As U.S. sales shrink, music labels are looking overseas for more revenue from customers who still pay for CDs.  But no worries — it’s the U.S. government to the taxpayer-funded rescue!

The government is now subsidizing rock & roll

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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.

It is a departure for the International Trade Administration (ITA), 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.

Until last year the agency hadn’t received a music-industry application worthy of the award, an ITA spokesman said. Indeed, it hadn’t received an application at all.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie notes the irony behind the government’s support for so-called indie rockers:

You know what was one of the things that made rock and roll (and pop music, broadly defined) so freaking great? Precisely the fact that it not only developed without the sorts elite, class-based subsidies lavished on opera, ballet, later jazz, etc., but in spite of them. And to the not-inconsiderable role rock and pop played in defeating international communism, it’s worth noting that pop music was constantly under attack both in the “free” world and behind the Iron Curtain.

For god’s sake, even the major record labels hated rock (prefering the phony folk music parlayed during the ’50s and early ’60s) for the longest time. And now, indie rockers are the new cronies. (sic)

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