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Investment in local music paying off

Media Release

17 January 2014

Investment in local music paying off

Latest results from the two year old NZ On Air Making Tracks music funding scheme show that local music is finding bigger audiences across a diverse range of media.

A review of what happened to completed songs and videos funded in the 2012-2013 financial year shows widespread audience use. As at 31 August 2013, Making Tracks songs and videos were played on radio, on music television and online 8.8 million times, with streaming accounting for 8.7 million of that figure.

Based on initial trends NZ On Air expects those songs to be played at least as many times again in the coming year.

Across the two years of the Making Tracks scheme 330 different artists or groups received funding support. Of those 167 or 51% were new artists, meaning “first time funded”.

Two of the most-played Making Tracks songs of the 2012-13 year are from Portland-based New Zealander Ruban Nielson and his alt-pop band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, which has a growing following in the US as well as in New Zealand.

They take 1st and 3rd in the rankings of the total number of times their songs Swim & Sleep (Like A Shark)and From The Sun have been played on radio, on music television and streamed on YouTube, Vimeo and Spotify.

However when cumulative audiences for radio stations and music television channels are added in, the song that was heard by the most people in that period was Stan Walker’s Take It Easy, followed by Aaradhna’s Lorena Bobbitt.

“If we view the funding of these tracks like an investment, we’ve had a greater return on investment in the past year, as the average number of plays and views per song has increased,” said NZ On Air Music Manager Brendan Smyth.

“Changes to music funding introduced by the Making Tracks scheme are clearly improving outcomes. We are finding and funding a greater diversity of good songs. Audiences, particularly online, are growing. NZ On Air is taking a proactive approach to ensuring the songs we fund are available wherever audiences are,” said Mr Smyth.

In the coming year NZ On Air will be doing more work on increasing New Zealand music consumption via online streaming platforms and promotion to ensure audiences are better able to find and hear the music of their taste. In the meantime, artists can find some useful tips on how to promote their music on the website at

The Making Tracks Two-Year Outcomes Review report is available here.


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