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Biden adminstration to pay composers for their works

Washington 1 April 2021

In a surprising twist on the Biden administration's economic stimulus plan, a proposal is being floated to include funds for the purchase of musical compositions.

According to White House congressional liaison aide April Narr, the proposal is still under development, but it is conceived as involving substantial grants to American orchestras, ensembles, and single performers.  "The working idea," said Narr, "is to consult experts to draw up a list of the 10,000 best performance outlets in the country, and give them federal economic stimulus grants so they can pay their composers much more for their work. The target figure is $1,000 per composition."

Though some may question the effectiveness of trying to restart the American economy by paying money to composers, Narr maintained that "the whole idea of the economic stimulus plan is to get people to buy things, and why should buying musical compositions be any different from buying apples or toothpaste?"

Since composers are typically starving artists, Narr continued, they would be likely to spend their increased revenues on basic foodstuffs, such as bread, and usually being bohemian types they would also spend the money on wine and cheese, making this part of the stimulus "potentially of significant benefit to our nation's baking, wine-making, and dairy industries."

Narr admitted, though, that there was some concern that the proposed $1,000 per composition payments might result in a proliferation of very short compositions.

Asked if she herself is a music fan, Narr replied, "Yes, I am a great fan.  In school I learned how to play  Für Elise on the piano!”

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Interesting. It seems to hark back to earlier in the 20th Century when modern music flourished. I don't know how many of the trusts and societies remain but the era produced some lasting names, among them the "traditional modernists": "real" professionals at that: Piston, Diamond; Copland, Mennin, Persichetti, etc. and the avant gardists like Graettinger. It was probably less immediately about money (although that was always important) but more the "mood of the times".  

Does anyone remember the Louisville Subscription record label?

Let's hope it can be restored. 

Oddly enough a similar proposal was included in the Obama administrations economic stimulus plan in 2009.

Thanks for pointing that out.  Obviously the person who wrote the piece on the linked page stole the whole thing from me.  Maybe I'll send a couple friends of mine called Rico and BIg Eddy to have a little talk with that individual.

Ingo Lee said:

Oddly enough a similar proposal was included in the Obama administrations economic stimulus plan in 2009.

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