Navigating the New Zealand music industry

NZ On Air: local music on the rise

in Industry by

The revamp of NZ On Air’s music funding strategies are beginning to bear fruit, according to the agency’s annual report.

NZOA reports that in the 2017-18 financial year,the NZ Official Top 40 has featured “more NZ music more often this year” due to big radio and streaming hits from the likes of Drax Project, Robinson, Six60, Tomorrow People, Sons of Zion, and Katchafire.

“That’s meant a sustained increase in local music on radio, with local content rising from 12–13% in January to 17–18 percent in June 2018,” the organisation states. “This healthy trend is a very positive sign that New Zealanders are enjoying more NZ music.”

However, NZ On Air notes that just 6 percent of all music streamed in NZ is homegrown and acknowledges that it can be difficult to find local music amongst the millions of tracks on offer.

“We have increased our promotion of local music to the major streaming platforms and restructured our funding to ensure every music release is well promoted,” the funding body adds. “Playlisting has become more important as streaming services move further into mainstream usage and users seek recommendations on what to listen to.

“We monitor key playlists to see what New Zealand music is breaking through and getting support. We update the main streaming services every fortnight with key NZ music news and new releases and maintain a strong working relationship with these organisations.”

All told, NZ On Air backed more than 230 singles in the 2017-18 financial year, with Drax Project’s ‘Woke Up Late’ being the most successful release with 11 million Spotify stream and almost 6,500 radio plays. Other streaming and airplay hits included Sons Of Zion’s ‘Drift Away’ (5.5 million Spotify playss, 4,214 radio plays), Mitch James’s ‘All The Ways To Say Goodbye’ (5.5 million streams, 959 radio plays) and Teeks’ ‘If Only’ (2.5 million Spotify streams). Alien Weaponry, meanwhile, enjoyed success on YouTube with with Kai Tangata generating 1.3 million views.

During the financial year NZ On Air also funded 32 New Music Projects – the majority of which took the form of album or EP releases – from artists as diverse as Anika Moa, Theia, Rei, Mel Parsons, Pacific Heights and The Chills.

As well as chart success, NZOA projects featured prominently at NZ awards ceremonies. Fifty of 66 of the main NZ Music Awards category nominations were for NZ On Air-supported content, while all eight of the Taite Music Prize nominations were from records that had been backed by the agency.

Mitch James



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