4 May 2012
NZ Music Month
Here in New Zealand, like the rest of the world, it's May. Unlike the rest of the world, it's New Zealand Music Month - a month created 12 years ago to celebrate our music. It's a great and noble idea, but does it actually achieve anything?
While I support the idea of celebrating our achievements, and think that it's a healthy thing to do I don't think the current format works. What we get during May is a lot of gigs, featuring local bands, more airtime for local musicians on radio and TV, and some talk from politicians about how they enjoy NZ music and support it (usually followed by a NZ music quiz in which 90% of the politicians fail miserably when asked about NZ music).
The problem is the bands who get to play the gigs tend to be the ones getting a lot of exposure anyway, so are going to draw crowds regardless of the time of year. The talk from politicians is usually nothing more than just talk and doesn't result in any greater support of our music.
And at the end of the month everyone gets to feel like they've done their bit and things go back to normal. What would be great is if we could find some way to carry that momentum forward through the rest of the year, and at the same time spread the love so that more local bands gain some benefit and exposure from the month. I'm not saying I've got any ideas on how we can achieve this but it'd be great if we saw some ongoing benefits to the music community and got more people out there supporting up and coming local artists, by actually going to shows the other 11 months of the year, and buying more local music.
Don't get me wrong, it's important to look at the scene and our strengths (and weaknesses) and celebrate successes. It's a healthy thing to do and many industries/businesses outside music take the time to do it. It's just that we seem to think that just celebrating that success is enough, without looking beyond it to how we grow and improve our community.
Your thoughts, ideas and suggestions please people... What do you think of NZ Music Month? What do you plan to do for it? Any events you're particularly excited about? How do you think we move from having one month each year, to having our music celebrated and supported every month, every year? Hit the comment box below (anonymously is fine).
There was going to be a whole extra piece this week but I think this is long enough for one week. Next week I'll have some new tunes for you to get into, and the week after that I'll be talking about music publications in New Zealand... stay tuned.