British taxpayers are funding “thrash metal” bands among others thanks to a series of generous grants from the Trade Minister. Lord Livingston hand-picked fourteen music acts to receive grants of up to £50,000 to “support music exports”, helping them promote themselves overseas.
The groups include Metronomy, an ‘electro-indie’ group, and Bo Ningen, a London-base acid punk act who will use the money to play at the Austin Psych Festival in Texas.
Taxpayer money will also go to thrash metal act Savage Messiah, whose latest album is titled The Fateful Dark.
The Trade Minister was advised by a panel of industry insiders representing various small, independent record labels. The grants do not have to be paid back, so the government is relying on the acts to spend the money wisely.
Charli Taft, who is using her grant to attend songwriting camps in Copenhagen, Seoul and Los Angeles. She told the Independent: “I’m going to Seoul to join a writing team for Girls’ Generation, one of Korea’s biggest ‘K-pop’ groups. I’ve already had a song on a number one album of theirs but I’ve never been to Asia so it’s very exciting. Then I’m going to work with R&B/pop producers for my album in LA.”
She added: “It’s impossible for new artists to get funding for self-development if they aren’t on a major label so these awards are vital.”
Dia Chakravarty of the TaxPayers’ Alliance told Channel 4 News last night that hard-pressed taxpayers will be unimpressed with “indie” bands receiving government subsidies:
“It really is ludicrous from a taxpayer’s point of view,” she said.
“It should be people’s choice. People should have the option to pay for it if they want to pay for it, but it should never be pushed on people by the government to force us to pay for any sort of arts. The government doesn’t decide what arts we like, and what arts deserve funding and what doesn’t.”