National case studies, export schemes and policies

Introduction: Models and mechanisms

In the last chapter we examined the development of Sounds Australia and histories of state and industry strategies, including the related challenges of coordinating multiple industry bodies, government and industry sectors, and the particular challenges facing Australian artists, labels and managers. In this chapter we explore other national export schemes, with a particular focus upon leading export nations including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, South Korea, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Drawing on interviews with key industry and export office managers, these case study nations are analysed for their differences in funding/ organisational structures, aims and the extent and types of industry-state relationships. As with Chapter 5, the relationships between singular export schemes and domestic music/cultural funding are also explored.

Funding histories reveal sustained state support for classical/art music in the main, with gradual support for folk and other musics of importance to nations or regions (Shuker, 2008). Since the 1980s, nations have been increasingly amenable to supporting local performances and recordings of popular music, often as exercises to boost national identities (see Wallis and Malm, 1984). Early (1970s and 1980s) models of national export assistance entailed selective arms of the state working to boost sales and visibility that were often linked to wider promotional activities of the nation. This comprised funding of selected artists for particular market promotion, and particular market raids or reconnaissance tours, often with artists, managers and recording companies working with and through embassies, foreign affairs or trade departments. Key global promotional events remained influential; for example, a deal was struck at MIDEM in 1971 for Dutch band Shocking Blue to tour Hungary, and to be part of an “artist exchange” with Britain (Ackerman, 1971, p. 70).

According to Laing (2003, p. 199), national music export agencies existed as long ago as 1962 (the Netherlands); other early adopters included Australia in 1988, and France and Sweden in 1993. The gradual emergence of (popular) music export offices was acknowledgement by the state that popular culture (especially the film and television industries) contained possibilities in assisting trade bottom lines. Provided with the right forms of support and promotion, cultural trade imbalances could be corrected: By 2006, “Korea had become one of only a handful of nations that consume more locally produced cultural content than foreign content” (Jang and Paik, 2012, p. 200).

In Australia, for example, industry export guides were published along with burgeoning lines of funding support, part of wider Austrade initiatives to significantly bolster economic returns, principally through increased sales/activity in Europe and the US (McLeay, 2006). For Finland, the promise of an internationalisation of local stars and profits raised new questions for musicians in dealing with industries and the state (Makela, 2008). While France and the United Kingdom have long engaged in export support, it is the smaller and mid-scale nations (ranked by consumption and production) that have been most concerned with export infrastructure. For African nations, real problems remain in transferring overseas success into discernible local industry growth (Laing, 2009), while Europe (primarily Germany, the United Kingdom and France) retains recording sales dominance (Moon et al., 2010). However, as discussed in earlier chapters, the extent to which some aspects of globalisation and digitalisation have changed “international trade in cultural products [which] is vertical between center and peripheral nations” (ibid., p. 381) becomes an interesting prospect. The shift to increasing seeking export revenue has also accelerated with debates about the scope and contexts of the "creative” industries. Organisations have also been formed to engender regional responses to export challenges. For example, the Nordic Music Export Program (NOMEX), a Nordic collaborative venture of the export offices of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, operated between 2008 and 2016 on internal and external services and promotions fox- export agency members.

In this chapter we take up some of the broader governmental issues and models proposed in Chapter 1, in examining specific national policy, regulation and governance (Freedman, 2008). This requires proceeding beyond the examination of various industrial “gatekeepers” (Caves, 2000), although they certainly exist within local, national and regional export contexts. We noted Littoz-Monnet’s (2007) policy models of “Liberal” (arm’s length, low state financial involvement), “Dirigiste” (strong intervention, public subsidies) and “Federal” (municipal/regional governance empowerment). In Australian contexts, Craik (2007, p. 81) offers a more expansive global template of cultural objectives and funding mechanisms that is very useful for exploring music expoxt arrangements:

  • • Facilitator (US): Diversity; tax expexxditures and incentives;
  • • Patron (UK, Australia): Excellence, international standards; arm’s length, peer evaluation;
  • • Architect (France): Social welfare, industry assistance; Ministry of Culture;
  • • Engineer (former Soviet countries): Political education, natioxial culture; government ownership of artistic production;
  • • Elite Nurturer (Australia): Selective elite developxnent; direct goverxmxent funding.

Rather than engage directly with producers, the “Facilitator” model is “hands-off” in creating a range of indirect measures, particularly in ensuring that different cultural producers can survive commercially (ibid., pp. 1-2). This is often done through tax relief or appeals to philanthropic support. A central aim is diversity of funding sources beyond the state, although measuring benefits is more difficult (ibid., p. 81). The “Patron” model, typically adopted by the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, provides direct funding in the name of “cultural excellence” and ensuring national production is in accord with “international standards” (ibid.). It is traditional, too, in primarily ensuring that “elite” arts (classical music, opera, ballet) and heritage forms have a (subsidised) role in the marketplace. In relation, the “Architect” model is “a more interventionist approach in which the rhetoric and aims of arts and cultural policy might be broadly aligned with social welfare and national culture objectives” (ibid., p. 1). In contrast, nations which assumed ownership of cultural production (the “Engineer” model) have done so in order to achieve specific national priorities that may overlap with other political objectives and spheres of government. This model is aligned with Eastern bloc countries, where there is little difference between producer and state objectives (ibid.). The "Elite Nurturer” model is one where “governments select a small number of elite cultural organisations to receive a one-line budget and/or other generous subsidies” (ibid., p. 2). While this has applied to traditional Patron funding (ringfencing support for loss-making producers and insulating them from commercial considerations), this model has interesting prospects for music export contacts when considering how nations are re-shaping alliances with industries and assessing how to reward good track records of success.

Changes in national contexts and global shifts in economic conditions have resulted in a more complicated landscape of objectives and mechanisms. Fox- example, more recent govermnent interventions in Australia have seen some components of federal (and individual State) arts budgets move away from arm’s- length processes to “Elite Nurturer” status through Ministerial fiat (Mendelssohn, 2015; Homan, 2016). Further, all western nations (with the exception of the US) have arguably moved to a Ministry of Culture model with components of industry assistance (“Architect” model). While “mix and match” approaches have become more common, nations that have engaged with “Elite Nurturer” and “Engineer” models have shown greater interest in (and funding for) arts/cultural policies (Craik, 2007, p. 35) and to different ends.

Music export activities provide an excellent means by which to examine how such models now operate, and perhaps, how they reflect much broader shifts in uses of public expenditure. In this chapter, we propose modifications of Craik’s model to usefully determine differences in current export policies of the seven case study nations we examined; as we explore below, overlaps do exist between models and activities, primarily in the ways in which all of our case nations now deploy some forms of industiy assistance. We could also extend the “Engineer” concept to include other strands of “national culture”, for example, in the strong ways in which music exports come to be at least partly based on the global branding of music/cultural heritage in the United Kingdom and France. As another example, Scandinavian countries conceive of “international standards” as a useful metric by which to infuse export goals with national identity, and are increasingly willing to directly fund individual successes.

Irrespective of ideological bent and historical patterns of governance, contemporary governments are continually assessing the types and extent of state support for music exports. The following examination of the different forms this takes is not primarily done to assess efficacy, but to examine different forms of relationships between musicians, managers, arts administrators, Ministers and industry sectors.

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