Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: I'm marking Youth Week by being down with the kids

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  • Robyn Gallagher,

    isn't it amazing how many young men on NZD feature pics of their cars in profiles

    The rule of thumb is to avoid anyone on NZD, male or female, who lists "Holdens" as a hobby. Consider that such people will probably have Holden bedsheets.

    And avoid women who have "angel" or a variant as their user name.

    And also avoid anyone who mentions "long walks on the beach" and "snuggling up in front of the fire with a good red wine", as those are cliches and show that they are operating on autopilot and haven't actually thought about what they really want.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewD,

    It's late for me and I don't know why I'm posting as I'm on a losing ticket but I have to defend radio. As a broadcaster I'm always amused by the dissing radio gets for being part of the popularity index which is the charts and the perception that radio only plays shit.

    Radio has consistently been the most comprehensively researched music monitor in this country. You have to be or you're dead in the water as a business. No-one goes out there to provide stuff people don't want.

    The fact has always been that the active purchasing music public is a minority. For one, it's always been expensive to buy music. Come on...LPs for 12.99 20 years ago. Put that in todays money.

    So the people buying have always been the exception. That has impacted on our perception of what popular is.

    For example. The Violent Femmes, Blister in the Sun, you'd think, should be Classic Hit. But decades of testing have never seen the song register. Massive Attack have had massive sales but ask 10 people in the street to name a song. I'm loving Bloc Party right now but when I mention it I mostly get a blank and ,by the way, what radio is playing it.

    This is the thing. All the interested groups have an issue with radio. Country and Western fans hate radio. Sorry most people have no truck with it. Old punks wonder why Classic Hits doesn't play the Sex Pistols. etc. It's not that we don't want to play the "good stuff" it's just in asking hundreds and thousands of people most just aren't into it. They're into what you hear on the radio. Get over it.

    An earlier post questions whether Jim Mora should have had Barbra Streisand's Guilty album as a classic album. That person is under a rock. Guilty and Woman in Love are some of the most popular songs in New Zealand. They are genius. I hate them but I acknowledge thier appeal. Don't throw things at the monitor. It's true. Radio has asked NZ. Again and again and again.

    The point is the difference between the active music lover and the rest. There are an awful lot of people in this country who have less than 50 records in their collection. It may not appeal to your taste but radio is an accurate arbiter of the taste of New Zealanders.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    It may not appeal to your taste but radio is an accurate arbiter of the taste of New Zealanders.

    I don't think that means what you think it means.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Actually, that may not be quite right. I withdraw. Nevertheless, I think radio forms tastes more than it reflects tastes.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    C'mon, AndrewD, surely commercial radio is simply a medium through which an audience is served up for advertisers. so what comes between the ads--be it the blatheting jocks, ranting talkback callers, opinionated commentators or "music"--is just a carefully calibrated filler device to draw and keep an audience that will be receptive to the advertising you have sold. No? So the prime consideration is not the popularity of the music but its utility in getting large numbers of people in the mood to be bombarded by mind-rotting ads. Well, that's my impression anyway.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Surely commercial radio stations are a business, and their business is to get as many people listening to them as possible - what that means, correct me if I'm wrong, is that they have a demographic that they are aimed at, and then they play the music that they think, based on research groups etc, their demographic will like. There really is huge amounts of research that goes on into finding out peoples' tastes, so then, wouldn't that mean, in fact, that each radio station DOES in fact reflect the tastes of the demographic they want to attract? It's slightly more complicated than that as well, I think. I know that I and my friends, all over 40, also listen to radio stations based on the announcers/DJs/ call them what you will. And I would argue that people listen to certain radio stations for a combination of the music, and the DJs. I used to listen to Classic Hits because I only get to listen to the radio in the mornings on the way to work (for about 20 minutes), and I really like the combination of Andrew, Jackie and Justin. However, the music started to turn me off, as I went into a 70's nostalgia thing, and so now I listen to Solid Gold. I love the music AND I like Kevin Black and AJ Whetton in the mornings. A very complicated equation when you combine one person's "radio needs" and however many other people listen to the radiogram, and radio stations do their best to retain their demographic using such equations, I have no doubt. I have great admiration for people like Andrew who started at BFM in the days when it was Radio B, and has made a career in radio, so I would guess that he would have as good an idea of what NZers listen to, as anybody.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    ...so then, wouldn't that mean, in fact, that each radio station DOES in fact reflect the tastes of the demographic they want to attract?

    That's true, but the tastes they reflect were formed primarily by available radio options in the first place, is what I'm saying.

    It goes both ways, sure, but (all else being equal) what gets put on high rotate today is more likely to be to people's tastes a year from now, than what today gets no radio presence at all.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewD,

    First. All radio is commercial. It has to attract enough audience to satisfy it's backers. That includes RNZ whose backers, the government, who have recently increased the amount of research conducted yearly to determine that their investment is reaching sufficient ears. Probably why Jim Mora is playing Barbra.

    I suggest that the blogger who says the music is just to get listeners in the mood to be mind rotted by ads underestimates the audience. The prime consideration is the music because if you play unpopular stuff no-one listens.

    To Jackie, I say, I respect your decision. The interesting thing is how little of the 70's music has been adopted by younger audiences. It is curious how much music from that era has become unfamiliar to people from the age of 35 downwards. Radio research is showing how little music is making it past 5 years of age. The 90's are particularly indistinguishable. If Clasic Hits wants to be 25-44 is is dealing with people not born in the 70s.

    But everyone has been right to a degree. It is chicken and egg when it comes to whether a song is a hit or not. An unbelievable amount of music is made in the world and 99 per cent of it is never broadcast by commercial or non commercial stations.

    Radio has some ability to form tastes. However being privy to research I do know that a lot of the increased kiwi music play on radio has not resulted in those songs becoming more popular. Indeed radio is playing quite a few NZ songs that are not actually hits. But the musicians receiving the APRA cheques are happy and we'd all agree that NZ Music just gets better and better.

    I once said in a TV interview that if I knew what made a hit, Ii wouldn't be sitting here talking to Dick Driver. There are many factors, but what you can be assured of is that no matter what demograph or psychograph you are, the music being played on a radio station that appeals to you is, in fact, popular. We know this because weekly we research everything. Most songs we research don't make it. But if it has the X Factor radio will find it.

    I'll go right back to Russell's first post. The charts now include downloads. What has changed for everyone in the music sector, from the artists through to the end of the chain, the radio, is the way the internet has given music the chance to be sampled. Maybe this will break more songs. This is good. But the web is not a new thing and so far the 2 songs to really break out digitally are Gnarls Barkley and Arctic Monkeys.

    But no matter how the song breaks, at the end of it all radio and music TV can give you a very accurate picture of how big it is and so deserve to be part of the weighting of the charts that measure how popular a song is.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I'll go right back to Russell's first post. The charts now include downloads.

    ....include a very few of the downloads if we are being realistic

    In real terms though in 2007 radio is less and less important to record sales and downloads. And TV is almost marginal. Last week in the US the number one airplay song couldn't even make the US top 50 selling singles, and in NZ radio has less and less effect on what is purchased and downloaded. Having a massive radio record no longer translates to sales. Then again NZ is notable for having had a ton of successful records over the years that have broken through without notable airplay on mainstream stations...the screamingly obvious one being Bob Marley who had single hit after single hit with virtually no airplay...it used to drive Festival nuts at the time, that radio would not touch him as he didn't research, but he was on the way to becoming a national icon.

    Andrew I actually disagree with the statement that Gnarls and AMs are the only through to have broken through off the web. They are in old fashioned terms, but every act relies upon web buzz now to get any traction, radio only being one small part of the picture. And there are countless acts in an increasingly nichified market (niches within niches, which is the reality in 2007) that are doing very well globally courtesy of the net and live performance, without the need to break into traditional forms of marketing, including acts tht have sold hundreds of thousands of CDs worldwide.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    the tastes they reflect were formed primarily by available radio options in the first place, is what I'm saying.

    I am constantly bemused at hearing 'classic' tracks on commercial radio stations that were never actually played* on commercial stations when originally released. The tracks are either off classic albums or were played only on student radio.

    *baring perhaps a once-monthly play after 10pm to satisfy the record company.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    BREAKING NEWS

    Dawn Raid have come to an arrangement with creditors (ie the IRD) and are back in business ...!

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    __<clarification> __actually it may be the IRD that misses out. Andy and Danny have bought the name and assets from the reciever and will resume activities. Mr Grigg can probably inform us better if that is how one sidesteps the IRD claims (not possible, surely?)

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It depends on the setup. Not sure if the name would have much value now, and I would have thought the IRD would have first dibs on the assets, unless they've simply handed it to the receiver and said get what you can for them. The assets of DR would, I think, be in the masters (very low value) and the contracts, assuming their were no liquidation clauses in the contracts, which there probably were (I think Mr Hocquard drew them up, in which case they'll be good). If these clauses do in fact exist then the artists likely are free to walk.

    So they could then re-sign the same acts to a new company..but I reckon you'd have to be nuts to consider it.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hi Andrew - thanks for contributing.

    I might add that not only does what researches for radio not have much to do with what music fans buy, it doesn't have much to do with the music that kids make when they form bands.

    I went to the bFM showcase on Friday night and heard three young bands I thought were pretty damn good (the Coshercot Honeys, the Bonnie Scarlets and Fighting the Shakes - missed Collapsing Cities who were also good, I hear), and it actually occurred to me that they certainly weren't playing what they were hearing on commercial radio (although Dad's record collection might have been an influence in all three cases), even rock formats. That's not new of course, but it does draw us back to Simon's point about the disconnect between radio and what actually happens in the ground.

    That's not really commercial radio's fault - it's there to provide a comfortable experience for listeners who would stop listening if they didn't like it. But it does have implications for the NZ On Air funding model.

    Still, that fact that they filled the King's Arms two nights running bodes well for the b. I think bFM is always healthier when it has a healthy live music scene to engage with. And, like I said, some of those bands are pretty good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    Fighting the Shakes are one of my fav wellington bands at the moment.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    You're probably right Simon, but I guess the Dawn Raid guys probably wanted 'their name' back as a matter of principle. I'm guessing too that most of their artists will re-sign since no-one else is likely to sign them.

    But it does have implications for the NZ On Air funding model.

    A bit like the war on drugs. You can't prove you're winning without busting a few pot heads. NZOA can't say they're succeeding without getting airplay.

    Off Topic: Wasn't "Pop's Ultimate Star" godawful? Especially when it ran just ahead of the final of "American Idol". The difference in singing ability was striking.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Fighting the Shakes

    great name.......

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Especially when it ran just ahead of the final of "American Idol". The difference in singing ability was striking.

    In the sense that Ebola and necrotising fascitis are strikingly different in that one eats your flesh, and the other turns your internal organs into goo. Both are excruciatingly painful, lethal in most cases, and to be avoided at all costs. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    Best post ever Craig!
    i can't stop laughing

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    ditto!
    and I must point out that I never watch these shows normally - but was trapped at a family event I could not escape!!
    (and watching the shows was still preferable to interacting with said family)

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewD,

    I might add that not only does what researches for radio not have much to do with what music fans buy, it doesn't have much to do with the music that kids make when they form bands.

    Totally agree, Russell. Horses for courses.

    While the Kings Arms was full there was also thousands of people at home hearing songs like "How to save a life" by The Fray on TV programmes like Greys Anatomy and thinking that's the best thing they've ever heard. This silent majority doesn't purchase much music or go to gigs but they do get a kick out of contributing to music research and influencing what goes on the radio.

    An interesting case study right now is SJDs Beautiful Haze. B won't play it as it's too commercial and it's been narrowly missing the commercial cut. That's the sort of song that NZ On Air is fighting for.

    I went to the bFM showcase on Friday night and heard three young bands I thought were pretty damn good and it actually occurred to me that they certainly weren't playing what they were hearing on commercial radio (although Dad's record collection might have been an influence in all three cases)

    Had a superb night at the New York Dolls and there were loads of teens there with Dad, (well there was only 300 there but the crowd felt like loads and that's all that counts). Most of the kids were looking a bit perplexed at Dad's enthusiasm. One guy, who looked like a music biz type, was giving a young lad a bit of grief about taking photos. I said, give him a break he's just getting into the band. Music biz looking guy got angry and said,"He's MY son and that's MY camera and he didn't ask to bring it."

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    An interesting case study right now is SJDs Beautiful Haze. B won't play it as it's too commercial and it's been narrowly missing the commercial cut. That's the sort of song that NZ On Air is fighting for.

    Que? bFM has played that song a lot. Stinky Jim would go postal if they didn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewD,

    An interesting case study right now is SJDs Beautiful Haze. B won't play it as it's too commercial and it's been narrowly missing the commercial cut. That's the sort of song that NZ On Air is fighting for.

    Que? bFM has played that song a lot. Stinky Jim would go postal if they didn't.

    Silly me. Fancing believing what a plugger told me. I thought we're all supposed to be working together to get NZ music played. Dissing B is bound to get a song on commercial radio. Not.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Silly me. Fancing believing what a plugger told me. I thought we're all supposed to be working together to get NZ music played. Dissing B is bound to get a song on commercial radio. Not.

    Heh.

    But yeah, I couldn't vouch for what rotate it was on, but I heard it what seemed like a lot when it was released.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    But Che, you're forgetting: Public Address is a hotbed of unemployed/unemployable leftists who wouldn't know a thing about creating jobs if it came along and bit them in the bum. With its large and non-metaphorical teeth. If I wanted to get a job from Real Productive People I'd obviously be hanging out on Kiwiblog...

    goodbye finn, hardly knew you. wish it could have been otherwise.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

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