NZ Music Month turns ten

Tēnā tātou te iwi. Many of you are no doubt aware that May is New Zealand Music Month. Begun in 2001 the month showcases New Zealand music on radio and television and in live performances. Aiming to boost the visibility and success of New Zealand music it was developed to support the New Zealand music industry so that New Zealand talent could make a living from music and New Zealanders could hear more music from their own country. There were concerns that commercial radio was saturated with overseas sounds and New Zealand performers needed support to have their material heard. In 1995 airplay for New Zealand songs on commercial radio registered at 1.6%. A campaign was begun for the introduction of a quota system that would force commercial radio stations to play more New Zealand music. By 2000 airtime for New Zealand music on commercial radio stations had increased to around 10% of programming, and by 2005 this figure had increased to nearly 23%. Some argued that these figures highlighted the success of New Zealand Music Month. Others argued that New Zealand music and artists had to stand or fall by their own merits and that a quota system was the wrong way to go – New Zealand music would sell if it was good enough. There are some who now believe that a decade on there is no longer a need for music month and that Kiwi music and musicians are now in a much healthier space.

The place of home-grown music in our society is another way of exploring what it is to be a New Zealander. What are the values and attitudes reflected in the type of music we make and listen to? These are important parts of a number of topics and themes taught in social studies and history that explore ideas associated with national identity. Activities relating to Music Month can be found in the Classroom while each day during May NZHistory will feature a new story from our somewhat random selection of 31 reasons to love NZ music.

Tēnā koutou katoa.

Steve

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