Opinion: How relevant is NZ Music Month?

NZ singer Lorde in Seattle. Photo: Supplied
NZ singer Lorde in Seattle. Photo: Supplied

As New Zealand Music Month draws to a close, student journalist Stevee-Jayde Arkell asks whether the annual promotion is still relevant.

The answer: yes, it is.

When New Zealand Music Month first launched in 2001, radio was its sole target market. More specifically, it was to work beside commercial radio to find ways to broadcast homegrown talent on the airways more often. Back when the internet was merely a place to slowly load emails, streaming services like Spotify and Pandora simply did not exist. Common access to music was the radio – thus being the main platform for the promotion.

Simon Woods from the NZ Music Commission says, “We and our partners at NZ On Air talk to radio looking for ways they can be involved in NZ Music Month as well as we hope to play more local music – as but one example, Radio Hauraki started NZ Music Month with a 100 per cent NZ music day, a first for commercial radio.”

Using the radio was, and still is, a more accessible way to encourage people listening to commercial radio to become familiar with the music that is made in our own backyard.

However, with the advancements in technology, most specifically the prolific use of social media, it’s no surprise Music Month organisers have moved with the times to measure the success of the promotion. We are very much a digital generation so the recognition of Kiwi music and the use of social media together are always on the rise.

Woods says that the organisation is using social media as a way to measure how Kiwi artists perform during NZ Music Month.

In 2014, public mentions online gained over 648,000 Twitter Reach in May (via @nzmusicmonth). With Reach being the number of unique Twitter accounts that received tweets about the event during the month.

In a separate survey conducted by Perceptive Research, it showed an astounding 77 per cent of our country’s population knew what NZ Music Month was.

Woods says that as time goes on, NZ Music Month changes too. Kiwi artists report that they sell more tickets, and garner more online mentions through social media.

It’s also clear that one thing will remain the same for future years.

“We hope that (NZ Music Month) translates to good things for the musicians and businesses involved in music and for enjoyable experiences for the public… The fact is, it’s a positive growth and that is what we want to find,” adds Woods.

This year has already been one of the most talked about for the event, and I hope that as a lover of great Kiwi music myself, the month continues to successfully promote the talent we have in Aotearoa.

Stevee-Jayde Arkell
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