Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Changing Times

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  • Simon Grigg,

    started supporting commercial radio to adopt local music which saw that increase from 2% in 1996 to around 20% on air by 2005.

    not to take anything away from what NZ on Air did in the years up to 2005, but they were still bashing their head against a much lower figure until the government threatened commercial radio with a legislated compulsory quota unless they introduced a voluntary one, which they fought tooth and nail.

    I remember well sitting at early IMNZ meetings, in its first year as we pondered figures sub-10%

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

  • Islander,

    Hey! I love Gray Bartlett! Not least because I heart guitar jazz-lite when I want to relaxp- yeah, no sp.mstke- seriously, Gray Bartlett is *very* good at what he does-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • LIISA,

    @ Simon Grigg
    For sure - I was especially trying to make it clear that NZoA are not responsible for the whole change, but that they did contribute to it. I too remember the campainging, petitions, promise of legislation etc (I worked in radio but did a show on Access to get some NZ music heard) pre voluntary quota - but also that the K-MAG (chaired I believe by Brendan + reps from Comm radio + others) seemed to be the round table which came up with a workable solution (starting in 96-97) - Result.
    I was also (for sake of brevity) meaning to encorporate other NZoA 'support' of comm radio - music pluggers, Hit Discs, Music week (again not just NZoA) in that sentence... otherwise its a thesis, innit?

    Wellie • Since May 2008 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I was especially trying to make it clear that NZoA are not responsible for the whole change, but that they did contribute to it.

    Much more than contribute I'd argue. Up until the voluntary quotas were introduced in 2002 (when pop radio jumped from about 4% to 13% overnight) they were a cornerstone of the radio game, and very importantly played a huge role in getting the records we all made out to provincial radio stations that geography dictated were largely ignored by labels pushing their NZ recordings. It was more important as a way of getting to the heartland than any number of tours or Rip It Up stories.

    Sadly, I think in the years since they've become increasingly subservient to the needs and demands of commercial radio programmers, who really, if I had my way, which I don't and am unlikely to get, should be kept out of any selection process altogether.

    I would rather see a bunch of 15-17 year old kids given the casting votes than any number of PDs who really only care what is going to sell the advertising space between songs, as they are paid to do. I understand that NZOA's brief has been to get records on the airwaves but the cultural imperatives are meant to play a part as well, and I doubt whether network programmers really take those into account when ticking the yes or no boxes.

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

  • Tim McKenzie,

    Maybe they could get Pharmac to branch out and negotiate for a nationwide site license for pro-tools ... or even better spend the money getting some local hackers to produce an open source replacement

    I don't know what's needed (or even if this is the best so far), but surely Audacity is at least a start.

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    a start (and I was using it not an hour ago) - the big problem is that you need something that does what pro-tools does and works like it (so not so techy people can switch between them easily) without getting sued by them for being to similar

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Lots of fairly inexpensive alternatives.to pro-tools. Garageband if you have a mac. Cubase LE comes with a lot of soundcards, and with a few free vsts and vst instruments is more than adequate.
    Plus there are versions of pro-tools with m-audio soundcards that are pretty cheap too. Lack of software won't be holding anyone back.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    good recording space ise an issue too - a national chain of recordingspaces a bit like the hackerspaces and makerspaces (and guys in sheds) that are springing up all around might be a useful thing for them to support - mikes and padded rooms - bring your instruments and computer)

    (the cops could use them for interview rooms between gigs ...)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Great idea - and easy enough to site with existing council-owned community facilities all over the country. Add soundproofed practice rooms, to keep neighbours everywhere happy.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    well you don't really want to be doing your recording anywhere near the communal practice rooms no matter how good the sound insulation is ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Still- great idea. Imagine if councils took music even one tenth as seriously as they take sport :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    spend the money getting some local hackers to produce an open source replacement

    Me! Me! Me!

    I've (with others) wanted to do an open source Ableton for a while, but the core engine requirement for that and Protools is similar. The problem (and why Audacity 1.3 has been stuck in beta for five years) is that it's a big job and there isn't the sponsorship around.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Fair point about putting the practice rooms elsewhere. Politicians need to understand that the jobs of the future are increasingly creative ones - not manufacturing or even science. So why wasn't this sort of investment part of Labour's extra $80m injection years ago?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • peter mclennan,

    Vicki Anderson of The Press on NZOA, worth a read...

    "Of the 56 acts to receive funding in New Zealand on Air's March round, only one (Salmonella Dub) was based in the South Island. That is simply ridiculous. Not meaning to sound "regionalist" or anything (NZ On Air are always accusing me of this) but, by laws of averages alone, there should be more than one. South Islanders pay taxes too. "

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/entertainment/christchurch-music/3641693/Sounds-like-us?

    AK Central • Since Nov 2006 • 159 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    Sadly, I think in the years since they've become increasingly subservient to the needs and demands of commercial radio programmers, who really, should be kept out of any selection process altogether.

    Of the 56 acts to receive funding in New Zealand on Air's March round, only one (Salmonella Dub) was based in the South Island. That is simply ridiculous. Not meaning to sound "regionalist" or anything (NZ On Air are always accusing me of this) but, by laws of averages alone, there should be more than one. South Islanders pay taxes too.

    Even some constructive feedback by the selectors as to why failed applicants efforts werent worthy while others were would be a decent thing to do.

    But nah, they know best whats good for us to hear and see. Their argument is so powerful it's not neccessary to talk about it.

    Doesnt fit the narrow brief or show commercial potential....pffffft as if those fucking arrogant pricks would know a decent tune even if it were humping their leg.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    sum nek lev shizz rite hurr...

    HOMEBREW 4 LiFe !!!

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Great idea - and easy enough to site with existing council-owned community facilities all over the country. Add soundproofed practice rooms, to keep neighbours everywhere happy.

    perhaps MAINZ could get funding to facilitate this
    win win for people learning
    and people needing practice
    and recording space
    (I note that that MAINZ seems to have taken over the Media Club space in Chch)

    also something that (in Chch) anyway CHART could be working towards doing more of - they do have pointers to the White Elephant trust's site and rehearsal room
    and the Creative Places Trust (though their website doesn't show from the link)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • DD,

    Replying to an earlier post:

    " if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and acts as the prime agency for funding music. It's a music funding agency duck.

    But. It. Isn't.

    It operates under the Broadcasting Act, and it was created as the Broadcasting Commission. Maybe that should change, but you wanting it to be something else doesn't make it so. "

    I don't know about you, but my copy of the Broadcasting Act says this about the Broadcasting Commission:

    36
    2 The Commission may also make funds available (on the terms and conditions that it thinks fit and, as far as practicable, in a manner consistent with its primary functions) for—

    (a) transmitting on demand; and
    (b) producing content for transmitting on demand; and
    (c) archiving content.

    The Act also says:
    43 In making funds available under section 36, the Commission shall, to the extent that, in the opinion of the Commission, it is practicable to do so,—

    (a) invite competitive proposals for the use of funds made available by the Commission; and
    (b) ensure by the terms of contracts that the recipients of the funds are obliged both to attain specified standards of performance and to account for the use of the funds; and
    (c) adopt measures to ensure that recipients of funds comply with the terms referred to in paragraph (b).

    Furthermore, it says:
    44 (1) The Minister may not give a direction to the Commission in relation to cultural matters.
    (2) No responsible Minister or any other Minister, and no person acting by or on behalf of or at the direction of a responsible Minister or any other Minister, may give a direction in respect of—
    (a) any programme or content

    Is there some amendment to the Act that makes it illegal not to blow millions on "radio friendly" pop music? Have I missed something?

    I may have missed something here but I thought the Broadcasting Commission is an Autonomous Crown Entity (ACE) and the Culture and Heritage Ministry stays out of funding decisions and how the Commission interprets its primary function. According to the Act, the Government leaves it to the Commission Board of Directors to make policy about how it spends the money and on what. Shouldn't the music industry be lobbying the Broadcasting Commission Board? Stop talking to/about Brendan Smyth. He is in a good position to approach the Board to make change, but he's obviously not up to it and may have his own agenda anyway.

    Maybe it's time for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to produce a discussion document that can help inform the Board on the future of music funding. This is overdue, considering the changes in technology, distribution and the music economy.

    By the way, the Broadcasting Act says one of the Broadcasting Commission's primary roles is "to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture... promoting programmes about New Zealand and New Zealand interests"

    When it comes to TV content the Commission seems to favour variety that reflects and develops NZ identity and culture, including funding of different genres and programmes that would not otherwise be made. When it comes to funding music content it is all about funding pop music, which in my view is a very narrow genre considering all the music that New Zealanders make. It doesn't have to be like this. There's a double standard here.

    Since May 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • JD Shackleton,

    A NZ version of 'Later... with Jools Holland' would be an interesting way to get our music on TV.

    Nelson • Since Apr 2010 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    When it comes to TV content the Commission seems to favour variety that reflects and develops NZ identity and culture, including funding of different genres and programmes that would not otherwise be made. When it comes to funding music content it is all about funding pop music, which in my view is a very narrow genre considering all the music that New Zealanders make. It doesn't have to be like this.

    Spot on.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan Greive,

    Totally agree with DD. We've wandered down a cul-de-sac lead by commercial radio, and now we're acting like just because there isn't a map there aren't any other roads. It's not the case.

    Sam's just posted the third conversation on the Real Groove site. It's with Mike Bradshaw, Crowded House's current manager. Pretty provocative opinions, that man:
    http://www.realgroove.co.nz/Blog.aspx?id=372

    Since Aug 2009 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    We've wandered down a cul-de-sac lead by commercial interests, and now we're acting like just because there isn't a map there aren't any other roads.

    Just one small change and it broadens the whole thing out.
    But I dont blame the money, it just lays there looking attractive, enticing.
    But too much looking at the bottom line seems to dull the senses, or is that narrow the outlook. I can never tell.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • DD,

    A NZ version of 'Later... with Jools Holland' would be an interesting way to get our music on TV.

    That would be great. On the subject of programming, what about a radio station (can be internet) based on BBC1 in England. They don't follow trends - they make them, and it's all publicly funded. What did John Peel used to say:"tomorrow's hits today" or something like that? Publicly-funded music radio that is not beholden to advertisers has the same liberating effect as publicly-funded news and current affairs.

    Since May 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    Stop talking to/about Brendan Smyth. He is in a good position to approach the Board to make change, but he's obviously not up to it...

    ...time for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to produce a discussion document that can help inform the Board on the future of music funding. This is overdue, considering the changes in technology, distribution and the music economy.

    Nice one DD. Couldn't agree more

    So how might I as a music industry oriented person outside the system lobby the broadcasting commission board for change ? What's the process ?

    I dont have much faith in IMNZ or the music commission to do it or act independently, not after almost 10 years in existence. It's also too stuffed with the ususal suspects hammering their own agendas.

    feeding from the same trough as it were.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    How about: set up a two-year trial with two panels- one a stripped back version of the current comercial radio/TV people. The other made up of expert opinions on NZ music (I'd nominate Liisa straight-up; plenty of other names spring to mind).
    Any project that both panels approved would get funding straight-up. The remainder would be split 50:50 and projects from each funded.
    (At the same time: drop the recording grant to $20k and a lot of $5k grants; and split up the video fund, allocating smaller sums ($500-2k) to people who want to make their own (non-broadcast spec for the internet) videos to buy basic gear.)
    Set it up as a competition, and monitor the results (the three catagories) on a range of pre-agreed criterion (sales, gig numbers, continued musical out-put, downloads, website video hits, critical success AND air-play) closely over the two years- and continuing, if it worked.
    I reckon there's a good chance a system like that would get better results from both groups.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

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