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Celebrating Kiwi music success

Celebrating Kiwi music success

Comments at a function to mark the production of NZ on Air’s 1000th music video. St. Matthews in the City, Auckland.


It's a very great pleasure to be here tonight to join in NZ On Air's celebrations to mark 1000 music videos.

It's also good to be here because this year has provided a number of achievements to celebrate.

We're now seeing New Zealand music taking off in ways that were impossible to imagine a decade ago.

Tonight we mark 12 years of NZ On Air funding for music videos. Earlier this year we looked back on 50 years of New Zealand rock and roll with the excellent TVNZ series, Give It A Whirl.

Yesterday Scribe double-headed at the top of both the albums and singles charts. This is the first time a New Zealand artist has achieved a simultaneous Number One single and album

The success of Kiwi musicians

New Zealand records currently make up just over a quarter of the top 50 albums and singles charts.

What excites me about these milestones is that they show New Zealand music has reached a point where there's no going back.

We can be confident that who we are as New Zealanders finds legitimate expression not only in serious writing, film and art but also through our own popular music.

We can be secure in our belief that New Zealand music stands on its own merits. As the charts show, local creative talent is successfully pitting itself against global players.

More New Zealanders are hearing more New Zealand music on air. This year the proportion of commercial radio air-time devoted to New Zealand music has reached new heights.

The September quarter results under the voluntary code show a very gratifying 18.8 percent, the best figure since records began. The year-to-date averages out just ahead of 17 percent. Significantly, the September result surpasses the previous quarter which included the publicity booster provided by New Zealand Music Month. What's more, in three of the five formats – adult/contemporary, pop and rock – local music made up over 20 percent of the playlists.

This tells me is that radio stations are playing local music not because they have to, not just because they have pledged to meet targets, but because they want to.

Without their enthusiasm those targets might be met, but certainly not consistently surpassed.

At the recent Wellington Music Industry Awards, the de-facto patron of Wellington music, Colin Morris commented, somewhat contritely, that he had opposed the voluntary code.

At the time he believed broadcasters would cynically fill their quotas with rotations of classic hits from the likes of Split Enz and Dave Dobbyn.

Colin Morris concedes he was very wrong.

In fact nothing could be further from the truth.

I sense there is new confidence among music industry groups that New Zealand is capable of feeding and sustaining the growing appetite for hit songs produced and performed on these shores.

I realise, of course, outstanding progress like this cannot be achieved without all the key players pulling together.

Partnerships are the key

I would like to acknowledge the talented artists who make the music, the record companies – both majors and indies – who harness and market that talent, and the radio stations, video-makers and music television broadcasters who bring it to audiences at home and overseas.

That brings me to the role played by NZ On Air.

I know that additional government funding provided as part of the May 2000 boost to the cultural sector has been put to good use by the organisation.

The Phase Four strategy to get songs off the hit discs and onto commercial radio playlists has been a big part of the overall success story.

Funding the production of music videos has led to exposure on television and, flowing on from that, increased radio playtime and sales.

People who make music videos are passionate about what they do and devote a great deal of expertise and creativity to the process.

These works of art are a far cry from the seventies when bands were required to do nothing more than play their music in front of the camera.

Today it's a necessity, not a luxury, for bands to have compelling videos to promote themselves here and overseas.

The newly launched C4 and stalwart, Juice TV, provide the space to be seen and heard.

The music industry, like the screen industry, has enormous strengths, immense talents and strong loyalties.

1000 music videos

But I think everyone here will acknowledge that reaching this special milestone – 1000 music videos – must in part be attributed to the unwavering enthusiasm and goodwill of Brendan Smyth and his team.

Brendan is a legend.

He is closely identified with the music industry not only because of his very cool Dawn Raid t-shirts! He is also good at picking winners.

Brendan's experience and New Zealand On Air's continued support will help ensure the industry moves confidently into its next growth phase.

Congratulations to NZ On Air on funding 1000 – and more – New Zealand music videos.

Congratulations to all of you who create, play, record, support and listen to our own music. We would be a much poorer nation without it.

Long may your success continue!

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