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Said without irony…

Anger at failure of £2bn fund to help bands, writes Mark Sweney in the Guardian. He is concerned that:

A £2bn government-backed scheme partly aimed at helping musicians and promoters launch new bands and other music ventures has approved just two music-sector loans in more than two years. One of the successful applicants received money only after making nine attempts.

Brian Message, co-manager of Radiohead and Kate Nash, tried repeatedly to obtain money under the enterprise finance guarantee (EFG) scheme to finance an album and tour for rock band the Rifles. After trying for two-and-a-half years, he was loaned a quarter of the cash he had originally sought.

The poor performance of the scheme – which was broadened in March 2009 to include “music composers and own-account artists” (those not already signed to a record label) – has led to deep frustration in the industry at a perceived lack of government support in an area where British acts lead the world.

In the comments, a character called “stewpot” performs an extended comic riff on the lines of

It was only because of generous government loans that “The Beatles” were able to get started. If not for such loans they would have ended up having to play gigs in German strip clubs and so-called “Cavern clubs” for pitiful amounts, an obvious non-starter.

An excellent joke, made even better by the fact that half the other commenters appear to have taken it seriously.

Good as stewpot’s joke was, Mark Sweney’s is even better. So far I am the only person who has seen that it is an obvious wind-up. In these days of austerity, two billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to be lent to wannabe rock stars? Come on.

9 comments to Said without irony…

  • The state needs to get our of funding the arts. Its a waste of money and doesn’t produce quality anyway. If that twit from Coldplay cares so much how about donating some of his millions instead of trying to spend taxpayers money.

  • john

    Presumably if all this money is allowed to subsidise established producers and record labels, then they won’t mind if I download whatever music I want for free.

    After all I’ve paid for it, havn’t I? Two billions quids worth…

  • Tedd

    It’s getting so hard to tell satire from policy! Is the Guardian article a spoof or not? I really can’t tell.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    You are in august company. The Guardian won’t be able to tell the difference either. However, if the policy was Labour-inspired, they will support it.

  • Sam Duncan

    Stewpot’s comments in that thread are hilarious but he seems to have fallen foul of the Guardian’s censor in the end. What a surprise. They don’t like it up ‘em.

  • I suppose I should be glad that only two loans have been approved, but whatever happened to the rest of the £2 billion?

  • wh00ps, my reading of it is that banks loan the money, and the government pay the banks when the bands fail to pay it back. So there is no £2bn waiting around for a worthy applicant.

  • Steven Groeneveld

    wh00ps, my reading of it is that banks loan the money, and the government pay the banks when the bands fail to pay it back. So there is no £2bn waiting around for a worthy applicant.

    Posted by Rob Fisher at July 4, 2011 01:50 PM

    Sounds eerily similar to the way Fannie Mae et al’s loans were guaranteed by the government. Well the music bubble has burst too.

  • Paul Marks

    “Loan money to….. do not fear, we stand behind you”.

    I would like to say that the new government has changed policy – but it has not.

    Every day we get more B.S. about how banks must loan money to “small business” (or business enterprises owned by people with blond hair? or names starting with the letter A? – it is no more rational).

    And it is quite logical – if one starts from the place the establishment start from.

    This is that banks are a form of social service for the good of “society” (defined as a collective enity – not as the voluntary interactions of individuals and groups).

    This means that banks get government support – not just the famous bailout, but the endless drip feed of money from the Bank of Enland (the Federal Reserve, and …..).

    But also that (by the same logic) who the banks lend money to is a matter for the government to influence.