Creative Scotland funding for music

In the last figures given by Creative Scotland in their press release they said that £12.8M had been allocated to music and this represented 18.3% of their total allocation. I asked them how this broke down by genre and they said they couldn’t say but they did very quickly provide me with all the grants involved so the “rock & pop” figure could be extrapolated.

The first thing that is obvious is that a huge amount of money is tied up in Youth Music Initiative funding. Of the 230 grants made 101 were covered by the YMI including most of the largest amounts. This funding was never available to musicians so should really be removed from the figures in my opinion. My understanding is this money is allocated under direction rather than at the discretion of Creative Scotland.

When it was suggested I should look at these figures by an arts funding veteran I said I didn’t really have time. A week later another old hand to all this said it wouldn’t take ten minutes to see the inequalities that were present and he was certainly right. Much more of all that another time as I want to look into things further and give Creative Scotland a chance to respond. Suffice to say “rock and pop” artists receive considerably less than 1% of the funds allocated to music and in fact even if money given to Wide Days and funding the Great Escape is included it doesn’t reach 1%.

Here then for those asking are the “rock and pop” awards that were given.

Firstly Wide Days received £40,000 and Great Escape funding stretched to £9,150 plus Wide Days received £8,018 for the networking reception they orgaqnised. There was also £2,500 to Nothing Fver Happens Here at Sumerhall.


Be Charlotte £15,000   (South East Asia Territory launch)

Martha Ffion £10,560  (Debut album)

Modern Studies + Lomond Campbell  £10,000  (showcase performances)

Best Girl Athlete  £9,080   (Second album recording, production and promotion)

Mt. Doubt  £7,400   (2 EPs in 2017)

Bdy_Prts  £7,000   (Fly, Invisible Hero)

Youth of America (Simon Shaw)  £6,412    (Album recording, promo video and launch event)

Garden of Elks  £5,500   (Production of second record)

Pinact (Corrie Gillies)  £4,500   (Second album recording)

Honeyblood (Christina Tweedale)  £4,500   (US autumn tour 2016)

Roddy Woomble  £3,000   (Working title – miserable miracles)

Inkfields (Samuel James-Griffiths)  £1,700   (Third EP)

To put this in context the total here is easily less than half say of the £225K regular funding awarded to Enterprise Music Scotland  who “provide financial support to promoters and other constituted bodies promoting chamber music in their local area” among other chamber music related things.

The largest funding figure outwith YMI is for the Scottish Ensemble who received £333,333 as part of regular funding. their wikipedia page states

Scottish Ensemble is the UK’s only professional string orchestra. Founded in 1969 and based in Glasgow, Scottish Ensemble is built around a core of 12 string players who perform together under Artistic Director and violinist Jonathan Morton, standing up and without a conductor.

Now several of those rock and pop awards seem inadvisable to me and given Creative Scotland’s criteria I’m not even sure how they could be awarded but that really is nothing in the big picture of how funding is allocated. All of this is before we even get onto the milions being poured into theatres and the millions going to art galleries whose total visitor numbers for the year are less than one decent Scottish premier league football match. 

And there probably lies the nub of the problem. Yes football is not art but folk enjoy it and it very much has a value to the wellbeing of people. Rock and pop music as it has to be called has a huge value to people and at its best deserves to be compared to all the other art forms but a small and very influential minority dismiss it as not even worthy of consideration.

In a world where high rise blocks of flats are clad with inflammable material this may not be the biggest of scandals but given the enormous changes that have taken place in both people’s attitudes and access to information and entertainment via the internet since the lottery funding that lies at the heart of all this first started the current situation in which funding is made based on what a very small minority consider fitting can not carry on.  

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