An interesting article in Pitchfork today about government support of the arts--namely popular music--in Scandinavian countries.
As American musicians wait to see whether Obama's landmark health-care legislation-- finally signed last week after a year of heated debate and concessions-- will do anything to relieve their worries about surging medical costs, countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Canada make it easier for bands to focus on the creative arts by providing not only universal health care, but often cold hard cash, too. Every year, millions in public money goes toward recording, artist promotion, videos, venues, touring, festivals-- even showcases at South By Southwest or CMJ Music Marathon. "Things that are not possible are made possible," notes Ólöf Arnalds, an Icelandic singer/multi-instrumentalist who has benefited from government support. Over the past decade, Sweden has, perhaps not coincidentally, become a major player in global indie music. So, too, has Canada, which also enjoys government support for pop music.
Of course the US will never ever approach this level of support for the arts. And, in a way, we shouldn't--that whole American can-do yadda yadda, you know. Which is valid. But, seems to me there should be something between the Scandinavian models and our assaulting each other over providing the most basic of health care. We amaze me.