Monday, March 16, 2009

Government to musicians: No deal

The New Deal for Musicians, Labour's 1999 attempt to try and replicate 'signing on while getting a band together', is being axed. Not, as the Independent makes it sound at first, because it's been targeted specifically, but because the whole of the New Deal is being replaced with something called Flexible New Deal, which is probably going to be a less-well-funded version of the original.

And has the scheme been a success?

Since its launch in 1999 with the backing of Sir Paul McCartney, it has helped more than 4,000 unemployed youngsters get a foothold in the music industry as aspiring bands, instrumentalists, singers and songwriters. Those helped include James Morrison, nominated for Best Male Artist at last month's Brit Awards, the indie rock band the Zutons, the Welsh singer Jem, Toploader and the jazz saxophonist-rapper Soweto Kinch.

Bloody hell. And we're going to let it go on doing damage until October?

The government insists that it doesn't mean the end of support for musicians:
A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "If someone has a specific talent in music, their help and support would be geared to music. They will still get all the help they require."

Trouble is, of course, under NDfM, (certainly at first), would-be musicians would be given a mentor who understood the music industry and was able to help them. It's not clear if under the Flexible New Deal a general advisor will be expected to provide support for guitarists and songwriters regardless of if they understand their needs or not.