1 U.S.A dollar banknotes

A controversy is emerging in the US over some artists’ successful applications for grants from a program called the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

Launched during the Covid-19 pandemic, it paid out $14.5bn to arts institutions of various kinds, from cinemas and concert venues to museums.

However, Insider has been digging and claims that artists including Post Malone (whose company got $10m), Chris Brown (also $10m), Lil Wayne ($8.9m) and The Smashing Pumpkins ($8.6m) from the scheme.

Its presentation of this information is somewhat leading: the introduction to the article focuses on Post Malone’ property purchases during the same period for example, and later quantifies payouts of “more than $200m for big-name artists alone”.

Lower down the piece, however, there is confirmation that artists were eligible for these grants, and also a reminder that “many artists typically contract with hundreds of sound and lighting technicians, costumers, drivers, security personnel, and other contractors when they put together a tour”.

The grants could thus have been used to pay those contractors, although there was no requirement to do so.

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