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Friday, March 30, 2007

Campbell Smith is wrong, it’s not downloadable music that is killing NZ music, it died a couple of years ago!


I’ve been waiting for this news story for over two and a half years now, and suddenly that day has come! Campbell Smith has come out to say that NZ music is dying and top NZ artists have to get second jobs BECAUSE of digital music downloads.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

Yes NZ music has fallen over from the giddy heights of the early part of the decade – BUT THERE IS ANOTHER REASON WHY THIS HAS HAPPENED!!!!!!

I’m using big words because the last time I pointed out this exact fate, my friends in the music industry seemed to have their heads jammed firmly up their own arses and couldn’t hear me, so take a moment and listen this time, because there is a solution, and seeing as you are bleeding money right now, one could suspect that I can as much of a smarmy prick as I like, and you will desperately read whatever I have to write on the subject.

Good, now pay attention.

The reason NZ music has hit the doldrums has everything to do with Kiwi FM. Prior to Kiwi FM, Channel Z played 40% NZ music with its mix of mainstream alt punk. At its height Channel Z had 5% of the Auckland market (a huge rating), right up until of course Canwest decided to promote that awful ‘The Edge’ crap over and above Channel Z which started a decline. What Channel Z did was it brought NZ music to the attention of the other radio stations who being very cautious wouldn’t ever test out a song. What Channel Z did by playing 40% music was make it safer for stations to pick up NZ content into their playlists.

The decision for 40% NZ music was a mix of no one in management knowing and people within Channel Z who were passionate about NZ music and me (who just thought ideologically that we should play NZ music because it is our culture –but then again I was always the weirdo of the group.)

So out of this unplanned experiment, other radio stations had to start competing with our playlist, and by having Channel Z break music in for them, it reduced the risk for other radio stations.

I left Channel Z when Grant Hislop (the new station manager) decided to turn it into ‘Kiwi - 100% NZ music’ – I was aghast, at first we were told it wouldn’t be much change at all, but I tried to argue that a 100% NZ music playlist would not work and it would damage the uptake of other radio stations as they wouldn’t bother competing with the playlist and would simply leave NZ music to kiwi. This in effect would lead to a massive down turn in the market because less NZ music would get air time and the very serendipitous success of Channel Z would come to an end. By playing a mix of music, Channel Z had been a lynchpin between the commercial radio and student radio worlds, drawing in new artists while supporting existing ones and forcing other commercial stations to compete by adopting NZ music into their playlists. Kiwi FM – by being 100% NZ music has become a dumping zone that other stations don’t bother to compete with, the effect is less NZ music gets heard from the total number of stations. Less music play means less NZers listening to NZ music.

Oh and did I mention after the change that Kiwi’s ratings dropped like a stone? It currently has .7% in the last radio survey. Oh and did I mention that the Labour Party are propping up Kiwi FM, this actual station (all best intentions aside) is KILLING NZ music. The format of Kiwi has to be changed, like I first suggested, to a mix of music rather than 100% NZ, Kiwi HAS to become the Youth Radio Network with that mix of music and you industry barons MUST start pushing for that.

I’d suggest letting National know this, and let Labour freak out and force their hand.

Otherwise you will have Bic flipping burgers.

Stop blaming digital downloads and accept Kiwi is the problem, and force Labour to hand the contract for those frequencies over to someone who can make it work.

Downloads force music stars to seek second jobs
The manager of top singer-songwriter Bic Runga says eight of his "high-profile" and "major" New Zealand artists have been forced to take second jobs as illegal digital downloads kill the music industry. Campbell Smith, who is also the Recording Industry Association chief executive, told Parliament's commerce select committee yesterday that the decline in CD sales had led many musicians to abandon the industry as a full-time career. Performers listed on Mr Smith's CRS Management website include hip-hop artist Scribe, singer-songwriter Brooke Fraser and Carly Binding, a former member of the made-on-TV group TrueBliss.

19 Comments:

At 30/3/07 6:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So bro, why did Channel Z lose the battle of the brands against the edge? I have always wondered. Was it a ratings thing? Or did that 'fantatstic' egde breakfast show swing it for them.

 
At 30/3/07 9:34 pm, Anonymous Thomas said...

And as soon as Channel Z switched to Kiwi the number of listeners plummeted. I stopped listening to the radio altogether as there was no longer a station to cater to my tastes. Then there was the whole Bomber thing. Bomber mate I know your reasons now for doing this but I had friends CRY over you leaving. Channel Z was a weekly highlight to many. I would really like to see this back in some form in future as it really helped a lot of people. I'm sure you felt great leaving the studios off to the jazz bar those Sunday nights knowing you had made a difference!

 
At 31/3/07 1:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hack da planet.....

 
At 31/3/07 10:32 am, Blogger Sam said...

When the edge was released it took channel z's frequency (94.2), thus Z went off the air for a while, then it was broadcasting on an underpowered 93.8. Lots of people i know gave up on Z when it was broadcasting on that, because they couldn't get it. Luckily i could, in my room on sunday nights :P.

By the time it came back to a strength that could service the metropolitan areas, it was pretty much too late, it had bled a huge amount of the audience.

CanWest obviously weren't content to push advertising for it to make it back up, they were too busy with the edge.

I listen to Kiwi, in the car when i'm driving to work or to the train for uni. I tried other stations but they play too much shit music and the presenters are cunts. Most people thought the repeats on kiwi would be astronomical, but they're far less than i've heard anywhere else. The ratio of good-to-shit music is good too. The presenters are pretty damn good - Karen Hay and Andrew Fagan being the top imo.

But nevertheless, interesting perspective, but has the amount of new zealand music played gone down on the other channels? Because i know the percentage was the highest it's been ever at some stage recently.

Maybe it's time we looked at an enforced quota?

 
At 31/3/07 9:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh piss off Sam you stupid lefty. "control the people, control the people" you are the big brother arent you? enforcing a quota. make the subject population listen to what queen helen (socialist) decrees. your ideas are so unpopular you have to force people to do what you want them to. I hate totalitarians like you - you think you know best but you dont. get a real job. fucker.

 
At 2/4/07 12:54 pm, Anonymous Karyn Hay said...

Bomber,
That is the most idiotic argument I have ever heard you come out with. Tune into Kiwi FM 102.2 Ak; 102.1 Wgtn, 102.5 ChCh, Sky Channel 500 or kiwifm.co.nz this afternoon at 4.30 peeps and we'll talk about it on air.
Sincerely,
Karyn Hay
Kiwi FM

Hey Sam - thanks for your comments.

 
At 2/4/07 6:49 pm, Anonymous coolio said...

I’ve never listened to kiwi before, and I won’t now, my god they were childish and seemed more interested to make petty personal comments about you bomber rather than what you had to say. They embarrassed themselves.

 
At 2/4/07 6:59 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
Sigh - yeah, in their defence, Andrew and Karyn are great broadcasters - I just don't think they understand they have lost the influence over other commercial stations which Channel Z had, and as such - new NZ music isn't getting the airplay that it used to get, and this is the reason for the NZ music downturn as the rest of commercial radio pay lip service only to their NZ music content. That was the reason I left as I didn't believe the 100% NZ music mix could work (if you really loved music - you wouldn't limit yourself to just NZ). I think Kiwi's .7% rating bears this out. What fucked me off was Karyn's assertion that I was told to leave Channel Z - that simply didn't happen, it is a an absolute lie - I left because I couldn't see it working and was arguing against the 100% music idea right up until I took the redundancy I was offered when I left. But don't judge Andrew or Karyn too harshly on that interview, I just think they were angry and upset.

 
At 2/4/07 7:42 pm, Anonymous Lee said...

Bomber, I think Karen Hay was right to be annoyed. You were openly slagging Kiwi and its 100% Kiwi content. Which was unjust, we all get your point but the fact remains...they are doing an awful lot of good for Kiwi music. I think your cutting tall poppys

 
At 2/4/07 7:54 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
Lee, they are flying the flag, no complaints there - but the 100% music playlist robbed them of any influence they had over the rest of the commercial radio spectrum and the knock effect has been less new NZ music getting out to a wider commercial audience, which means fewer album sales as NZ content falls - sure they are playing 20%, but its the same 20% over and over - ask any NZ band how much harder it is to get radio play these days? Sure you can get on Kiwi (with its .7% rating) but that don't pay the bills. The solution is a kiwi format that is listened to and has influence over the rest of the commercial spectrum - and seeing as these radio frequencies are publicly owned, I think the question of how long Kiwi can remain 100% NZ should be asked. Kiwi can work and be immensly popular but it's playlist leads to a myopic view of the cultural landscape.

 
At 2/4/07 9:12 pm, Anonymous sdm said...

There is a definate book in this. Take the band 'Wash' for instance - immensely talented, Channel Z was the only ones to play them - got fucked by the record label and now no more (well id love to know the 'real' story). Its a tradegy.....

 
At 3/4/07 3:15 pm, Anonymous sle said...

NZ is a small fish in a big pond.... there's no right answer to this debate. Music is universal, the good shit sometimes never surfaces. If being a musician was easy it'd be no fun!!
love, a happy broke muso of 10 years.

 
At 3/4/07 6:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

channel z went down a while before you left bomber. When they cut back their participation in local music events, went all out of AK, it killed the community vibe. I don't know who's fault that was but it wasn't broken so why fix it??
Thanks for speaking your mind though bomber, whether you're right or wrong you raise issues and cause debate, and that's a good thing, even if it heats some people up.

 
At 4/4/07 7:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without BFM there would be no NZ music on the Radio.
End of story.

Btw, I have never listened to Kiwi Fm, or Channel Z for that matter, but I have downloaded countless songs for free.
CD's are expensive and therefore obsolete, and it has nothing to do with Kiwi FM.

 
At 5/4/07 3:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still causing a stir Bomber! But you are way off here, as someone previously mentioned Channel Z died long before Kiwi turned up. And thats a shame becuase Channel Z did a great job while it was on-air. And the point is you obviously have a great deal of sour grapes about the whole affair because you did not get the show you wanted, hence why you left Channel Z. This issue is about technology and rights management, not radio. NZ does not need a YRN, we have a student radio network that does exactly the same job. Have a read of Russell Brown's blog to get some real insight into the issues at stake here.

 
At 6/4/07 12:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we had a student radio network, but in reality we have one successful station in ak and a handful of very low listenership stations throughout the rest of the country, and they're all commercial radio stations now, they earn their living from advertising. What we need is a public funded network that caters to youth that is free of the market forces of advertising, call it a youth radio network if you like.

 
At 6/4/07 12:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we had a student radio network, a long time ago, and they never really did the business like channel z did in its early days. now all of those stations are commercial radio stations, ie their key workers and managers derive their income from advertising, so they are driven by the wants and needs of their advertisers.
What we need is a government funded commercial free network aimed at youth. call it a youth radio network if you like.

 
At 20/4/07 3:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Album sales etc aside... Channel Z started its slippery slide when it was networked out of Auckland... the station also when through programing directors rapidly for a while there and I suspect some of the behind the scenes staff got a bit "caught up in it all" and didn't fifill their job requirements very well - by either being to busy being involved in other parts of the music industry of being under skilled to begin with?! Kiwi maybe crap? I don't know as I've never listened to it... I stopped lisening to radio when I stopped working for Radioworks/Channel Z and brought an ipod.

 
At 3/5/07 12:53 am, Anonymous David Parr - Born_Disturbed@hotmail.com said...

Bomber your a fucking legend man, i have gained such a wide apreciation of music and politics both from here and abroad thanks to you and your shows, especially in the later times of the stoner hour cranking out star treckin and getting into the late great Bill Hicks (Jeff Buckleys Halleluja still one of my favorite songs). Ive called you many times and talked about a wide range of totally messed up topics and enjoyed every second of it without your influence i would still be listening to More FM's soft cock pop rock rather than the Punk, Metal, Rock, Anti-Political cornucopia i listen to and greatly enjoy now. Im only a 17yo white guy so i was (obviously) younger back when you were on the air and you really opened my eyes and ears to a whole new world of knowledge beyond what i had come to know from my ex best friend T.v. Sadly until now i thought the day i got to hear your great wisdom spouted to the nation would be the same day America admitted they are the terrorists in this world and coincedentaly around the time that hell freezes over, so after deciding spur of the moment to search for "channel z 93.8" in google and find this post of yours i have a little hope restored. Get back on the radio or the T.v (Dissident TV among others for those who dont know)and re-educate the nation after this period of massed unintelligence, it's still time to Evolve Ideas. As for the whole NZ music deal, Z had the right idea 40% really got the word out and scared the other stations to get Nz music cranking out, Kiwi is a little over the top 50/50 at most 100% just ruins a good system.Anyway good to talk to you again, keep fighting the good fight.

David.

 

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