Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The N.Z Music Commission: Hand-up or Hand-out?

This week we learnt the recipients of The New Zealand Music Industry Commission 'international development grants'. The benefactors in their latest funding round were Ladyhawke, Electric Wire Hustle, Avalanche City, Tiny Ruins, The Earlybirds, Frequency Media Group, Parachute Arts Trust and Isaac Aesili. Ladyhawke got a cool 65K that one can only presume her own record company didn’t feel she was worthy of receiving? What the hell is going on here? Is New Zealand music that dire we need to get the Government to keep ‘Kiwis on the air’ of overseas TV’s and radios as well? Why do New Zealand taxpayers need to assist the marketing budgets multi-national record companies – which is essentially what these subsidies amount to? Ladyhawke is on the label Modular which is 50% owned by Universal Music one of the big four industry players. Universal has an annual turn-over of 6.0 billion U.S Dollars! What is so wrong with the free-market picking winners and losers in the global music market, rather than some grey-shoed, unkempt public servant from Wellington? Who is going to be accountable if these bands crash and burn? Will Public Servants soon start picking the New Zealand Top 40? They could automatically place N.Z Artists in the number one spot every week and we could all feel good about how well local music is doing. Wouldn’t it just be easy if we sent secretive teams of Kiwi public servants to the U.K and Europe to buy-up every N.Z record off the shelves and artificially drive that artist up the charts? Then again why bother traveling past Wellington. Why not spend grab a bundle of tax-payer sponsored credit cards and go on-line to iTunes and make say Tiny Ruins the number one selling group in say Germany? Subsidies are what started the economic rot in this country. We never seem to learn and think subsidies work. Show me one rock artist around the world that has succeeded thanks to state-support rather than share talent along with a record company that is willing to invest money into their careers, plus good management? 


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