Significant change ahead for music funding schemes

Thursday 23 December 2010, 8:56AM
By NZ On Air

NZ On Air has released a comprehensive review of its music funding schemes. The agency is now planning wide-ranging changes to the way the agency funds and promotes New Zealand music.

NZ On Air commissioned the review to determine the best way to respond to changes to the music industry and broadcasting environment.

Chief Executive Jane Wrightson said the review makes it clear that NZ On Air can afford to, and should, diversify its music funding approach.

“We welcome the findings. They give us the basis we need to make significant policy changes. The team is now working energetically on new funding criteria which will include embracing a wider range of music for varied broadcast and online audiences,” she said.

“The review notes NZ On Air’s legislative requirement to achieve broadcast outcomes, and commends its achievements in increasing airplay of Kiwi music. When we were set up in 1989, only 2% of music on commercial radio stations was home grown. Kiwi music now fills up 20% of our radio airtime,” said Ms Wrightson. “We’re really proud of that.”

“The study also notes that radio is still people’s most common source for hearing New Zealand music, with 74% of people relying on radio for their daily music fix.”

“But we have known that the rapidly changing technological and music industry environment means that the funding programmes need to evolve. This review helps provide a road map for that,” she said.

The review’s three key recommendations are centred around promoting greater diversity and encouraging new artists to achieve airplay success, bolstering NZ On Air’s promotional activities, and promoting greater professionalism in the industry.

The review was conducted by former EMI music head Chris Caddick, who interviewed 100 music and broadcast professionals and assessed a further 655 responses to an online public survey.

NZ On Air spends $5.5 million a year on domestic music initiatives. “Our prime focus will remain on connecting songs with the widest possible audience. Kiwi audiences provide the funding, so they should benefit,” Ms Wrightson said.


Note for Editors:

The review can be accessed at

NZ On Air expects to have changes ready to implement by 1 July 2011. Changes will remain consistent with NZ On Air’s core philosophy of connecting songs with audiences. They will be funded from internal reallocation and are likely to include:

  • Alongside commercial radio activities, making greater use of alternative platforms such as student radio, online and digital platforms, to broaden funding opportunities for new New Zealand music
  • Weighting funding support more towards emerging artists (rather than established artists)
  • Using a wider range of music experts to help select funded projects
  • Placing support for music from more established artists on a more business-like footing: for example, cost-sharing and income participation
  • Providing a maximum of three grants per artist per year, all on a fully contestable basis
  • Focusing available funding on tracks (including music videos). Album funding will be abolished
  • Tightening eligibility criteria for funding. Demand for funding currently outstrips supply by up to 100: 1