter of a small independent label's revenue, he said.
Alec Bemis, managing partner for the New York indie label Brassland, said as a result of a government-subsidized trade mission, he recently signed digital distribution deals in Korea and Hong Kong, began negotiations to license a song for an Hyundai Motors commercial and booked festival shows in Hong Kong and Taiwan that will pay five-figure fees.
This is called "business development" and it should be funded by those who are making the profits. I don't think Alec will be sharing his profits with the rest of us -- just the cost.
Does the label for Sonic Youth really need our help? Interesting that they aren't "sequestered."
P.S. You lose any right to be called "indie" when you are funded by the US government.