Nations from around the world have been choosing musical outfits and sending them to the biggest music markets abroad in hopes of raising their international profile and generating export sales.
Sweden Attempts to Rock.
In 2002, the Hives, a calculated tailored garage-rock band from Fagersta, Sweden, seized the spotlight. Then came Division of Laura Lee and Sahara Hotnights. Their home country got the credit: â€œSweden Rocks,â€? declared Rolling Stone.
Canada Wants to Rock.
The year 2004 unquestionably belonged to Canada, which bred indie-rock bands like the Arcade Fire, Stars and Broken Social Scene just in time to draw praise from the emerging music blogosphere.
Could the Goverment’s Determine the Next Big Thing?
government trade and culture officials, attend American music festivals, organize junkets for critics and record executives, and arrange coaching and subsidies for their homegrown acts.
In Canada, artists can apply for an array of grants or loans to finance up to 75 percent of recording costs, advertising, marketing or touring expenses. Heather Ostertag, chief executive of Factor, the public-private Canadian agency that oversees music funds, said it controls a budget of roughly $12.4 million. Broken Social Scene and its label, for example, have been offered more than $140,000, she said. The Arcade Fire and Stars were also beneficiaries.
The government recognizes the importance of a cultural spend for a cultural identity,â€? Ms. Ostertag said. â€œI think that we struggle as Canadians for our own Canadian identity. American dominance is so prevalent wherever you go.â€? Part of maintaining the nationâ€™s place on the cultural map, she added, â€œis happening through identifying ourselves through the success of other Canadians.â€?
Australia Wants to Rock
In Australia state and federal governments offer a series of programs. The countryâ€™s main export program offers to cover up to 50 percent of an actâ€™s costs above the equivalent of $11,600. Over the last year trade officials provided roughly $1.8 million in grants to 80 recipients aimed at exporting their music.
The School of Rock – No Goverment Please.
Samuel Scott, a singer and guitarist in a New Zealand rock band called the Phoenix Foundation, sympathizes. â€œI think that image, that rock â€™nâ€™ roll is a thing of rebellion and that you should be flipping the bird to the government, is prevalent,â€? he said.