A publicly-funded initiative to take Kiwi music to the world is starting to make in-roads internationally, according to the New Zealand government agency behind the project.

NZ On Air (NZOA), which provides funding support for the television and film production sectors, radio and the music industry, yesterday released its annual report for the 2006/7 financial year in which its states that it achieved positive results across all aspects of its activities.

For the music business, funding is available for New Zealand record companies and musicians through six schemes, the most recent of which is the "Phase Five" program aimed at helping acts break overseas markets.

The campaign was launched in early 2006 and so far has incorporated samplers from "export ready" artists and 15 radio promotion campaigns, in which the costs were shared 50/50 with the NZ repertoire owners.

NZOA states in the report that it's still "early days" for the program but the initial results have been "promising with concrete airplay results on a number of fronts". The agency notes that in February, the "Phase Five Part 05" sampler - featuring the Feelers, the Tutts, the Datsuns, the Mint Chicks and Steriogram - even turned up at No. 8 on the FMQB Speciality Radio Airplay Albums Chart in the United States.

Other examples of NZOA's "Phase Five" initiatives over the past year include Sony Music's bid to launch Brooke Fraser in Australia, and campaigns to break the Mint Chicks and the Phoenix Foundation at college radio in the U.S. The most recent project has seen NZOA working with A&R Worldwide in Los Angeles to push a new single from Steriogram, and with the U.K. radio promotions company Scruffy Bird on a new single from Cut Off Your Hands.

On the home front, the agency once again invested in the recording of 20 new albums in 2006/7 from artists with proven commercial track records; NZOA provides NZ$50,000 ($37,000) for projects matched by at least same amount by local labels.

Meanwhile, under its "new recording artists" scheme, 20 radio singles were backed, to the tune of NZ$10,000 ($7,500) per project.

According to the annual report, 94% of singles released from NZOA-funded albums were radio hits, while songs from new artist enjoyed a 75% success rate.