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Lyon, France

Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - Drawing

Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - Text

Pierre Desenfant was trying to explain last night why doesn’t like the French system of musician’s subsidies: because he feels it kills alternative music. “Maybe it’s alright for a band like Marvin, who play something more people can like, but for my kind of music it doesn’t work.”

To be “Professional,” musicians under the French system must ask for a certain amount of money to play a show. If the venue is putting on an official show with “Professional” musicians, then they can qualify for state cultural subsidies for the event (which they need, to be able to pay the elevated “Professional” level artist’s fees.)

So the French tax money goes to pay for those musicians who can play enough “official” shows (events which are taxed) in a year to qualify for their professional status. As Pierre described it, it is sort of financial loop that supports only main-stream kind of music and actually can make things more difficult to foster a supportive scene for alternative/fringe music.

In previous trips to France the musician’s subsidies had always seemed utopian to me, but now I start to see the other side. It also explains a bit why we don“t see very many really experimental bands from France.

wall plates in Lyon, France