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An Open Letter to the Canadian Music Biz..


shainhouse
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Hiya.

I didn't write this, but working in the weird world that supports Canadian music, I find it raised some interesting points. I agree with a bit, but disagree in principle. Just curious what you guys make of it.

best,

Shain

http://www.thedailyswarm.com/swarm/open-letter-canadas-music-industry-grant-system-why-does-metric-mstrkrft-and-well-funded-mediocrity-get-all-support/

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As someone in an independant band, who has applied and been turned down for these grants, I fully understand the writers points.

but you also have to understand these people want to invest in bands that are going to see a return, not a band that is going to end up doing nothing, or has done nothing.

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Ipp makes some good points, although he sounds like he learned the business while "on the job". But did Ipp enter into the business thinking he would get grants? If so, he's a fool. Our government is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to cultural grants, and music is notoriously nasty business. It doesn't suprise me at all that the government plays it safe. It always does. The writer's personal axe to grind with Metric (a good band that is by no way overly big) also diminishes his argument.

I read a story in a recent Star article about a guy who started a Canadian indie label, but found he couldn't make a go of it, so he took it on-line. He established a PayPal account and offered downloads through, I believe, iTunes (or something similar). The website acts like CBC Radio 3 and plays all genres of Canadian music, but all featured acts have to be indie. Well, the site is a success, without I believe, the use of grants.

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its probably good he did not mention his bands...as then they would be affiliated and maybe have less success at receiving funding in the future.

anyhow i think the guy comes across as sour grapes.

grants...grants...grants...well i really do not know the music scene where i live now, but in newfoundland several people i know got funding to 'tour'. its not an easy road, but the bands that got the money were all great bands from different genres. point being sometimes money goes to where it should. i support the arts, it enriches my life, but i would still find it hard to give to somebody with such a sense of 'entitlement' without backing up too much of why he deserves it.

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i also found these two responses interesting..

"And now you know what it feels like to own and operate an indie label outside of Canada. Seriously man, you're complaining because the government didn't give you money? Take a step back and think about what you just said.

Dude, toughen up and quit feeling entitled for starting a label.

What gives you the impression the decision has anything to do with artistic merit or that artistic merit is quantifiable. Come on man, we're in the real world. The purpose of the grant system is to nurture Canadian culture hopefully to export it to the rest of the world. If the government spent their time trolling the indie ghetto for cool releases they'd never achieve their goal.

Of course grants go to the bands who will bring them stats and numbers to justify their existence. Why would you think otherwise?

Think about it man. Metric ?? Most people don't even know who that is. THey sold 50k records in the States. What a great candidate to try to nurture and see if they can actually do some real business. They might seem big to you but in the grand scheme of things they are an indie darling. If I were dolling out bucks i'd bet on them instead of some band who hasn't achieved anything.

Grow a pair and learn to play the game. I don't understand why you turn your nose at meeting the players and getting to know the system. That's either indie snobbery (which will get you nowhere) or fear. If you were applying for a grant to start a small business would you not go research the system and meet whoever you had to in order to get what you wanted?

Why is it that because you funded a recording you feel you can skip that step? Is it because you support the arts? If I were an artist on your label I'd be bummed if I knew you were totally ignoring the politics of getting a grant and concentrating on paperwork. Remember, you're not the artist you are the label. Being a label owner is all about knowing people and getting shit done.

I'm sure you're disheartened but instead of writing blogs go take a meeting with a judge.

We agree on Flemish Eye. Those guys are rad"

and

"As I sit here looking at the letter I got from the Canadian Government yesterday telling me I owe them $749.00 in taxes from last year (I make 11 bucks an hour), all I want to say is fuck arts funding in general. If your band/art/film is so piss poor that it cant rise through the clutter on its own merit, then it deserves to be buried.

Fuck the bands who got the grants, and fuck those bands and artists standing in the bread line waiting for another government handout."

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Funny thing that it gets choked up to 'mediocrity', turning him into a big snob.

Thos ebands make great music - maybe not entirely 'challenging' but their releases are well done.

Perhaps it's symptomatic of the entire system...not just the grants and funding, but the state of broadcasting and live events, that acts like these don't get the support they deserve.

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