NZ Radio Backing Local Music

New Zealand radio stations are showing growing support for domestic repertoire, with close to one record played out of five by local artists.

New Zealand radio stations are showing increasing support for domestic repertoire, with nearly one in five records played by local artists.

According to figures released this week by New Zealand's Radio Broadcasters Assn.,18.6% of the tracks played in 2004 were home-grown.

"This certainly is a big jump, considering that only 2% of local music was played in 1995," broadcasting minister Steve Maharey says.

Five tracks by domestic acts made in into the top 20 songs played on radio in 2004. Three were by Sony BMG-signed Brooke Fraser, and one each was by hip-hop act Scribe (Dirty Records/Festival Mushroom Records) and R&B duo Adeaze (Dawn Raid Entertainment). The most-played track was Alien Ant Farm's "Glow" (Universal).

Terence O'Neill-Joyce, managing director of the Recording Industry Assn. of New Zealand, says the figures show evidence that the 2002 agreement between the music and radio sectors over voluntary airplay codes is working.

The code was set up following threats by the New Zealand government to legislate airplay quotas for domestic acts unless the local industry regulated itself.

Under the code, radio would play 14% local music in 2003 and 16% in 2004. O'Neill-Joyce says a 20% target is set for the end of 2006. "We are more or less at that figure, in sales and airplay in three years," says O'Neill-Joyce.

Most radio formats exceeded the code last year, except urban stations, which managed 12.6%. Contemporary rock-formatted stations played 26.8%.

The Music Performance Committee was set up to monitor these efforts. It consists of RIANZ, RBA, Independent Music New Zealand, government broadcast funding body NZ On Air, the government-funded New Zealand Music Industry Commission and the Musicians Union.

David Innes, chairman of the MPC, warns that the growth of NZ music could be affected by the government's planned changes to the Copyright Act; the move is intended to allow consumers to make one copy of a recording for personal use.