Loads of musicians rely on funding from the PRS Foundation, who seem to have lots of different grants programmes for artists at varying stages in their careers, from small bands putting together their own tours, to established bands who are beginning to cross over into the mainstream (e.g. they funded Wild Beasts to play Eurosonic this year). Also Arts Council England fund some popular music- I know that Ex Easter Island Head have been touring this year thanks to a grant from them. But most public money for music goes towards classical music and opera, as far as I can see. And the difference in public funding between popular music and other art forms such as theatre and art is even larger.
So if this lack of funding was addressed, and popular music was accepted as a serious art form (or certainly having the capability to be serious- assuming that all popular music is inherently commercial is like assuming that all theatre is West End type stuff), how would that change music in the UK?
It has been noted (pretty sure the guy who does the singles column wrote about this) that UK music is becoming increasingly split between the mainstream and non-mainstream, which much less crossover than during the previous two decades. I suppose an increase in funding would assist this, allowing more artists to develop non-commercial music (especially non-commercial songwriting/narrative based music, which doesn't have much of a place in the UK where compositional and electronic music seems to dominate the musical fringe, and there isn't much of an equivalent to stuff such as Julia Holter). Also maybe we'd end up with more institutions which actively develop new artists/projects (in the way that many subsidised theatres currently work- although Cafe Oto already do this, it's still quite limited, and also obviously London based). I wonder if we'd also end up with less bands/solo artists, and more large scale collaborative projects.
I've got a feeling this thread will sink like a stone, but it's something that I've been thinking about a lot. Wondering if there's someone from a wider arts background who knows more about how such funding works? And also about the way popular music in funded in other countries- apparently Canada is very good at this?
P.s. I'm not talking about whether public funding for the arts is a good thing. I obviously think it is, but that's an entirely different debate. This is more about what would happen if popular music received a vastly increased amount of public money.