Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Changing Times

273 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 11 Newer→ Last

  • Robbie Siataga,

    there is also a wealth of knowledge and experience there that I, as a New Zealand taxpayer, don't want to toss away. He knows his stuff

    Oh for sure maybe pay him the odd consultancy fee if you need to know anything from back in the day but this is a new age and it needs fresh new meat for the grinder... not tough and tainted old rams.

    So how about you target the parameters ? It's fairly obvious you're still passionate and wise in the ways of the darkside. Honestly though, surely you'll agree he's not the one anymore. ?

    Remember that Rip it Up from a few years ago when they had him as the most powerful man in NZ music ? That power is in deciding and vetoing who gets through the first round of selections before the programmers decide who gets funded.

    So while it's easy to blame the programmers for making shit selections, if they aren't, for personal bias reasons, getting the best tunes to select from, then that power isnt being applied responsibly and none's the wiser, with the blame for selection never being with Brendan.

    Same as blaming a court case for not switchng up the game when he had the chance or blaming the strict mandate for his failings. Its wears too thin.

    So in effect he's/you're saying, the board and the minister is doing a shit job and kicking the blame up the chain ?... Nah sorry i'm just not buying it.

    He has had the power to force and recommend change for years. The fact he hasn't in favour of maintaining the status quo either speaks to the mushroom like intellect of the board (kept in the dark and fed bullshit) or the fact that Brendan has his own agenda to which his overlords aren't the board but vested commercial interests

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    How does an employee have the power to "force change" on an entire system? Even the Board can't change the law.

    Nah sorry i'm just not buying it

    And look who's paying the price. Ever wondered if perhaps you're shouting outside the wrong door?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    oh c'mon Sacha he's not just an employee. He's responsible for administering a multi million dollar taxpayer funded budget.

    I'm sure if he'd wanted he could have put the word to the board that the mandate needs re written, and a word to the minister he's accountable to as a public servant that the law needs changed.

    It speaks volumes to his character that he hasn't and is blaming a copyright court case gag order as an excuse. And even if he were just a lowly employee, how does Lech Walesa and Solidarity in Poland suit you as just one example as having the power to change the system ?

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It seems you have a more romantic notion of politics than I do

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • DD,

    Russell, we all know commercial networks are the gatekeepers of NZ on Air funding - that's what we're all talking about. What I am saying is there are a growing number of broadcasting/ distribution channels that they do not control and there needs to be a debate about NZ on Air's role vis-a-vis the new and old media, and the Broadcasting Commission's primary function to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture.

    I don't think everyone is just watching commercial TV anymore. For example, you are ignoring popular alternatives such as Youtube. Most of the new NZ music videos I am discovering lately are viral postings on Facebook. I subscribe to Facebook pages that only post NZ videos and they have large, growing audiences. Every band has a MySpace page and is building up its own audience for its work. You can't ignore the alternatives - they all have to be considered and there are plenty of them.

    You mention Radio NZ, which is interesting because you imply it is an alternative to commercial radio with its own large audience. The obvious question to ask is: why is NZ on Air not funding music to be played on Radio NZ? Why is Radio NZ not one of the gatekeepers? Then when NZ on Air goes to it with a bunch of tunes, the music programmer can say, "dunno about that mainstream pop stuff, mate, but that hippoid reggae-folkrock-alt-jazz-feral-fusion really spins my wheels."

    We have a real problem when the Broadcasting Commission's primary function is to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture, and when it comes to music it has delegated this job to commercial broadcasting networks.

    Since May 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Tomorrowpeople,

    I'd like to bring something to you attention.


    As stated in the Real Groove article....
    Donald Reid and his '$60 per-CD tax-payer' album "In A Taxi Home".


    Disclaimer: let me state for those that don't know me, I'm Andrew B. White. I've known Donald for several years and play bass in his live band amongst other things.


    Whoever 'leaked' the info of funding to Duncan about the cost of Donald's album was WAY off track.


    "In A Taxi Home' RECEIVED NO NZ ON AIR FUNDING.
    ZERO.
    The album and its production was entirely self-funded.
    By Donald.
    This included the studio time, the session players, the mixing, mastering... the artwork (I know as I did the art for Donald and charged him 'mates rates' for it).
    Released on an independent label and distributed by Shock NZ.
    The only thing that was not paid for upfront was manufacturing (paid for by Shock Records) and these costs come out of any sales.


    Anybody can go to kiwihits.co.nz and have a look at all NZoA funding that has been allocated since day dot. Simply enter in an artist name in the search box and away you go.
    Any good researcher could have done that in two minutes.


    Donald HAS received NZoA funding in the form of video grants and radio play refunds and has been featured on the Kiwi HitDisc several times, most recently in early 2010 for this:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/donaldreid#p/u/1/0epW5kbuwgo


    But no funding was received for "In A Taxi Home".


    In 2006 funding was approved by NZoA for a second (as yet uncompleted) album and no, he hasn't been given anything like $50k or $100k as part of that deal.
    In fact we'd like a few grand to finish the album off please.
    Any takers?
    It'd be for love and kudos.


    So, no tax payers' money has been spent on Donald's "In A Taxi Home" album.
    In fact a lot of money was paid TO the IRD in the making of it.
    GST, provisional tax etc etc - everyone who worked on the album in a professional business sense and who got paid ended up paying the IRD from their proceeds.
    You could say their tax contribution went in to NZoA to help fund.... music.
    And the cost of personal time and free help from people can't be quantified in money terms.


    This method of funding is called "FYOP" (From Your Own Pocket ) and it's what you do if you are serious about what you do. You find a way and work hard at it.
    You don't sit around waiting for funding and give up if you don't get it.
    NZoA is a luxury. As far as I'm aware if you get $50k from NZoA YOU HAVE TO MATCH THAT FIGURE..... Not many people can do that except majors. Then you have to market it...... NZoA doesn't give you money for that, or to pay a publicist or a manager.. NZoA certainly don't give money out for artwork costs. I had one Phase 4 act come to me (via a major) for an album cover design with a $500 budget... the cheek!


    That aside, Donald reckons he's sold close to 2,000 copies of "In A Taxi Home" over the last several years.
    He's happy with that in this day and age of the album not being the be-all and end-all of the music revenue stream.
    Not Gin Wigmore figures but it didn't cost $100k of tax payer money (not to mention the extra few hundred grand a major would have invested in such a large project).


    Success is measured in many ways.
    Donald has had help from NZoA but they didn't make his album, they didn't write the songs, they don't do all the live shows and carry gear around. The artist does.
    Donald is a pro, hard worker and a good guy to boot.
    No one is forced to like his music.
    I do, and so do many others.


    I'm not going to have a discussion here about the merits (or not) of NZoA.
    I'm setting the record (no pun intended) straight re the misinformation.
    May as well ride the wave and try and generate some free press at the same time don't you think?
    We could start a facebook page titled "Can this feijoa get more funding than a Donald Reid album".
    Any press out there - give us a call - Donald could do with some free primetime press and he has a radio single/video out right now than might move up the charts as a result.
    Some decent live shows would be great too.
    Cheers.


    I'd also like to commend Duncan and Real Groove on their article and the debate, if for anything to see music journalism focusing on issues rather than recycling press releases or having 'censored' interviews with 'artists'.
    Maybe it's time for John Russell to make a return.
    He probably would have hated Donald's record though - lol.


    PS: Serious about the money we need to finish the album.
    Call me.

    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    ...

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My apologies to Donald. I'll amend the original post and refer to it tomorrow. I trust Duncan will do the same.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Tomorrowpeople,

    No apology needed.
    Russell and Duncan - you guys both do stellar jobs - love your work.


    The problem with 'leaked' 'facts' is that the leaker stuffed up.

    I was wrong though - the Real Groove graph actually puts the CD value at $70 per unit (based on 1,000 units) not $60 - lol

    I just noticed I said stellar - maybe it should be stellar* to keep in with the theme.

    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    No apology needed.

    Did it anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I got copied in on the latter part of an email correspondence between Duncan Greive and Paul McLaney, and they have sportingly said I can reproduce it here:

    PAUL:

    A list of NZ on Air-funded albums

    How many of these albums received significant radio play? Most. How many of these albums sold 50,000 copies? 4? 5? Airplay is the criteria not album sales. To achieve that, a level of production is necessary.

    On an international scale how many of the top selling 100 albums were recorded for less than NZ$50,000. How many NZ albums in the international top selling 100?

    None.

    Lack of investment? This scheme is meant to promote and invite that investment. This is especially poignant in the i-pod/mp3 era – how much of the music you listen to do you own? It would be dire to see this investment removed from the community. As I mentioned to Duncan, there is a name attached to these grants but the beneficiaries are widespread through the industry; studios, engineers, session musos, publicists, designers, photographers, video film makers…

    I know the argument is restructuring how the funding is allocated.

    I think the issue is the gap between NZ on Air and CNZ funding, where a lot of the artists we all support find themselves. But if you’re going to bring in the taxpayer responsibility argument that is far bigger can of worms and one that spreads itself across ALL funding areas.

    p.s. The “b” in may last email was referring to b-fm.
    p.p.s some of the above albums have yet to be released but that’s life/art, bands break up, people give up, get sick, get married, get a haircut…

    DUNCAN:

    The thing I get from that list is that it’s a very narrow, conservative list of artists by and large, and most people on it are funded over and over again. Look at the big international NZ success stories of the decade: Ladyhawke? Absent. The Datsuns? Only after their initial success. Savage is there, sure, but how about The Brunettes, Mint Chicks or Lawrence Arabia?

    Our radio would never take a risk on those artists, so instead we get three Autozamm albums, two Carly Binding albums, Streetwise Scarlett… It’s so uninspired and uninspiring. And what does the country gain from shrinking its horizons to that of our local radio programmers? Truly, if 48 May never made two albums in the mid-2000s how would we be the poorer? If it was just a radio quota instead, how would we be the poorer?

    And in response to your PPS, I think ‘that’s life/art’ is a total cop out. James Reid was given $50k six months after the Feelers had gotten $50k to make a solo LP, neither of which are yet out. Can’t wait for that ‘art’.

    But if you’re given a grant there should be an obligation to deliver or return the funds. Say a year, maybe 18 months. You shouldn’t get the grant till the songs are written, and you have a plan submitted about how you’ll record them. Any longer than that and you’re wasting our time and money.

    This idea that our precious musicians shouldn’t have to be accountable for how they spend our tax dollars makes me sick. $50k is more than the average family earns in a year. Why should they be out of pocket while some twerp plays ‘I’m a successful musician’ without any evidence to support that viewpoint other than NZ on Air’s approval and our programmers saying ‘yep, that’ll sound inoffensive between Nickelback and Muddle of Mudd’. If you are willing to take the cash you should have to deliver. It’s very simple. If you want to cry about your art, pay for it yourself or convince a benefactor to. Seriously.


    PAUL:

    I take the point re: some of those albums, we would all agree – again it comes down to the same issue - radio. The Brunettes etc haven’t ever really had the support of commercial radio (though they have an album grant) while some of the acts that you list as uninspiring have. Same with James Milne even though Apple Pie bed won the Silver Scroll. The Mint Chick’s most commercial song to date (to my ears) Say Goodbye won’t get played on commercial radio because “the snare sound is too distorted”….

    All of the artists you’ve mentioned have received NZ on Air video grants apart from Ladyhawke. Pip made her album living in the UK (and has received NZ, Australian and UK awards for it). If she were to apply for the funding for her next album she’d get it if she wanted it.

    I also take the point that there perhaps should be a time limit to release – you have to remember that all of these album grants have to matched (the whole stimulation of investment argument) and that is 9 times out of 10 a record company. i.e. they are receiving the cash not the artist, obviously if there investing time and effort they would be pushing for a release.. But surely some of these albums didn’t get released because of unforseen circumstances, health etc.

    You have to supply demos of the album to get the funding – that is how they tell if you have the potential singles or not.

    There are some really good albums on there but there is also some stuff that has just disappeared. Out of the 194 albums funded there are by my count 135 different artists.

    Re; accountability – unlike ANY other grant this one is recoupable. No one sets out to record an album that no-one will buy, though there is probably an argument to suggest that is actually the current landscape.

    As I mentioned before, how much music that you listen to do you own? Criticising album sales is an interesting point in a culture where most people’s i-pods are full of music they didn’t buy. How to monetise it then? Tax listening? It would work. How would that fit on the bar graph? Again, how many of those albums have sold 50,000 copies. That’s not agenda.

    Again, re: tax dollars – why single out this scheme? CNZ funds the writing of songs (not the recording or release, which they also do) how much does that cost the taxpayer? CNZ funds the writing of songs (not the recording or release, which they also do).How many tax payers have seen the NZSO live? Opera? Ballet? Can we have another bar graph? It’s obvious that the creative industries (Music, Dance, Film, TV etc, etc) need investment and subsidisation. Most musicians and dancers I know do not make their living from it.

    Re: “willing to deliver” – most of these albums came out and where there are multiple grants they achieved the aim of achieving significant airplay. There artistic merit is not the issue. The feelers best of sold in excess of 35,000 copies. Lots of people don’t like them. At least 35,000 do…

    I’ve been declined funding and I’ve received it. I’ve worked in lots of genres of music and collaborated with a lot of artists. I’ve never really broken through to the masses but I will continue to make music for the people who want to hear it, with or without outside funding. If I qualify for it of course I’m going to take it as it facilitates a situation where I can pay the people I work with their worth. Sometimes the music I make is deemed commercial sometimes it’s not. I’ve traditionally always paid the rent by playing live anyway.

    EDIN was my 7th album, I’ve made 2 since without any funding and the new Nameless Sons single is self-funded too. EDIN didn’t achieve significant airplay with its singles and so my next album didn’t qualify . I tried to achieve something more artistic. I still think it’s the best collection of songs I’ve written, I think the nature of the production didn’t fit the radio format. The songs themselves and the recordings continue to generate income for me though through synchronisation and performance revenue from radio and tv. So in that sense it did achieve the aims of the funding. The album was released in 2006 and is still generating broadcast income…

    Re: pps, that’s just me and how I view what I do – art within a commercial environment.

    (ends)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    It seems you have a more romantic notion of politics than I do

    and you have a more liberal notion of an employee than me :) but enough about BS. Heres another point raised worth noting.

    The thing with funding is supposed to be, if you're good enough, you don't keep going back to the trough for seconds, thirds and then start camping out by it. It's as much a welfare dependent mindset as any we have in NZ and it appears endemic to all lables/artists from the tim finns to the katchafires, aaradnhas and autozamms.

    And one which NZoA have fostered and done nothing to re dress, apart from applying veto power behind closed doors to the great unwashed who havent got their snout in the VIP trough.

    it's that defintion of idiocy thing again. same actions expecting different results and yes, getting the same idiots to perform the same actions means aint a damn thing will change !

    sure, we can agree things need to change and that the system was flawed and easily manipulated by NZoA honchos to begin with, but if people are too chckenshit to come out and say it for fear of the system changing but the personell remaining then the climate is still ripe for personal bias favouring the elite and blacklisting those who dared to speak in opposition.

    Take that Mark Kneebone interview. I wonder how much his opinions differ depending on whether he was wearing his IMNZ, music comission or Tardus hats as opposed to just his Isaac one ? And how much do some of our opinions change depending on who we're speaking to and whether its public or private ? Sounds like he's lining himself up for Brendan's job anyway.

    politicking sucks, clipping the ticket, taking the backhander, lets not pretend that shit doesnt happen cos after all this is the music/entertainment industry. Its all about saving face and ego massaging and probably why im not cut out for it as it stands.

    but what the fuck, i got nothing to lose and everything to gain. i suppose it is telling that no one is actual vehement in the defense of contrary opinions cos i take silence as a tacit form of agreeance though i think it's still weak, limp wristed, soft in the belly hypocrisy.

    so yeah whats the name oif this blog again ? Hard News on Public Address ? C'mon Russell re discover that fire in the belly. Tell us what you really think or would you consent to an interview from me ?

    BTW did you do one for Duncan's series, were you asked ? If not why not and if so, apologies and can't wait to read it.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The obvious question to ask is: why is NZ on Air not funding music to be played on Radio NZ? Why is Radio NZ not one of the gatekeepers? Then when NZ on Air goes to it with a bunch of tunes, the music programmer can say, "dunno about that mainstream pop stuff, mate, but that hippoid reggae-folkrock-alt-jazz-feral-fusion really spins my wheels."

    I thought NZ on Air was funding Radio NZ to the tune of a couple of million dollars. I know I've picked up a couple of NZ artists that I love from catching Music 101 while driving my car.

    They also provide, or used to, a small amount of money to b net stations for a similar purpose. Does Kiwi get some as well?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan Greive,

    To Andrew:
    My bad, and I apologise for that error. The fact an untitled Donald Reid album was approved in the same year In a Taxi Home came out lead to me conflating them. Again, I apologise. With hindsight I would have put greater empahsis on the fact that the figures represented only part of an albums sales run, and probably withheld the artist's names in favour of guides like 'young '60s influenced band' 'adult-contemporary singer-songwriter' etc. Things you learn along the way, but very unfortunate that they had to be at the expense of some good people's achievements.
    Am glad though that even those I've managed to besmirch to an extent have taken the opportunity to debate the whole thing with open arms. It's what I hoped would happen. Now it just needs to lead somewhere beyond this forum...

    Since Aug 2009 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Tomorrowpeople,

    Duncan - yeah no probs man.
    I figured that is what has happened.
    Second album is still in production - goes to show it's not all about flicking someone some dough and album album popping out of the conveyor belt. Can take a while.

    Really like the new issue of Real Groove and the direction - nice to see some 'writing' - more emphasis back on music instead of video games et al


    PS: Please don't blacklist me - I need some stuff reviewed in the future - lol

    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I thought NZ on Air was funding Radio NZ to the tune of a couple of million dollars. I know I've picked up a couple of NZ artists that I love from catching Music 101 while driving my car.

    It's quite a bit more than that. NZOA is Radio NZ's principal funder: $31,816,000 for 2009/10.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Take that Mark Kneebone interview. I wonder how much his opinions differ depending on whether he was wearing his IMNZ, music comission or Tardus hats as opposed to just his Isaac one ? And how much do some of our opinions change depending on who we're speaking to and whether its public or private ?

    You just seem to have to make someone the bad guy, don't you?

    Mark works hard, organises, and does a good job for his artists and the indie sector in general. I can't help but feel you'd be saying the same thing no matter who was in his position.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    Mark works hard, organises, and does a good job for his artists and the indie sector in general.

    I'm sure he does, but in 10 yrs IMNZ has been largely ineffectual in changing the funding/copyright status quo, while The Music Commission is basically a rort for junket trips to conferences that do little for the average band/artist, who's worth in the real world is judged on a tune by tune, gig by gig basis. Its not even about albums or charts or bums on seats anymore, or is it ?.

    So its only me that can see a potential conflict of interest in Mark running a label, heading an indie organization, a marketing company and having the inside running for funding based on a close relationship with NZo A bosses and a seat on the music commish board that allocates funds ?

    Wheres the accountability for 'outward sound' or NZoA's grants for marketing and touring crap bands who couldn't survive without a handout ? Someones got to keep the bastards honest but no one seems to be, why is that ?

    BTW is that court case everyone points to, about freeing up the APRA logs without revealing sensitive information to competitive radio stations about advertising revenue and does IMNZ collect royalties on behalf of its members yet ? And just exactly how does the contra ads for royalties thing work on C42 tv ?

    Do you know ? Jeez i hope you're not bound by a gag order too :)

    Have ever thought of interviewing Mark for a follow up blog piece to your's and Dubber's report. Find out what he thinks you're off the mark on and make some recommendations taking into account the changes since 07 ?

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • DD,

    I was making a distinction between the funding of Radio New Zealand and the lack of funding of music content that it might play. Same with B net and Kiwi.

    With these stations, the audiences are there for the music but NZ on Air isn't bothering to help bands reach the audiences as they do with commercial pop acts, although it has helped to create the audiences. There is a bias and inconsistency with its music content funding policy.

    Since May 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Right.

    A broader remit for getting nz music on 'any sort of air' - waves, TV, online etc, with an emphasis on a broad range of music tastes would seem to help that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Right.

    A broader remit for getting nz music on 'any sort of air' - waves, TV, online etc, with an emphasis on a broad range of music tastes would seem to help that.

    I agree, that's the way a rethink should go -- but I've looked at this, and when so much online content is created and published privately and for free, it's not entirely straightforward as to what you'd fund and how you'd do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    You just seem to have to make someone the bad guy, don't you?

    Seems it's easier than understanding how complex systems actually work

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • DD,

    Doing a cost benefit analysis on the efficacy of different media to reach audiences would be interesting, especially as the amount of money required to produce music for many of these media is a lot less than that demanded by commercial radio. It might show that there is a better return on investment by moving away from commercial media to some degree and funding more bands who would never be played on it.

    Has NZ on Air ever done a cost benefit analysis on its policy of funding for airplay on commercial networks? It would be somewhat irresponsible of them as public servants if they haven't, considering their spin doctors go on about maximum return on investment from this approach in their literature.

    Since May 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    ok then Sacha if you're such a wise and understanding guy and not just some mealy mouthed troll, then put up or shut up...

    Tell me how the complex system works.
    Quote the relevent parts of the broadcasting act.
    Define the terms of reference and the mandate.
    Explain the freedom a CEO has to operate within the mandate.
    The lawful repercussions for not adhering to it.
    Account for the spending, the funding decisions, the appointments to the board, to the selection panels. Highlight the inconsistencies, the rorts.

    Identify the old boy relationships. Outline the process for change.

    Connect the dots. Draw me the big picture so even a child could see the problem and help solve it !

    Now I know Russell, as an expert on these matters can probably do all that, so my question is, why aren't you Russell ? Why are you sitting this one out and commenting form the sidelines. ?

    If you can help and don't, then at least help me understand why and where i've got it wrong and how to make it right ?

    I think the complexity is to cover something fundamentally wrong within the system and the morality of those in it, just like the goldman sachs derivatives bullshit. It's now all about damage control and butt covering.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I agree, that's the way a rethink should go -- but I've looked at this, and when so much online content is created and published privately and for free, it's not entirely straightforward as to what you'd fund and how you'd do it.

    Presumably a review could consider that too. There's still a need for videos, they just have to be made for both TV and online. There's still a need for singles or albums, they just don't necessarily have to get lots of radio play for it to be worth investing in their recording.

    There could even be flow down effects. You didn't get the funding for the album, but we'll pay a third of the amount to get you in a studio and get a couple of songs out as seed funding. If they do well, we expect to see you back here in 6 months with a revised album proposal.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 11 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

This topic is closed.