Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Bean-Counting the Beat

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  • Russell Brown,

    I see Dub Dot Dash has an update on the EMI situation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    lets face it - if NZ on Air didn't direct most of its funding into bands that'll play well with the kids in Peoria then the lack of airtime on ZM would prompt the likes Murray McCully to label the whole thing a waste of public money and call for the scrapping of any funding for New Zealand music. I suspect that to fund to much diversity would eventually lead to any funding at all being snuffed out by free market Philistines, so its safer to fund music that gives an easily defined criteria for claiming success - commercial success. From a DJ/Dance perspective, and parking the D'n'B crew for a second, all I can see is that dance gets nothing from anyone and the quality of the DJ's - let alone getting any original production work - has slipped. Although there was a surprising level of support here on PA for Steve Hill, generally speaking dance is more or less ignored by wider industry opinion leaders who either don't understand it or dislike the culture around it. In addition, the ferocious anglocentricity of our cultural outlook means many still don't accept it as something that is more than a fad that isn't "real" music, perhaps without realising quite how big dance is in the non-English speaking world. Its a pity, because overseas dance is big business and its contribution to the economy via every DJ in a bar or club adding to the dollar spend is huge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    That would be Richard M__eros. Unless something odd's changed.

    I don't know if you noticed but Whale Oil (also) more or less raved about the show, which probably says something. Especially considering the non--Wellington audience.

    There may still, somewhere on the Webs, and TV3 segment from the wellington launch which includes an interview with the shadowy figure of Meros himself, which would confirm that while being played by Arthur Meek the two are distinct entities.

    Another interview here although AFAIK the indentification in the comments is false.

    In the bookshop recently is stumbled upon Lawrence and Gibson's latest release, __Ulrich Haarbürste's Novel of Roy Orbison in Cling Film, which is pretty much what it says it is.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    it is meros. and it's the funniest show i've seen in a long while.

    i'm pretty sure meros and arthur meek are different people.

    not that it should detract from the show - any more than mr slater enjoying it.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    That would be Richard Meros. Unless something odd's changed.

    Indeed. My only excuse for typing otherwise (twice!) is that I was in a hell of a hurry and the keys are close together. I had the book in front of me as I did it, too. Fixed now, anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Does Grey Bartlet really believe what he's saying or is he being just a little disingenuous?. He is, after all, an agent for several acts and he seems to be saying "everybody likes my artists but the radio wont play them because NZ on air wont pay them to"
    Well If that is true then why haven't one, or several, of that legion of people who love country music and/or poprea get together and start a radio station?. It would be an astounding success if what he seems to believe is true, I'm sure country fans buy as much advertised product as the minority that likes new or current tunes.
    Personally I like a bit of country music and may tune in to such a station myself on occasion, not so enamoured with Haley though, if I wanted to listen to that particular genre of music I could just get in the nearest elevator.
    So go on grey, I challenge you. Have a whip-round among that enormous fan base you have and put that cash where your mouth is. Then if what you claim is true then I am sure NZ on Air will be popping round to see you with a big fat cheque.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Oh yes. And whatever happened to Country FM?

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Tom,
    I can't help feeling that NZoA is caught between a rock and a hard place here. I agree with you, electronic music gets a raw deal (Greg Churchill has had 4 UK Top Twenty Mixmag hits, a single in the UK pop chart and probably plays to more kids weekly than any NZ band, and a large proportion of that is original) but NZoA, as it sees it's brief is to get get NZ music on the airwaves..end of story, and outside of student radio and George etc, radio ain't gonna play Greg or Steve (we used to promote tours together in the early 90s...isn't it funny where people end up).

    And I can almost sympathise with Gray Bartlett, although there is a huge gulf between country towns turning up to see an MOR tour, and a large dedicated country music fanbase. When I was touring bands through small town NZ, they simply turn up en-mass because you are there, not because they are driven by an urge to see any particular style of music. Small towns appreciate the fact you came. And I think he has trouble seeing the wood for the proverbial when it comes to Hayley etc.

    But the issue, as Duncan, Russell and, indeed Gray said on the Media 7 piece is simply with the brief. Pursuant to the brief there is, Brendan has done an amazing job (and it's hard to begin to imagine how many battles he has had to fight along the way to achieve this..he's had to be a politician, plugger, diplomat and adapt himself to ever changing styles over decades and then deal with being called everything under the sun from every angle whilst he's done so. And he's pulled it off, more less...pursuant to the brief. Remember...its called "NEW ZEALAND ON AIR" and that is what he has tried to achieve with a fair degree of success. We can argue semantics as to what that actually means but in 1990 NZ airplay was around 1%, now, in real terms (and it might not be the music you or I like, but that's neither here nor there) is probably around 15%. And this has played a big part in giving the industry a currency that it never achieved before.

    It's the brief that really needs to be revisited, as per Duncan and Russell and I would argue that such a review is long overdue. That's the issue for me.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3200 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Well If that is true then why haven't one, or several, of that legion of people who love country music and/or poprea get together and start a radio station?.

    If it were that easy I'm sure they would. there's just the little matter of licensing a frequency which last I heard were going for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    There are side band frequencies of reduced power and range that can be used, but there are big issues with those.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Well If that is true then why haven't one, or several, of that legion of people who love country music and/or poprea get together and start a radio station?.

    They have several times...they failed as I recall.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3200 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    the ferocious anglocentricity of our cultural outlook

    Funny, I always thought of dance music as a very English thing, but I guess that's just compared to America (and partly due to my extensive collection of Orbital, Underworld, Chemical Brothers, Leftfield etc). Certainly, dance music seems to have dropped off the hipster radar, and with the exception of the occasional partly-ironic electro act it's hard to get away from those damned guitars these days. Maybe ravers are the new bogans, at least as far as the harder end of the spectrum goes. And maybe it's different in Auckland, but house seems almost invisible outside of a few B&T Courtenay Place bars, and the Wellington emphasis seems to have gone from dub/roots (which is deeply unhip now) to indie, electro-punk and alt-country.

    And it's good to see Meros getting some success. I loved it when On the Conditions started out as photocopied sheets plastered all over the walls of Cuba St.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    Country Radio's been tried before and just didn't make enough money...however, with the upcoming frequency auction there's no ruling out that there could be a Country Music format introduced, seeing as how most other tastes/formats are already catered for.

    As an aside, there's actually a Country Music station broadcasting in Auckland at the moment, testing new digital broadcasting technologies (on the downlow)...can't remember what the frequency is, but I get numerous enquiries from members of the public at work, asking who/what it is...

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Funny, I always thought of dance music as a very English thing

    Tell that to Chicago, NYC and Düsseldorf

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3200 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Tell that to Chicago, NYC and Düsseldorf

    And Detroit, of course. But it never seemed to become mainstream, and there was always talk of branding Prodigy, Chemical Brothers et al as "electronica" in order to help them break into America, with the implication being that no-one in the US quite "got" dance music. Of course, certain communities (often inner city) very much got it, and in fact created it as you point out, but I never got the impression that it was a big part of everyday life.

    I remember once in Düsseldorf trying to buy a Kraftwerk album, and none of the crappy music stores I went into had even heard of them. Really! It's like going to Liverpool and not being able to find any Beatles. I eventually found a copy of Tour de France, which went down very nicely as we fahrn, fahrn, fahrned auf de Autobahn.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    being that no-one in the US quite "got" dance music.

    Yep, agreed. In much of the world it's overwhelmingly the the dominant youth weekend pursuit. But in the USA it didn't really ever get beyond that odd old 'disco-shit" tag.

    Like punk, these things tend to emerge from the American inner cities but its the rest of the world that often runs with them and realises their potential.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3200 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Tom (Beard):
    Ravers as the new bogans indeed! Mind, I did go into Super Cheap Auto in Petone at the weekend and they were playing hardhouse. The person I was with commented that if they play it in car accessory stores then it is clearly mainstream.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    seeing as how most other tastes/formats are already catered for.

    really?
    radio to me seems like 15 stations playing approximately the same format, maybe its just the suburb you live in.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think dance music has a different business model and a different (but obviously overlapping) audience to non-dance music.

    DJs (as I undertand it) make money from, in order:
    - gigs
    - 12" (etc) mixes to what one could call the "prosumer" market - people who are into DJing at some level
    - remix albums for consumers

    (The Tiestos and Paul Oakenfolds possibly make more on the remix CDs than on 12"s).

    The record companies are not an essential part of this process. While a lot of succesful DJs are signed to majors, quite a lot are not - and Tidy Trax or Anjuna probably shift as much vinyl as one of the major-owned labels like Positiva (guessing here).

    Also because (as Simon says) there are only a few dance radio stations and almost no TV exposure, conventional airplay doesn't really figure in getting a DJ noticed.

    I think dance music is doing pretty well - established clubnights like Fevah, Twisted, Slinky can pack out venues - large venues in the case of Auckland. But if some government/industry promotion body wanted to subsidise dance parties featuring new NZ talent, then I know a few people that could do the necessary.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    There are side band frequencies of reduced power and range that can be used, but there are big issues with those

    Which don't seem to be that much of a problem to Fleet FM, Twisted, UP FM, Base FM etc. (E&OE here..)

    Auckland's guardbands are fairly full I think, but every else (even in central Wellington) a twiddle of the dial suggests there is lots of free bandwidth. But there isn't any money in small scale radio - you have to do it because you want to, and maybe that's the problem for a country music station. bFM and Active both have excellent Americana/alt.country shows, as well.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Things like the RAVE Act and the usual massive over-reaction to dissent policing style the U.S. authorities seem to love have done a great job of repressing dance music in the USA, although the Winter Music Festival in Miami is more fun than you can physically survive if you are not careful.

    Tom Beard: There really isn't a club scene outside Auckland, and even up here it isn't quite like it was back in the day. Partially this is because Auckland is run by old men who love Jesus and a good property development, but also the club/dance scene is really the sum of the size of your city.

    Rich: Dance in terms of its saleability as a commodity by commercial distribution organisations was killed by downloads. If the record companies are not behind you then you can sure as hell the programmers at ZM won't be either. DJ sets are primarily about playing to a live audience. If you want something to listen to on your iPod any reasonably good quality download from a gig will fit the bill as well as go out and paying for, say, a Deep Dish CD. The output of bedroom DJ's to chat forums is free to.

    Personally I don't think sudsidising dance parties is a goer - tax payer money for those events? Many a time a time I've stood back looking at the crowd at 3am and said to myself "My God these people are all completely, utterly and unredeemably toasted". I doubt most promoters would want taxpayer money, given you'd soon have every political point scoring busybody in the land sniffing around looking to create a moral panic.

    I would prefer to see something along the lines of the Redbull music academy for identified up and coming DJ's and some sort of fiscal encouragement for local DJ's to get into the studio and make original sounds.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    just as a reminder that NZ popular music has a longer history than The Last Big Thing, I have just returned from a talk by Chris Bourke on "Blue Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". It was hellishly interested and will make for a great radio series.

    He played the first version (1946) of "Blue Smoke" , recorded by a mobile recording unit in Hawera (my old home town), and was interesting to compare it with the 1948 version, which was a considerable hit in NZ.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2265 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Certainly, dance music seems to have dropped off the hipster radar, and with the exception of the occasional partly-ironic electro act it's hard to get away from those damned guitars these days. Maybe ravers are the new bogans, at least as far as the harder end of the spectrum goes.

    In Auckland, I think your young hipsters might prefer indie-dance nights like Quay Street Social Club and SoHomo. There's a variety of music and more of a chance to socialise (and, of course, take photographs of each other). And the King's Arms has gone from old and unhip to Friday night party, depending on who's playing.

    It might just be because I'm so old, but by comparison, dance music clubs don't seem so much fun. Too many dickheads in tight t-shirts, and the music can be cack.

    D&B is its own thing.

    And maybe it's different in Auckland, but house seems almost invisible outside of a few B&T Courtenay Place bars, and the Wellington emphasis seems to have gone from dub/roots (which is deeply unhip now) to indie, electro-punk and alt-country.

    It would be nice if there was a relaxed club somewhere there that played proper house music. The last few times I've been in a CBD bar playing dance music, it was the sort of shite you hear on ZM.

    The only bar I've danced in in the past year has been Family (and Supermarket downstairs). My thanks to teh gays for having a nice place ...

    BTW: I've been tripping out lately to Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes' version of 'Don't Leave Me This Way' -- a stone disco classic that builds to an absolutely funk frenzy. But that really does make me sound old.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Do some of these people moaning about the lack of NZ Music on the radio forget about Kiwi FM?

    Why is that?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It was hellishly interested and will make for a great radio series.

    Agreed, but Chris' forthcoming pre-rock'n'roll book is what I'm really craving right now. I think it's still a way off though.
    Hopefully it will open up a whole new appreciation of our urban culture and the way we actually lived rather than just the dry history.

    And knowing Chris, it will be more accurate than much of the published musical 'history' to date.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3200 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Do some of these people moaning about the lack of NZ Music on the radio forget about Kiwi FM?

    I don't think anyone is saying there is a lack of NZ music on the radio.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3200 posts Report Reply

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