Exporting Rock

International trade may conjure up thoughts of agricultural exports, consumer goods and machines, but music?

The federal government’s International Trade Administration recently stepped into the music promotion biz with a grant to the American Association of Independent Music.

Until last year, the agency had never received a music-industry application for one of its $300,000 grants, a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

But times are tough, and the AAIM decided to apply for one of the grants to help fund trade missions in Asia and South America.

“We need to find new revenue streams,” AAIM President Rich Bengloff told the paper. “We now need to adjust to a smaller monetization at home.”

The heads of more than a dozen independent labels reportedly visited Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong during a trip in the fall, signing foreign distribution and licensing deals and booking festival gigs.

Government-sponsored trade missions for music may be unusual for the States, but countries including Britain, Australia, Canada and France have been funding such campaigns for years.