an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Just in: Berlin to subsidise rock and pop music

Under the laws of political correctness, everyone must have prizes.

So the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit (above), has decided that if classical music and opera get lavish state funding from his senate, other forms deserve it, too. From January 1, 2013, the city will have an official whose job is to pay for rock gigs. He’ll have one million Euros to splash out.

Are you reading this, Greece and Spain?

Here’s some local dissent (auf Deutsch).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Graham Atkinson says:

    I would have thought there were enough promoters already promoting rock gigs with their own money; either they now have to face competing with an official with no responsibility to obtain a return (and I can think of millions of musicians who’d love to be into that) or will work out ways to relieve aforementioned official of some of that state largess! Either way the taxpayer is the loser.

    • And so over the fullness of time, the commercial reality of rock gigs disappears, and the whole thing ends up being subsidised.
      Classical music has generally been subsidised in one form or another throughout (recent) history; but by-and-large subsidy begets subsidy, and we end up where classical music is now – more ensembles than ‘necessary’ playing to not-full audiences, with under-paid recipients of said subsidies.
      Its not a good route to take, not even for the subsidy junkies who sail down it: yet if one artform is to receive public cash, I see no good reason why others shouldn’t. What’s sauce for the goose, etc.

      The BBC manages to have five full-time symphony orchestras, for example, but coverage of jazz is by a Big Band in name only (not employment). Jazz is frankly as uncommercial as classical, and just as deserving of support, yet proportionally receives so little. If the argument in favour of subsidies concentrates on cultural life and so forth, then all aspects of that are fair game, not just ‘core classical’ music & performance.

      • No. High arts shall be subsidised. Low arts shall not receive public money. “Pop”(ular) culture is in essence a commercial effort, disguised as “art”.
        High art is mankind aiming idealistically high to arrive (after reality has tainted the idealistic goals) at a realistically high level of civilization. That deserves public subsidies.
        Pop “culture” on the other hand aims as low as possible, at the lowest common denominator to make the masses consume the produce. That does not deserve a single penny of public subsidies.

        Of course the borders of high art vs. low commerce do not draw clearly between classical and Rock/Pop, but much of classical music is for the high aiming human condition, not for the low aiming commercial effort.

        “We live in an age of music for people who don’t like music. The record industry discovered some time ago that there aren’t that many people who actually like music. For a lot of people, music’s annoying, or at the very least they don’t need it. They discovered if they could sell music to a lot of those people, they could sell a lot more records.” N.N.

  2. Hey, it’s all just a matter of personal taste, right? Beethoven, Black Sabbath, Brahms, Beach Boys, Brittney, Berlioz… Who is to say that Eroica is intrinsically better than “Baby One More Time?” Besides, the rock industry is being stretched financially, as growth in the cost of cocaine is outpacing growth in sales and concert revenues.

an ArtsJournal blog