Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: Not just consumers, but patrons too

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  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to chris,

    So I’m wondering if anyone can tell me when the music show is on, I’m sure there must be something as funding a bunch of music videos for air play without also funding a show to present them would just be ludicrous.

    The Edge TV plays New Zealand music videos. But the thing is, there's now no need for music videos to have their own little broadcast ghetto. With YouTube, etc, it's now possible to watch videos whenever you feel like it.

    Yeah, it's not the same as it was 10 years ago, but the way people watch music videos around the world isn't the same either. If you were to put a youth-oriented Friday night music video show on TV2, chances are the youth being targeted would instead be watching videos on their laptops. That's why NZ On Air's focus now includes digital media.

    TBH, a video getting several million views on YouTube is a greater achievement than all those videos in the '90s and '00s that only managed to get broadcast on the telly once or twice.

    Online is so much better. If I want to see the new MAALA video, it's there on YouTube. No need to sit around in front of a TV, hoping it might be screened.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    All this talk of ways to support local bands reminds me of how things were in the early '00s, when there was a big idea that you had to "support New Zealand music!!!"

    The problem is, "supporting" a band isn't very rock 'n' roll. If I'm going to give an artist some money, I want it to be in exchange for some sort of worthwhile experience - whether it's recorded music, a live show, a cool tote bag, etc - and not just indifferently supporting a band just because they're from New Zealand.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • David Bishop,

    Living in the UK, Bandcamp is for me the most reliable way of supporting fresh music by Kiwi artists. I just wish there was a way to search exclusively for NZ recordings so I could more easily discover new and emerging performers. [Unless there is such a way and I've been too dim to figure out - which is quite likely. If so, please let me know!]

    Scotland • Since Jun 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    The Edge TV plays New Zealand music videos.

    Thanks for that Robyn, I turned on a couple of times previously and only seen US pap, but looking at the schedule it tells me:

    The Music Lab is a half hour feature, showcasing new and exclusive music videos from New Zealand and around the world, FIRST!

    Hosted by Sharyn Casey from The Edge Afternoons, The Music Lab is the show to watch if you need to know everything pop-culture before your mates.

    It just doesn’t tell me when it’s on, do you know?

    Yeah, it’s not the same as it was 10 years ago, but the way people watch music videos around the world isn’t the same either.

    I totally hear you and don’t disagree for the most part except that the way people watch everything around the world isn’t the same, we can go online and watch any show we desire – that doesn’t strike me as a reasonable justification to stop TV programming across the board, logically I’d expect to see no more cats on TV ever.

    A couple of observations strike me:

    that’s $4,000 to record a song and $6,000 towards making a music video. We call it Making Tracks.

    WIthout naming names, and solely based on youtube views, some of the videos that NZOA are funding are being subsidised to the tune of $200 per view. Which isn’t an issue in itself except that I want to see what’s going on and I can’t see how surprising audiences with a NZ music video before Emmerdale could ever be that objectionable a programming choice. It’s from watching TV back in the era that I learned of bands like the PF.

    chances are the youth being targeted would instead be watching videos on their laptops.

    I guess my question is why would it just need to target “the youth”? They seem like the least likely demographic to actually pay for music and being honest, look around you.

    Online is so much better.

    If you know what you’re looking for, but if you don’t then it’s a bit of time consuming minefield. If you want good picture quality you could buy a Chrome Cast or something etc etc, but even then it’s not really close to the convenience of the clickless experience of a dedicated NZOA funded NZ music show, I don’t care if it’s not all New Zealand music, Space wasn’t, but it was a decent venue for New Zealand artists on our National broadcasting network.

    Growing up in the provinces, apart from the music bootleg store, Rip it Up and the very occasional gig we had little exposure to what goes on in the urban centres, I recall being blown away when Marcus Lush played HLAH’s Fish across Face on Newsnight, sure that wasn’t a music show but there was some kind of connection being made. Back again in the provinces, things seem to have regressed back to the status quo in that regard. One can still go to the effort of hunting stuff down, following the various sites and blogs, click on all the links, put on the headphones, but it is effort just to catch a sample of local offerings.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris,

    WIthout naming names, and solely based on youtube views, some of the videos that NZOA are funding are being subsidised to the tune of $200 per view.

    To be fair, some others get hundreds of thousands of views. And recipients are accountable under Making Tracks for their internet action, or lack of it.

    If you know what you’re looking for, but if you don’t then it’s a bit of time consuming minefield. If you want good picture quality you could buy a Chrome Cast or something etc etc, but even then it’s not really close to the convenience of the clickless experience of a dedicated NZOA funded NZ music show, I don’t care if it’s not all New Zealand music, Space wasn’t, but it was a decent venue for New Zealand artists on our National broadcasting network.

    Nz On Air can only fund what broadcasters will screen. But NZ On Air's own Alltracks might work for you. Curated audio and video playlists in a range of genres.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Bishop,

    Living in the UK, Bandcamp is for me the most reliable way of supporting fresh music by Kiwi artists. I just wish there was a way to search exclusively for NZ recordings so I could more easily discover new and emerging performers. [Unless there is such a way and I’ve been too dim to figure out – which is quite likely. If so, please let me know!]

    Here you go. Everything under the New Zealand tag.

    But they do make it kind of hard to find with the current design.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to chris,

    It just doesn’t tell me when it’s on, do you know?

    Sorry, no. I just discovered that The Edge TV's NZ shows are the only music television that NZ On Air Music now gives money to. (That's not including music-related programmes that get arts/cultural television funding.)

    I guess my question is why would it just need to target “the youth”? They seem like the least likely demographic to actually pay for music and being honest, look around you.

    So a new New Zealand music video show aimed at middle-aged people who haven't got time to mess around with YouTube? I feel like this is almost aimed at me (I have plenty of time to mess around on YouTube, though). Why not write to NZ On Air and a few broadcasters with your idea. If there's a strong audience in there - and an audience who has money to spend - people will be interested.

    BTW, this might interest you - NZ History have a history of music shows on New Zealand television. The final paragraph says this, with my notes in brackets.

    "The number of music shows on the main channels has decreased steadily since then, and none screen regularly on these channels in 2010. Viewers are now getting their music fix from Juice TV [closed], C4 [now The Edge TV] and the internet."

    Plus! I'm also going to pimp my own website, 5000 Ways, which is a long-term project where I'm attempting to watch every NZ On Air video ever made. Ever.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    5000 ways is brilliant. Great project.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    To be fair, some others get hundreds of thousands of views.

    Indeed, I'm definitely not against them making videos I'd just like to see more of them. Though Nz On Air only being able to fund what broadcasters will screen would obviously be a huge stumbling block without the right kind of schmooze. Going from having NZ music videos randomly playlisted on the TVNZ to having absolutely zero feels so strange, when did that happen? was it in reaction to C4?

    Nz On Air can only fund what broadcasters will screen. But NZ On Air’s own Alltracks might work for you.

    And thanks Russell, that looks like a pretty decent selection to get my teeth into, the problem for me at the moment is that the room with the PC is freezing and I'd prefer the big screen near the fire but I'll take whatever I can get rather than gamble on the Edge until I know what's up with their schedule.

    I enjoyed that How not to be an Asshole episode, in particular hearing Tom Scott talking about his work ethic. Respect.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to chris,

    in reply to Robyn Gallagher

    BTW, this might interest you – NZ History have a history of music shows on New Zealand television. The final paragraph says this, with my notes in brackets

    Thanks for that link Robyn, and your site which of course I’m familiar with ;) that’s great work.

    Why not write to NZ On Air and a few broadcasters with your idea.

    For some reason I always feel that just writing stuff here is sufficient. Odd that.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Owen,

    I used to pay for a Rdio streaming subscription. I chose to pay the monthly fee, because theoretically I was helping pay the artists. Evidence suggests that not much of my monthly fee ended up in the hands of a musician. The small payoff for artists actually creates problems for the streaming services, because there is little to no incentive for artists to make their music available. New music by popular artists like Adele or Taylor Swift wouldn't be there. And even when I did "favourite" music and download it to my phone for off-line listening, music had a habit of randomly becoming "unavailable". I decided that for my music listening habits, I'd be better off going back to paying by the song on iTunes - and the musician would be better off for each purchase.

    My question about streaming services is: why should artists accept getting paid some miniscule amount per stream? Why don't they demand that for each user that listens to a song, they get paid the equivalent value of a digital download from iTunes (50 cents or a dollar, or whatever the musicians get after Apple and the record companies take their cut). The musicians get the same cut whether a user listens to their song once, or listens to it 500 times. If the streaming service doesn't agree to that licensing model, then they simply don't get the licence.

    This might mean the end of ad-funded "free" pricing tiers. But I'm sure the streaming services could still set a monthly fee that would allow them to make money. Let's say the artists gets $1 per user who listens to a song. Mr and Mrds Hardcore Music Nerd listen to 60 new songs a month. So you lose money on them. But I suspect they're outnumbered by Mr and Miss Top Forty Is My Life, who are just replaying whatever is on high rotation on the Edge or ZM over and and over over. They might listen to 10 new songs a month. So a $15 per month fee would still allow the streamer to make some money. I don't know what the song distribution is like, and whether you'd be able to set the fee low enough. How a consumer chooses to pay for music (and "all you can eat subscriptions" appear to be overtaking "pay by the item") doesn't necessarily have to be closely linked to how musicians get compensated. It sounds like the relationship is pretty loose already with rumours of record companies negotiating deals that give them fat fees, and the musicians very little.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Why don’t they demand that for each user that listens to a song, they get paid the equivalent value of a digital download from iTunes

    Because there are plenty who wouldn't - those who earn their pay elsewhere and for whom the exposure is enough, the established has-beens who've made (and snorted) their dollars years ago and just want to promote their hundredth come back tour, not to mention the megastars who are making enough elsewhere (or at least being lent the money by the record company) such that 10c a play is a reasonable deal.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also, did people make money much in the old days?

    From what I've read, pretty much every penny New Order made got diverted into Factory's other ventures, not least the Hacienda. Others wound up owing their record companies a fortune - even Lou Reed never made money until his back catalogue was rediscovered in the 1980s.

    How many NZ musicians have ever given up their day jobs? Doubt it's a hundred.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I bought Anthonie Tonnon's release in the way I prefer (paid online, received a CD through the mail) but I got a sense that not many were doing the same. But it does mean that I can press the CD on friends and colleagues, urging them 'to take a listen to this'. Much more satisfying than sending them a link.

    I have hopes that more NZ music will be heard on National Radio, with Jessie Mulligan in charge of afternoons. There was quite a bit today (maybe you had a hand in this, Russell?)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    "The Hollowmen", an Australian TV satire about politicians opened with a Bats track. I wondered at the time whether that was part of the satire, as well as thinking "that would have paid them a decent amount".

    Hmm, new laptop running Ubuntu is not as offended by bandcamp as my usual windows setup. Hopefully I that will work for me.

    I suspect I'm pretty typical of my age cohort - I spend about $NZ1000/year buying digital downloads, and I torrent maybe 3-4 albums a month as well. I try to pay the musicians I like, and usually succeed, but some of them make it bloody difficult.

    I see Amazon is trying to impose the music streaming on authors. That could be fun, given the number of authors who explicitly say "you can't buy my books when you see them advertised, and I refuse to accept donations for pirated copies on principle". Ok, no money for you.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    “The Hollowmen”, an Australian TV satire about politicians opened with a Bats track. I wondered at the time whether that was part of the satire, as well as thinking “that would have paid them a decent amount”.

    The champ of all this is Andrew Brough of Straitjacket Fits and Bike. Someone at Grundy really liked him, and he basically bought a house off sync revenue from Neighbours, Prisoner and Richmond Hill.

    Shayne Carter derives a very modest income from music through his publishing too. That thing about having a catalogue. But the commitment of staying a musical artist is quite a thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I have hopes that more NZ music will be heard on National Radio, with Jessie Mulligan in charge of afternoons. There was quite a bit today (maybe you had a hand in this, Russell?)

    Not directly, no. But it does seem the run-of-station music has been given a really good refresh. There's a bit of groove and Jessie played Jamie Xx today!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Another thought about music videos - I'm going to be bold and say that today music videos are primarily made for the web and not television. The fact that "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd has spent over a month in the NZ top five and the video was only released a couple of days ago suggests that videos aren't even all that necessary anymore.

    Also - thanks for the nice comments about 5000 Ways. I took a break from it but I'm going to be starting back up on Monday. (Ok, I've set myself a deadline so I'd better do it.)

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I’m going to be bold and say that today music videos are primarily made for the web and not television.

    That is bold, veering dangerously close to Litterickism, though I think I can see where you’re coming from. the “Multi-Love” Interactive Video Game App springs to mind immediately.

    “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd has spent over a month in the NZ top five and the video was only released a couple of days ago suggests that videos aren’t even all that necessary anymore.

    Certainly when considered primarily as a marketing tool perhaps they’ve been usurped, but even just looking at the videos Russell posted above I see a medium flourishing, ridiculously talented visual artists pushing the technology in ways that can rarely serve a purpose in other motion picture genres and so the choice not to make ample space for this on TV at the expense of say just one or two reno and cooking shows feels like a bit of a lost opportunity to celebrate and expose music videos and the artists involved.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Scott,

    <q>It bugs the hell out of me when people shy away from paying 10 bucks at the door of a show. That’s one drink, or a quarter of what you’ll spend on taxis, and it’s meant to be the whole purpose of your evening.<q>

    I totally agree on this, Russell, although I am not sure that is a completely new thing. I remember Chris Knox berating his Dunedin audience at a gig in the late 80's or early 90's about how hard it was to put a reasonable door charge on in Dunedin then.

    I have often wondered why venues don't pay the bands- after all, in theory they are getting the punters through the door, and selling beer (or has "pre-loading" taken that away?)

    There seems to be a reluctance on many local (Dunedin) bands to even put a door charge on for gigs. Possibly it is that at live gigs, small crowds (30-60) means that a reasonably proportion will be friends and members of other bands, so charging each other seems a bit naff? Or just that unwillingness to "self-promote"- does asking for money make it seem like we are too above ourselves?

    Me and my partner went to the Crown last Saturday to see the excellent
    Idiot Prayer
    and
    Astro Children
    but sadly missed
    The Violet Ohs

    A great gig, but not a door charge (or even an option of a koha) in sight. (Which meant the bar sold one more Emmersons beer than I needed it to have, but hey). It may be they were being paid by the Crown, (or the shilling), but kinda perpetuates the sense that the artist has to not only play, but pay for our entertainment themselves.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Scott,

    oops- missed part of the quote code!

    Also- I am also a bit of a fan of bandcamp, for the reasons mentioned, as well as the way you can see what others have bought, and stumble across some other interesting stuff.

    Is theirs a good payment model for artists? It certainly promotes itself that way- does anyone know how much of each dollar spent goes to the artist?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    We have to be careful about mixing up gross revenues of physical sales (with the associated supply chain costs) with income to the artist. As fond as I am of my friends in the various distribution and related industries, IMO it's a good thing if gross revenues decline (cheaper music) but artist income remains/grows/redistributes-more-reasonably. That's clearly not happening however.
    This from David Byrne in the NYT today is interesting: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/opinion/sunday/open-the-music-industrys-black-box.html?referrer=&_r=2

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Shaun Scott,

    Is theirs a good payment model for artists? It certainly promotes itself that way- does anyone know how much of each dollar spent goes to the artist?

    It’s sweet, the standard is:

    Artist accounts are free. We make money through our revenue share on sales, which is 15% for digital, 10% for merch.

    Additionally a pro account costs artists $20 per month and a label account (up to 15 artists) costs $50 per month. Plus there’s a bonus for volume:

    the revenue share on digital drops from 15% to 10% as soon as you reach $5,000 USD in sales (and stays there, provided you’ve made at least $5,000 in the past 12 months).

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

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