Everyone wants to support local artists and local music. But it often seems like the music you hear on the radio is the opposite of that. We all have a sense of pride when an artist that grew up where we lived can create a live act has some sort of commercial success. The reality of the industry is that many of these artists are never heard and never get any real success.
What if each State or each country had a month dedicated to uplifting local artists? That sounds a bit odd? Well look no further that little old New Zealand! It has the population of most American States and is known for its pool of great new and upcoming international quality artists.
So why is New Zealand music so strong? It doesn’t take much to think of great musicians from New Zealand; Lorde, Kimbra and the Broods are just a small example of artists that are excelling on the international stage. The question has to be asked, how did these artists get so good? And why are there so many new kiwi artists coming through? It’s easy to dismiss it as lots of practice and heap of good luck and, while that might be the case, it has to be so much more than that. The key to it all has been support from the Government in conjunction with the music industry. New Zealand is a very small country in the middle of the Pacific and it’s strongly influenced by the rest of the world as far as music goes. For a while you could easily hear mainly overseas artist played on the radio and hardly any New Zealand music. So every May in New Zealand we celebrate New Zealand Music Month.
New Zealand Music Month started small in 1997 as New Zealand Music Week with Kiwi music being played on commercial radio at about 1.6% – VERY small. Since the small beginnings this has grown into New Zealand Music Month, the New Zealand government has set up the New Zealand Music Commission and New Zealand Music Month has grown.
So does it work have the music industry and the Government working so closely together? Well according to the commission the stats speak for themselves. The amount of music played on New Zealand commercial radio leapt from 10% in 2000 to nearly 23% in 2005. The amount of New Zealand music sold had also grown, from 5.45% of the total market in 2000 to over 10% by 2004.
In fact from these early starts New Zealand music has grown so big that people are actually questioning if a month like this is even needed anymore.
How it works is really simple. During May each year local acts and music are showcased on radio and television and in live performances. The intention of course is to boost the visibility and success of New Zealand artists; however I can’t help but wonder how this type of model would look like on an international stage. Imagine New York City Music Month broadcasting new music of all types from local areas – music that has never been heard coming out of Brooklyn and on the radio, new music from the Bronx played on television and the list goes on. Then you could take it to New York State Music Month where a larger proportion of New York owned music is played whenever and where ever it can be? Imagine how the local music scene will hustle and practice and work to getting heard during this month? Imagine that flowing from State to State. Could you imagine hearing Illinois Music Month or maybe Michigan Music Month?
The reality is simply this; music is about community and if we aren’t looking after the musicians on our own front lawn then they’ll die a slow death or move to a place that respects and accepts them. I want to live in a world where we are listening to all sorts of artists that are local just as much as we’re listening to the artists around the world. The internet has made the world a VERY small place so why don’t we live local and surf globally? Why don’t we promote local and talk about them and share them globally? We have no boundaries in 2015 so why don’t we push that boundary and see how far we can get our great local bands heard!
Explore. Discover. Music.
FDRMX Eyes: The New Tarot is one of our new favorite sister duos to come out of the Brooklyn Indie Rock scene. Check out their music video “Makeup”: