National models and perspectives

The case study nations considered in Chapters 5 and 6 (Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, South Korea) have, in the main, continued organisational strategies evident since the 1970s: Pouring mixtures of state and industry funds into an office that delivers a crucial role in facilitation, with the understanding that modes of collaboration between state and industry are effective in emphasising knowledge transfer and the sharing of practices. However, significant differences now exist in comparison to export schemes and programmes from the last century.

As discussed in Chapter 6, older “Architect” national models (assistance in the name of broader social welfare and cultural nationalism, driven by ministries of arts or culture) remain, often, tied to notions of "excellence” and international “standards” (the “Patron” model). Yet these are increasingly providing the foundation for more complex structures comprising “Elite Nurturer” characteristics, with targeted development funds (from both the state and industry) selecting and rewarding “elite” knowledge and track records. Canada has recently invested in wider arts development for international exposure and visibility through a series of Patron/Architect strategies through “Arts Abroad” funding. FACTOR and Canada Music Fund activities (part of wider Creative Expoxt Strategy funding) have also provided increased and direct support for recording companies, artists and managers with demonstrable momentum in international territories. Finland’s “Fast Track” funding programme is another example of scaling support to those deemed to possess the most potential.

All our case study nations possess a patchwork of regional, sectoral, industrial and government suppoxt that includes direct funding, embassy/consular assistance, workshop facilitation and a range of support roles. The United Kingdom’s structure is a good example of the ways in which different industrial (PRS, UK Music), national government (UKTI, British Council, Aits Council England) and regional government (Beyond Borders, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland and development fund initiatives) components can produce a national ensemble working inter- dependently for common causes. All our case study nations had achieved a maturity of collaboration, in some instances putting aside decades of in-fighting and suspicion regarding the allocation of funding and other resources. While exact inputs and economic outcomes might be at times hard to discern, it is striking that all of the nations examined claim to have achieved the base outcome desired by the state: A return on investment. In turn, all of our case study nations have maintained or (in most cases) increased their share of state funding. Cynics might question some of the metrics used which vary considerably with countries choosing different ways to define the music industxy and different ways to measure economic impact. This was certainly not inevitable, yet the shift in presentations to governments from “subsidy” to “investment” arguments has been deliberate and reflects an increasing emphasis on economic output and impact as opposed to cultural output and impact. Fox- example, in the United Kingdom, coordinators of the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) reflect international thinking in their assertion that MEGS is “not a cultural fund, we’re not an arts fiind, we are a business fund” (Tamms cited in Malt, 2017).

If questions about placements and flows of central funding structures in our case study nations have been largely settled, other roles of the state are not. All those interviewed with export scheme/office roles called on their governments to play larger Facilitator roles in removing regulatory obstacles (especially sorting the complexities of touring visa provisions) and engaging more forcefully in perennial debates (for example, consideration of tax relief and copyright structures). The collaboration witnessed at showcase and trade events—environments amenable to “friendly competition”—exists in wilful ignorance of longstanding issues that invoke national structures and defences. For example, how a song is tracked across regional industries, audiences and what might be loosely termed “accounting mechanisms” remains subject to many national differences and organisational perspectives.

Pathways to international success are also changing. The fabled instance of “instantaneous” success—an artist's song breaking a territory, followed by a hurried assortment of touring, promotional and showcase experiences to leverage the initial interest—can still occur (evident in the number of grants designed to provide “quick turnaround” funding). The increasing assemblage of state/indus- try actors, responsibilities and activities, however, also attests to the desire for strucmral reform that enables the assembly line to produce a greater ratio of hits. There is now more likelihood that an artist will interact with some aspects of their national export structure, and be more aware of industry expectations of being “export ready” in ways that now discount the “instant success”. Despite claims that creative outputs can be carefully manufactured (in the original sense of the word) and tailored to individual international markets (e.g. Lash and Zhao, 2016), pathways to “success” remain frastratingly opaque at times. Through its “Star Development Process”, South Korea’s model is one that promises direct benefits from a methodical approach. Yet even this direct alignment of careful planning, promotion and production designed for repeated international success has revealed uneven results in different periods, notwithstanding media appetites for an “export miracle” narrative. What is clear is that successful export nations exhibit strong domestic infrastructures: Solid local components are required not just for the experiential leap from national to international, but in ensuring that there is a continuum of training for artists, labels and managers where more concentrated periods of career development are required. More work is needed on the extent to which emphases on broader cultural participation provide direct industrial benefits.

Beyond the range of actors and gatekeepers noted in Chapter 4, in many respects the contemporary export office/scheme performs the role of a cultural intermediary at a broad national level. Increasing resources are allocated to providing knowledge and access to the primary figures and networks (and affiliated promotional, media and industry sectors) to “break through” across performance and media contexts. In this Bourdieusian sense, an export office brokers different fields across a range of industry sectors, exchanging and dispensing expertise across many layers. Most national structures reflect the realisation that the organisation of knowledge and practices at the interface of national and international can short-circuit pathways embarked upon by the lone manager or artist. Indeed, their roles in ensuring a national discourse of “expoxt readiness” (“have you talked to the expoi-t office?”) have proved to be influential. Such power, however, remains contingent upon the continuation of healthy trends of ROI and industrial growth, and exploitation of the series of interpersonal relationships and knowledge evident within global showcase circuits, both heavily threatened by COVID-19 effects upon the music industries.

178 Born global

 
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