How Countries Across the World Fund Music
Courtney Barnett is a wise-cracking, guitar-mangling embodiment of what taxpayer support can do for a musician.
In 2013, the Melbourne-based singer-songwriter was able to travel across the globe to play New York City for the first time thanks to support from the Australia Council for the Arts, a government agency.
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A year later, she was one of the first recipients of a new, state-sponsored grant that helped her record her debut album.
When it came time to promote the results, 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, government money also went toward financing her South by Southwest showcase and a European tour.
Along with gracing critics’ year-end lists and international charts, the record led to a Best New Artist nomination at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Behind the scenes of “Sorry Not Sorry”
Barnett counts herself lucky to have received these early fiscal shots in the arm. “Government grants gave me creative independence when I was starting out, because it meant I was worrying less about impressing for label and publishing advances, and I was less reliant on taking some big-company sponsorship to fund a tour,” she says.
As well as nurturing Barnett’s artistic growth, the benefits were also deeply practical. Without government grants, she wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of offers to play Coachella and American late-night TV shows.
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